“If you do that one more time, you’re going in time out!”
These words have been used for years, decades, even centuries by parents as a way to stop their coloring-on-the-wall, food-fighting, hopped-up-on-Mountain-Dew children from doing whatever it is they were doing. Like nails on a chalkboard, little toddler terrors would stop dead in their tracks and cringe at the threatening tone of the parental unit. This tactic has proven so effective over the years, it’s been said that some professional sports coaches refuse to use time-outs during their games because of some deep-seeded childhood memory that causes them to seek therapy 3 times a week.
A prehistoric cave dwelling was recently discovered in southern New Mexico. On the walls were some rather rudimentary drawings of animals, hunting weapons, and what appeared to be a child sitting on a makeshift stool on the corner of the room. Ok, that part I just made up…but you get the idea. The “time-out” has been a parent’s ace-in-the-whole for a very long time and its success rate is staggering.
Now brace yourself for the surprise of a lifetime. If you didn’t pick up on the sarcasm in that last sentence, what I’m saying is that the “time-out” doesn’t work on Izzy. There’s no logical explanation for her immunity towards the always effective threat of punishment. The wife and I have gone over it time and time again. Did we over-play our hand too many times before and now the word has simply lost all meaning? Does she dislike being around us so much that a “time-out” is like a 2 minute vacation from the ‘rents? It just doesn’t make sense!
Fearing that our one weapon against the misbehavior of our children was slipping away from us, we’ve started brainstorming new ways of implementing the “time-out”. Our first thought was that the plushy carpeted staircase which faces a full length mirror where Izzy can smile, point, and laugh at herself was, perhaps, not the most effective location for a punishment. Considering the size and…let’s call it “coziness” of our house, there really isn’t any place to put her where she’d be unable to see us or the television. I’m thinking the front stoop might be the way to go.
She seems to enjoy the time alone during her “time-outs”. Perhaps the solitary confinement allows her to be one with her thoughts and think about the meaning of her little 2-year-old life. Whatever the reason, alone time doesn’t seem to be the answer. Perhaps whenever she does something which warrants a “time-out”, we should call all the people we know and have them come to the house and stare at her. Yeah, that won’t lead to the development of a complex and years of sitting on a couch telling a stranger why her parents hate her so much, will it?
Ok, how bout a little reverse psychology. I’m not a professional in this arena, but I’ve heard the term enough to believe it probably works more often than not. So next time Izzy smacks the Jakester with a bucket of building blocks, we’ll applaud, laugh maniacally, and tell her how hilarious that was.
Sorry about that loyal reader, hang on just a minute while I see who’s at the door.
“Mr. Chaney…open up, it’s Social Services!”
Alright, so that last one is definitely a no-no. Well, that’s all I’ve come up with so far. If you’ve got any other suggestions for teaching Izzy that “time-out” means she did something wrong, I’m all ears. Otherwise, keep your phone on you because I may need you to come over and stare at her soon.