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Posts Tagged ‘time out’

When I wrote the post on spanking I expected criticism and a full-out mommy war in the comments. I mean, it’s touchy stuff! But instead I received a ton of thoughtful, helpful and supportive feedback. How awesome is that?

In the end I think I’m so undecided about spanking because something about it doesn’t sit right with me. And, I don’t think it would work for L. If I felt like it would be effective, I’d probably give it a go. But knowing L, I believe it’s something that would end up backfiring in an unexpected way at some point down the road.

I still need to find the holy grail of consequences that will work for him though. We use time outs now, and the threat of one does often curb immediate behavior, but it’s not improving things long-term. I’ve tried taking away favorite things and that doesn’t phase him in the least. We consistently leave fun places, also with no real effect. This child of mine is so strong-willed and determined when he’s mad, that his satisfaction from just being mad and saying mean things outweighs how bad it is to leave a birthday party. It also outweighs how much it sucks to have all of his toys taken away. And all of his superhero pjs/underwear/t-shirts.

I’ve said this before, but I think consequences don’t mean much to him because he knows that bottom line I’m still going to love him. In fact, infuriatingly, he’ll often remind me that I still love him in the middle of a battle. I’ve tried the stern, “I’m very disappointed” approach and he just smiles and says “but you still love me.” He’s done this after I’ve had to drag him out of playgrounds/parties/playdates and wrestle him into the car. When I’m screaming mad. When I’m ready to drop him off at the local fire station. Do you know how annoying it is for someone to remind you that you love him in a moment that you want to kill him?

Many of you have assured me that this is a phase, and I hope you’re right. But I’ve also been told that I have to get this stuff in check now, before he’s a teenager. This warning keeps me up at night with visions of a totally out of control teenaged-L. Flunking out of school, staying out all night, drinking, drugs, crime, orchestrating shooting rampages….

Lately my feelings about L have been highly schizophrenic. One moment I’m cracking up at some hilarious thing he says, the next moment I’m marveling at how adorable he is, and within a minute I want to put him up for auction on Ebay, priced to sell.

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My zen is crumbling around me as I return to the familiar territory of irritability. Just like the ugly, gigantic pajama pants that I normally put on every night after tucking the kids into bed. (You know, the ones I bought when I was 7 months pregnant, that were then cute(ish) capris but now drag on the floor even when hoisted up all the way to my boobs.)

The pants disappeared with Nana’s visit. I just pretended to be the type who keeps her jeans on until bedtime. I also pretended to be calm. I pulled it off so well that I even fell for it. But as soon as outsider eyes stopped watching, I hitched up my huge pjs and I got annoyed at everything.

I am a duck. I am a duck. I am a duck.

Fuck it. I’m no duck. I’m the mom who took off L’s doorknob yesterday and turned it around so I could lock his door from the outside, after a solid hour of back-to-back time outs where I had to stand there holding the door closed pretending I couldn’t hear his “stupid mommy!” and “poopy mommy!” and him hurling himself and all that was not nailed down at the door.

Maybe a little bit of my flirtation with zen did stick. Although I eventually yelled, it was only a little bit. I quickly regained control of myself and did the door knob thing instead, which certainly shocked and disturbed L more than any yelling I could do. When all was said and done I was able to bring my blood pressure back down to a low simmer and get on with the day.

So, I’m no zen master and I’ve lost that zenny ease I had while Nana was here. Then it was easy. I simply had no choice. Now I’m free to show my ugly-mommy side and it really wants to be seen. Here’s hoping I have some zen-retention though. I know it’s possible anyway.

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