If you have been following this blog every now and then, you'd know that M has quite the temper - which manifests itself in tantrums, crying and what not. She is also extremely naughty - downright cheeky - a chipmunk for whom NO translates into look into trying harder to challenge restrictions and boundaries. On the other end is poor me, who often tries to balance the mommy in me with the impatient person that I am. It is not difficult then to imagine the number of face-offs we both have in a single day.
So in order to tame the little shrew and give myself some cooling off time, we introduced the concept of timeouts. For my
lucky non-parent friends, you can look up the term on wiki here. The first time, I explained to her (yeah right, explained to an 18 month old!), what I was going to do, and why. And I also told her I love her blah blah - so basically all the parenting gyaan from the books and Internet was s hared offloaded. It was a breeze - about 2 mins of timeout and she was back to being the golden girl that she is the rest of the time. The second time, which happened a couple of weeks after the first, was effective too. And just when I thought I had this whole disciplining and parenting thing under my belt, my daughter throws a googly!
At 18 months two timeouts, come the 19th month, timeout has become a joke. I had reserved time outs for only the big tantrums, the absolutely ugly bad behaviour instances. But this chit of a girl has gotten the better of me. Now, the minute I say Manya, No, she looks into my eye, and asks, Timeout? The first time she did it, I could have died of guilt - Was I being extra tough? Did she hate me for it? Aww, my poor baby, I hugged her tight and told her that timeout was not for everything, only when she was being a very very bad girl. She promptly went to her sippy cup and poured the water onto the carpet, and again asked me, timeout? I swear I could have pulled all my hair out, but I forced myself to be gentle - so I told her yes, if she'd continue behaving like this timeout would be given.
And then what my 19 month old toddler did, stunned me - she went to her room and banged the door shut and said timeout! She played for a couple of minutes and came out as if nothing had happened.
As if this was not enough, one day Vish came home tired and she kept on pouncing at his cell phone, when he gave her one of those rare annoyed looks - she closed the door on him and said, timeout!
Now, close to 20 months, this is our situation - for every small thing, from morning to night, he keeps asking me, timeout? I try ignoring her and the one or two times that I say yes, she goes off on her own. So, when she is actually behaving badly, I am at a loss of what to do - there is no long term benefit of giving a timeout - she continues to behave as badly as ever irrespective of the timeout!
What takes the cake away is that the other day I saw her fussing for a piggy bank at a store - my mommy instinct told me this was going to quickly turn into a full blown tantrum - so I gave her my gravest look ever - and you know what she did - she said, timeout? I said yes, at home, if you behave like this we are going for a timeout, okay? And she coolly looks at me, and says, okay. And continues to demand for the piggy bank! WTF. I have never felt so helpless!!!
So, what do we do now? I take a timeout instead!
Any experienced parents who'd like to guide us here?