Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The battle rages on!

February is finally here, and though it brings with it more of the cold winter weather we are used to, it also brings the hope of spring. For some reason, February is a more hopeful month than January. January is a time to hunker down in a warm cozy spot and hide there for as long as possible before spring shows up. I am not done hunkering, but I am certainly looking forward to March. February feels to me like one deep inhalation of fresh, crisp air.

Weather aside, my week is going all right. Despite my disastrous two days in the middle of last week, we seem to be back on track with Cody and his time-outs. Every day we have battles, and sometimes long ones. Today I administered a time-out, Supernanny style, and it took probably close to 45 minutes before he finally submitted. I did have to break form a couple of times in there and up the ante by telling him if he didn't get it right he would not be getting any cookies for lunch. We do not normally have cookies around here anymore, but this week we do, and I have found that they add a certain extra motivation for him to submit to a time-out. Today, he lost all cookie privileges for the whole day. Bummer. In the end, I had to go to the living room and disassemble his entire geo-trax set-up and put it all back in he --

Oh the irony that my sentence was interrupted by the necessity to administer yet another time out. That was hours ago. I just finished another one. Phew. It is hard work. In fact, the time-out is much harder on the parent than it is on the child, I am convinced of it. Miraculously, today I did not lose my cool. I barely even yelled during the whole day. That sounds terrible, doesn't it? It is very hard not to lose it when your kids are so good at pressing all your buttons. Today, during Cody's time-out, he actually grinned and ran away giggling into the living room. The first time, I walked after him and carried him back to his chair. The second time I stood like a statue and employed The Look. I did not move, but stood there with my finger on the button of the timer. It took a few minutes, but eventually, a sheepish Cody, still laughing but clearly not enjoying himself anymore, slunk back to the kitchen and crawled into the chair. I continued drilling him with the iron stare until he was sitting nicely and making no sound. I then pressed the button and the time-out continued. I definitely broke protocol a couple of times today, but I think it was in a way that worked for Cody. I am getting better about maintaining silence and a stone-cold facial expression. Inside I am trying not to laugh. Not because I find it funny, but the kind of laugh that comes out in frustration and makes you look and feel very weak. I was not about to allow that to escape or he would know he had won. Even though I went through several battles with this discipline today, I know it was so much better than the kind of battles we were having before trying this type of time-out. If I had sent him to his room and forced him to stay there instead, he would have been a raging volcano for a LONG time today. Instead, we battled it out in the kitchen, but I remained very calm (at least on the outside) and ---

Oops, another one. This one went much more smoothly and I didn't have to reset the timer at all. I hope it is not fluke, and that it will continue to work and to get better and better. If it does I really think it will benefit him as well as us. I am trying to teach him that he has the power to control how long his time-out lasts, or even whether he gets one in the first place, by his own behavior and attitude. He is not yet four, so it is understandable that it will take a while for him to really get that. But at least he will start to learn now.

Okay, we just tucked the boys in, and I would say this was a good day. Yes, there was disobedience. Yes, there were fights between brothers. Yes, there were consequences. But there was victory, and the battles were won by the parental team rather than the shrimps. Woo hoo!

In other news, I went and met another horse last night. She was pretty, but she had a ton of bad habits and I was not impressed with her behavior or her personality. So, cross one buckskin off the list. Too bad. She was very pretty, and apparently really smooth and comfortable to ride. The search continues, with one beautiful black and white paint named Flash stuck in my head day and night. I better sign off. This post has taken close to four hours to complete. Good night.

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