Time Out for Mommy
[Note for the non-parents out there: These days, "time-out" is pretty much the tool of choice for parenting. When given a time-out, the misbehaving child is sent to a corner where he or she must sit quietly for a period of time. After the time-out, you discuss why the child was in time-out and then everyone goes on with their life.]
As some of you may remember, C has always tried to push the limits of time-out. Even though he understands them, he still doesn’t like them. When sitting in time-out, he tries to rebel by yelling, grumbling or kicking the wall.
Mama don’t play that.
So they worked out a system. When he goes to time-out, we set a timer for three minutes. At the end of three minutes, the time-out is done. If he misbehaves during the time-out, the timer gets some time added to it and we let him know that he’s gotten himself more time in time-out.
The system works pretty well, most of the time.
Last night, I came home from work to find J working in the kitchen, N playing by her feet, and C sitting in time-out. It was a real mother-son battle. I took over playing with N and watched the cycle of C yelling, J increasing the timer, C quieting down.
After a while, C’s time finally was up. I called him out of time-out to come talk with his mother.
She turned around to watch him walk over, and then looked at me round-eyed, and whispered "I don’t remember…"
I couldn’t help myself, I started to chuckle.
As her wayward child walked up to her, J recovered her composure, and put on her stern Momma face: "So. Why were you in time-out?"
C looked at her for a minute with a blank look, and then "Ummm…..I yelled? No, no, no… I ummm…. I’m sorry… Umm…" He looked at me for help, but all I could do was try not to laugh.
The time-out had gone on so long that neither one of them remembered what had started it.
J tried to recover with a general warning: "Well, you just remember that you have to be nice. Can you remember that?"
C nodded, but I don’t think he was fooled. He gave me a big old grin and ran off to the den.
The great part about this? It happened to J first!