Daddy to the Rescue
Some of you have no doubt been thinking, thanks to my previous tale, that I’m incompetent when it comes to administering a time out.
Last night, it was my wife’s turn. The little guy put her through the ringer, refusing to put on his pajamas (or allow them to be put on) no matter what she did. After she got him in the pajamas, he cried and cried, refusing to go to the next step. He spent significant time in time out. He had serious talkings to. All the tricks from her considerable bag of parenting tricks were used.
In these situations, we have an agreement that the other parent does *not* step in to help unless requested. This put me in the rather wonderful position of playing with his older brother and kibbitzing…
“Uh-oh, he’s going to get it for that one.”
“Yep. Momma’s really mad.”
“Why doesn’t he want to get in his pajamas, anyway?”
“He’s very sad.”
… and so forth. At one point we looked up from the trains and I realized that momma had left the little guy in time out and gone to do other things. I tracked her down to see if I could help. She graciously accepted, using far less profanity than I would have. We decided that he was just overly tired and I should try to put him to bed.
So I went and got the little guy and took him to the bedroom. He wasn’t crying any more, but instead was giving dark looks and sniffling occasionally. I pulled his pajamas back on (he’d taken them off), put him in bed and read a story. He seemed to calm down. After the story, I asked him why he was so sad.
He thought about this for a while, sitting there with his eyebrows down and his bottom lip jutting out. Finally he whispered “my shirt.”
“You want a different shirt?” I asked.
“Okay.” I opened the dresser and pulled out another pajama shirt. “How about this one?”
Suddenly, the clouds parted. He giggled. The dark sad look was replaced by an ear-to-ear smile. “Yep!”
I helped him change his shirt and he laid down and went to sleep, happy as could be.
Now, it’s important for me to note that J had previously offered him several different pajama shirts.
Of course, that understanding didn’t stop me from walking out of the bedroom with a big old grin on my face. “He’s fine. He just wanted a new shirt.”