Learning what “time-out” means

Yesterday, Friend brought the boys over for lunch. The kids all usually enjoy seeing each other mid-week, and a good time is generally had by all.

Enter grouch-monster Tad.

I don’t know what it is, but this boy has been waking up on the wrong side of the crib this week. He’s almost 21 months – this teenager-like behavior is driving me NUTS!

Head and Ane were playing decently together in her room, and the Brain was minding his own business when Tad decided to clobber him over the head with a toy. Friend saw the whole thing – and of course, the Brain started screaming instantly – and handed Tad over to me for an appropriate punishment.

I was trying to get the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made for lunch, so I needed to be in the kitchen. But Tad really needed a time-out. At his age, though, a time-out means that I have him in a full body hold in his room, which makes him sit still long enough to realize, “Hey, I’m in trouble!” Since I didn’t have the time to sit with him, I pulled out the stepstool (which also doubles as the time-out stool in our house), placed it in the kitchen where it usually does go, and plopped Tad on it.

He began to cry – I’m not sure if it was because I put him down, or because he was on the stool. Regardless, he sat and cried for a few seconds, then made a move to get down.

I took his little buns and sat them firmly back on the stool. He again tried to get a knee under him and scoot off the stool. I planted his butt back in place.

THEN he got the idea, and he let out a mournful wail. It was if the pieces had suddenly and terribly fallen into place for him. He’s seen Ane on this very stool on a time-out, and he realized what was happening to him. “I’m being punished!!!” his sobs proclaimed. He sat there crying, not attempting to move, for the rest of the time-out. When I took him down, Friend escorted him to the Brain for an “apology hug,” since Tad can’t articulate the word “sorry.” We will have to work on that. Add that to the list of words the boy doesn’t say yet.

But I am so pleased. Not that he clonked the Brain and had to have a time-out, but that the idea of a time-out has taken root in his little head. Maybe now, this punishment will be even more effective around here with both kids participating. It would certainly go a long way toward balancing the scales of justice around here.

One Response to “Learning what “time-out” means”

  1. Little Cousin's Mommy
    May 10th, 2007 10:11

    Little Cousin takes (being held) time-outs as quiet/snuggle time. She rarely puts up a fuss so we have to hold her pretty tight to restrict all movement, and even then it takes her a full minute to realize that this is not fun.