Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Monday, October 16, 2006


Who's zooming who?

A visitor to our suburban rambler of late might wonder what the awful racket is all about.

It goes something like this: “Screech! Rattle-rattle-thump-thump- shriek-shriek-indignant-whimper-thump-thump-sob!”. It lasts for about a minute and seven seconds.

It’s the sound of Maggie getting a time-out. In her room, not a “naughty spot”. I lack the strength and stamina to try to keep a 25 month old child in one spot against her will. Instead, I shut her in her room while she screams and heaves herself against the door in a state of total indignation and panic.

One could say she is not yet taking behavior modification gracefully.

I hate giving them. I know I am supposed to give her a minute for each year old she is (two), but I can barely make it past a minute, seven seconds. The sound of her sobbing in agony just about kills me, and I sit and watch the clock. I have yet to make it to a full 2 minutes.

We give time outs pretty sparingly, and I am trying so very hard to be consistent. She always gets a clear warning first, and so far, she has received time-outs for the following offenses:

Opening up the refrigerator door after being warned not to, whilst looking me straight in the eye and smirking.
Hitting, kicking, hair-pulling, or any other physical maiming-type aggression. So far these have been inflicted solely upon me.

I hear that it’s normal for children to be aggressive towards their mothers, and that it’s actually indicative of a trusting relationship.

Apparently it means that she trusts me not to slap her back, squarely across the face in retaliation, or yank her hair with freakish strength, or “forget” to bring her home from the grocery store when she pummels and maims me.

They say that toddlers act out this way because they lack the verbal skills to express themselves.

Then I think about last week, when Maggie looked at me, giggling, and said “Mommy’s got a BIG NOSE!”, and I realize she is pretty well capable of expressing herself.

Sixty-seven seconds into the time-out, I predictably cave in and open the door to find her, hot and red-faced and tear-streaked. It hurts my heart to see her in such a state.

She sniffles and asks anxiously “a hug?” Then she throws her tiny, freakishly strong arms around my neck and holds on for dear life. I explain to her again, why she got a time-out, as she clings to me, full of remorse and anxiety.

And I melt into a big pile of goo. Sometimes a big pile of goo with a little toddler hand-print still throbbing on my cheek, but a pile of goo nonetheless.

I think she is starting to “get it”. So am I. I remind myself that it’s good for her to learn the boundaries, and that these things make her feel safer in the long run. It’s hard on both of us, and it’s for the best.

But I sure do love those hugs when all is said and done. She presses her tear-streaked cheek to my neck, and gasps "Cookie?"

I nod, take her hand, and we walk to the cupboard together to get her a cookie.

I have to hand it to her. The child. She's good.


Blogger Queue said...

you sound EXACTLY LIKE ME.

I am so glad I am not alone.
My friends all say my child is the all powerful one in our house. i disagree, i just choose my fights, and typically the things they thing I should be in arms about I think are pretty minor.

Every kid who figures out what brown sugar and then hides the container to eat it by the hand full at her leisure - cannot be bad. Shes just smarter than I think she is sometimes.

and you are right - they are good.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Lin said...

Glad to see your words back in the bloggysphere; you've been missed.

It is NOT easy to teach a two-year old the way the world works and we all know discipline is part of the mix, but ugh...it is tough, I well remember. They're wily and cunning and soft and vulnerable... so many complex angles to one so tiny.

4:04 PM  
Blogger DDM said...

I hate giving time outs too. My boy has a 'naught spot'. It's far more difficult to deal with the whining and the "Hiiiii?" from that spot, than to let stuff slide. About half the time I *should* use a time out, I don't. I agree with queue, I pick my battles.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Rosie has learned how to push my buttons at day care dropoff. She will crumple her little face, whimper, and then begin to let out a full fledged scream when she sees me heading out the door. I have to immediately escape and on my weaker days I'll be crying in the car all the way to work.

And before i had kids I thought I'd be immovable when it came to their tears. How naive I was...

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

Ooooh! She IS good. I challenge any mom not to crumble upon encountering such mad skillz!

1:12 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

Parenting is a trip! Someday you'll look back on this and realize this was when things were easy. Wait until you decide to ground her from her favorite toy or activity. Oh the drama then!

And don't worry about her turning you into mush. It happens to all of us (at least, I hope it does...otherwise I am the world's biggest sucker!).

5:39 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

I have no idea how difficult this phase must be for you, but I have to say thanks for writing about it. You're blazing a trail for me and I'm learning so much from all of you who I respect so much and who blog about the experiences of motherhood.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Catizhere said...

Maybe it's the name??? My Maggie can turn the water-works on & off in the blink of an eye.
We are having "bed-time" issues right now. She gets a bath at 8:30(ish) and in bed at 9. Last night she stayed awake until 11. I had to lie down with her and hold her tight until she fell asleep. Then Joe wonders why I raise my voice to her in the morning when she won't get out of bed.

7:59 AM  

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