Truthfully, the time out was a long time coming. Despite Lenny being the generally well behaved, good natured kid he’s always been, he is also fully in the throes of Being Two And A Half–testing limits, and his ability to say the word “no” as much as possible. Just this past weekend, my husband gave Lenny his very first time out, for a reason I can’t even remember at this point. I, however, had avoided the time-out until now, opting instead for a lot of patience, some negotiation, and probably too many chances given.
Tonight, Lenny got his first mom-issued time out, and we both survived to tell the tale.
However, I’ve gotten tired of what has become our routine for getting in the car. First, Lenny has to do everything himself, from climbing into the car and his car seat, to buckling each buckle. If this were the extent of the routine, I would applaud his independence and tolerate the little extra time it took so he was able to do it on his own. Only, it doesn’t end there. Before he gets in the car, Lenny has to go through the extensive process of putting whatever toy he has on hand in the “cave” (the space between the car seat and the back seat), then take 15 minutes just to convince him to climb into the car, another 10 to get him in the car seat itself, and then negotiations begin on who is going to fasten the buckles.
Admittedly, I’d let this routine go on far too long in the name of letting him play and do things for himself. But, being pregnant in the heat of the summer has me low on patience and, especially at the end of the day, just wanting to sit down rather than wrestling a very strong two year old into the car. So, today I put my foot down, shortened the play time, curbed the negotiations and, yes, threatened a time out when he continued to not listen to me.
Well, you know how the story ends. Lenny didn’t listen, so Lenny got a time out. When we got home, he sat at the bottom of the stairs and cried, for possibly the longest sixty seconds of my life. Then, when the time out was over, we had a hug, wiped his tears, and got to playing and having a snack like we usually do each afternoon.
Giving Lenny a time out was hard for me, probably harder than it was for him to endure. But I think we both learned a lesson–him, that he needs to listen better, and me, that putting my foot down a little more firmly when needed is not going to permanently damage either one of us.