Monday, October 4, 2010

Time Out Rocks!

Around these parts it feels like some days all I do is say "No", "Don't do that", "Don't hit your sister", "Don't Kick your Sister!", "Put your shoes on already", "Eat your dinner", "Stop Pushing", "No throwing toys", "Get down you're going to break your arm", "Stop! No! Wait! Don't, Don't, Don't - seriously kid - just DON'T!"

Now, we've covered that most of the time I'm a "mean Mom" (I bought my Mom a mug years ago with a poem about the mean mother, if I remember I do a post about it soon), who parents her kids endlessly in hopes of raising well mannered, healthy, happy and intelligent children, but there are moments when I chose to turn a blind eye so that my children know I love them and actually do enjoy things that are fun.

I don't believe that I'm a horrible mother, I also don't think that I'm unnecessarily hard on our girls.  We always feel the proof is in the pudding when the kids are put into a situation that requires them to obey and behave and they do famously - while still laughing and smiling.

However, I don't really like this part of my "job" as Momma.  I love raising our kids, I love stories and cuddles, and I love hearing them laugh and listening to them sing, but I don't love discipline.  I don't love that there are moments when they don't obey and I'm forced to teach them why listening to what I say is important.  I don't love that every tom, dick and hairy (which until this moment didn't seem funny, but now that I see it in print....) has an opinion about how you do or don't punish them.  Some say you should spank, others think it's horrid, some are timeout fans while others still stand their kid in the corner, and the ones who don't have children at all have the strongest and most unappreciated opinion of them all.  If you do not have a child, you have no idea how this goes.  If you helped raise your siblings, it's not the same, your opinion is still unwanted and inexperienced - just ask Corey about the difference between being the brother and being the dad.  I understand that you (person with the unwanted opinion) mean well, but seriously Dude, shut it.

Mostly, what I dislike is that there is no one sure fire way to punish a child effectively.  Each situation, child and offence responds to different methods of reprimand.  I've learned this the hard way.

You see, Audrey's coming into her own.  She's reaching that point in her development when challenging me is awesome!  Bethany reached that stage, in fact I think most kids do, so I figured I'd be able to handle this no problem.  Surprise, surprise, I was wrong.

With Beth if I had to punish her, usually a time out did the trick.  She'd sob her eyes out while looking at me with contempt, totally and completely wounded by the fact that I was unhappy with her.  Just the threat of a timeout had her listening most times and it was rare that anything further was warranted. 

Audrey, however thinks time out ROCKS!  I'm not kidding, the other day my little instigator (if this were hockey she'd totally have a 20 minute game misconduct by now, such a bruiser she is.  Not that B doesn't start the other half of things but that's another day, sibling fights require another day) decided that while Beth is laying on the floor, minding her own business she's going to pick up a book and launch it at her head.  Audrey didn't just toss it, drop it, she wound up and as I'm standing to grab the book and say no, throws it with the force of a major league baseball player - the when it nails her sister in the shins (I said she had the force, not the aim) she grinned.  I could have screamed!

Instead, I grab her arm, scold her and tell her she needs to sit in timeout for hurting her sister.  That was mean.  I plunk her down and as I walk away I see this little face...

(PS. Time out never usually has a toy, soother or anything else that can be comfort or weapon...)

Then she's completely calm and says nothing.  I think maybe it's sinking in, not all kids cry when they're upset.  So I leave her there for her 2 minutes and when I go back I see this face...

I ask her to stand up, talk to her about what she did, made her go say sorry to Bethany and thought ok, battle won.  Then she does something that surprised me and made me have to fight laughter.  She hung her head and said "Mo - Out!" and marched back over to time out and sat down.  She enjoyed herself! 

Apparently if you're 21 months old and your big sister gets timeout, it's cool to have them too.  And as cute as she is it left me with this impending sense of doom, now what?

We manage, I believe whole heartedly that the challenges AJ is going to bring to this family will be night and day different and together these little girls will leave me feeling baffled and frustrated.  I just say it's a really good thing that in spite of those days and those moments, that I love this job, I love this life and I love these girls!  I mean, really? Who would love kids this cute?


Anonymous said...

You both are sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute!
Love and Hugs

kim @ mommyknows said...

Those are some VERY cute kiddos!

I'm so with you! Sometimes I get sick of hearing me reprimanding the kids. I'm just afraid not to be consistent.