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Of time outs and surprises.

25 August 2010
We're still trying to piece together a plan of attack for Sparrow's misbehavior. He's lost a few privileges lately - last week after he refused to help me pick up his toys, he lost the chance to go swimming (which was tragic since we were already in our swim-suits.) Sunday he lost a cookie after he ran away from Hawk and I and wouldn't come to us.

In these cases we say: "Sparrow, you need to help pick up your toys. Please help me pick up. Can you get that one there? How fast can you put it away?" We are pleasant about it and try to make it a game. Normally it works. Sometimes he gets a hair up his butt and backs away, smiling this devil smile and just watching us - you can just tell he's waiting to see what will happen, he's testing us. It's a little frustrating. I have to bite back the urge to smack the smile off his cute little mischievous face.

"Sparrow, if you don't help pick up, we can't go swimming today. I'm going to count to three and if you don't help Mommy/Daddy, we are not going swimming. One.............. two.................................................-"

He looks at me. "Three!"

"Yes, three. Okay, no swimming today."

Then we have a meltdown, and I explain to him 3 times that since he did not obey, we can't go swimming. After that if he keeps screaming he goes to time-out for 2 minutes. Then I distract him with something else. If he keeps asking about swimming I will say something like "We can't go swimming today because you didn't obey Mommy. When you obey Mommy, we can do fun things. Maybe we will swim tomorrow if you are a nice boy."

It's working okay. I am still reading lots of parenting books and getting advice from people. He had 5 time outs in his music class 2 weeks ago (he gets worked up and screams, which scares the kids, so I take him out. Or he climbs in things he shouldn't) and last week he only had 3 time outs, so it's working a little. It also helps, when he screams, to tell him "we can't scream because it scares the kitties/the baby/our friend" etc. That REALLY works and makes me want to start carrying a baby doll around with me!

I did have a chance to watch a 9 month old on Saturday and a 5 year old yesterday. The 9 month old cried the entire time I watched him. I was reminded of why I don't like babies. Not being able to solve the problem drives me crazy. In this case I knew why he was crying (wanted his mommy) but I couldn't do anything about it, and it was maddening. I remember not knowing what Sparrow wanted. I am glad to be done with the infant stage.

On the other hand, watching the 5 year old gave me such hope. He was so sweet and helpful and good. He even went to the bathroom by himself! WOW!!! If I can hang on till Sparrow is 5, we're gonna be good.

In other news, I have a huge surprise for Hawk as a very early anniversary present. I am giving it to him today, after I figure out a clever way to present it. I'll let you know how it goes!

2 comments to Of time outs and surprises.:

Bethany said...

Sounds like you're doing better than I am! :) Five sounds like a nice age. I think maybe I can make it to five. Maybe.

Kourtne said...

OH Boy! Will is not the only one! It's nice to hear there are other disobedient little boys out there. Hang in there, Will is in his "terrible twos" still..it's good that they're so cute when they sleep. (And actually a lot of fun when they're a happy.)