The Stand-Off

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Shorty #2 on the Time Out step.

Shorty #2 is only mere-months away from the dreaded terrible twos.  She’s always been strong-willed and lets say a bit naughty for lack of a better description.  A little mischievous perhaps.  Well, she’s taken to throwing her plate, food, cup etc when she’s unhappy with the progress of a meal.  Yes, Shorty #2 has always been a big fan of mealtime but lately when she wants to cut out of dinner early in favour of dessert she will sort of lose it.  J and I, while not huge disciplinarians – have to nip these shenanigans in the bud.  So we have resurrected the TIME OUT.

There are many schools of thought on the Time Out, but its worked pretty well in our house.  A little break on the step while we talk about what went wrong and what led to the mac and cheese hitting the ceiling.

Here’s how it went down.  Shorty #2 was done with her dinner and decided to throw her plate of chicken and rice across the room like it was a Frisbee.  “No thank you!” we cried.  “That’s not what we do with our plate!”  The tears began to flow and little #2 was ushered to the step for her first Time Out.

We sat down with her and explained again how this is “not what we do” blah blah blah.  She looked us in the eye penitent so we asked her “Are you ready to say sorry?”  She looked up, eyes glassy with tears and slowly but deliberately shook her head “no”.  Yep, Shorty #2 doesn’t ever say much – but she clearly knows how to say no.  So we sat her down again and explained that she couldn’t get up and finish the meal until she apologized.

Many minutes went by with wailing tears and foot stamping – we asked her again “Are you ready to say sorry?”  Again, she shook her head  “no”.  Now we were getting dangerously close to bed time and she wouldn’t give in.  I could not believe Shorty #2 could be this stubborn and that she would stay on the step for this long.

What do we do?  We CANNOT give in – if we do we’re done for.  It’ll be like Lord of the Flies and Shorties will rule the house!  So we sit her back down and try to ignore the ensuing tantrum, every now and again asking if she’s ready to apologize and always the same response – “no”.

Finally, a brain wave.  “Ok little one, if you are not able to say ‘sorry’ to Mama & Dada, maybe you can give us a kiss and hug instead.  She relented a little and gave me a hug.  “How about a kiss?”  She shook her head again!  But after a little more prompting, she at last gave in.

All forgiven, we returned to the table so she could finish her meal.  She sat in her high chair chomping away.  I asked her ” Can you say ‘sorry’?”  She looked me straight in the eye and said “Sorry”  then she sang it “Sooooorrrryyyy” chanting it over and over again.

Who knew that our kid was the David Geffen of time out negotiations!  She wasn’t prepared to give it all up, but she gave in a little so we felt like we were getting what we wanted.  In the end, she holds all the power.  Ack!  Don’t kid yourself, the kids will always rule the house.

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