Friday, December 7, 2007

These are trying times

When a friend learned I was proudly quitting my job to be a stay-at-home mom, she warned me there would be days when I would need a glass of wine in the middle of the day. She was speaking from experience, having given up her journalism career a couple years ago to stay at home with her toddler daughter. I chuckled at the thought at the time. How could my little angelic Ladybug possibly drive me to drink?

Funny how five months of perspective can change you.

These last few weeks have been particularly difficult. Remember how I gloated a while back that I was the favorite? Apparently Ladybug feels that gives her special privileges, and she absolutely refuses to follow instructions from me.

I tell her to bring me her empty bottle, and she sits it on the floor on the opposite side of the room and walks away. I tell her to put her crayons in their storage box, and she saunters into her nursery and dumps another box of toys on the floor. I tell her to take off her shoes and she screams, “No!” One incident was so rebellious, in fact, that I literally stood by her side and repeated “take off your shoes” at least 100 times. I even pulled out the big guns – “We will sit here all night, if that’s what it takes.” Ultimately, it didn’t require that; just 20 hair-pulling minutes.

I’m at my wit’s end. Someone suggested we try the 1-2-3 method – that by the time you count to three, the punishment begins – but Ladybug thinks we’re playing a counting game. Needless to say, that technique is useless for us.

So today for the first time, I tried a time out. To make time-outs most effective, you’re supposed to find a boring, quiet place away from all the action. But with our open floor plan and toys stacked in every available space, that’s a bit difficult. I tried anyway, putting Ladybug on the futon in our former dining room. And you know what? She didn’t care.

The child-care experts say you should only use one minute of time-out for each year of your child’s life. That means the appropriate time for Ladybug would be less than two minutes. But for those two minutes that were supposed to be punishment, Ladybug chattered away. I extended it to five minutes, and she started singing. Ten minutes later, she started to hop off the futon and I told her to get back on. She did. Gladly.

So as I sit here, Ladybug in bed, pondering how I’m going to handle this stage, I’m sipping a glass of wine. Yes, my friend, I caved. My angelic Ladybug drove me to drink.

Cheers, here’s to you …


Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's okay for her to think its fun to be in timeout- the idea is to give her time to cool down or redirect her energy from the task that originally landed her there in the first place- some folks just use a room, i had a friend that used a specific chair & that chair only- some use corners or landings at the bottem of the staircase-
she will eventually figure out that it's some form of punishment-
but for right now, she is going to probably be able to make a game out of anything-its just the age!!

December 7, 2007 at 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheers to you, too, my dear friend!


December 8, 2007 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Melissa Swanson said...

Don't feel bad about wanting to drink, LOL. There have been many times that I have felt that way. Being a SAHM is one of the hardest jobs in the world. I did it for the first two years of both of my boys' lives. There were times that I wanted to do anything else but be a SAHM. But, it gets easier as they get older. I promise! Keep your head up and know that you're doing a very important job. Every time she gets in trouble, it's an opportunity to teach her something.

December 9, 2007 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Michelle Mahfoufi said...

I think the futon has unintentionally become the time-out zone. Now when Ladybug here's me saying "You're going to sit still for one minute," she runs to the futon and hops up on it. She's still having fun with it ....

December 10, 2007 at 8:57 AM  

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