My first post is up at The Soccer Mom Vote so please visit if you're so inclined. If you'd rather not because you think I've sold out completely and jumped the shark by continually pimping the posts I've written at other locations, then please enjoy this Vitamin D update instead.
I was out of pocket much of last week, busy chasing a feverish toddler, editing a newsletter, planning an office holiday party, shopping for Christmas gifts and sending out cards. I'm back but certainly not better than ever because even though it's only Monday I thought seriously about breaking out the "reserved for Fridays and rainy days that always get me down" vodka. Luckily, I have a sense of self-restraint.
Delaney's high fever and unexplained illness of last week finally passed but they left in their wake a child whose naps have become suddenly and menacingly shorter; a child who isn't sleeping as well or as long at night; and (most concerning to the parent who spends every waking minute with her) a child who howls in fits of laughter at my lame attempts to enforce time outs.
Long story short: all hell has broken loose and Santa'd better be packing some Prozac.
What's the deal with these time outs and when are they actually supposed to accomplish anything? Delaney's scratching has been much worse lately. Her favorite time to break out that bad behavior is when I'm trying to lay her down to change a diaper. She knows both my hands are occupied so she starts thrashing about and claws at my face, neck, arms--any vulnerable body part. It's ugly and I'm consistently using time outs when she does this to get it into her head that it's simply not going to be tolerated. Sometimes she cries and fights the time out but lately she just laughs and taunts me through her bedroom door ("Mama? Mama! I in tie owwwww! Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"). When I go in to get her she squeals, "I sorry, Mama!" with a gigantic smirk on her face and no trace of remorse whatsoever. It's all a game to her and she's the winner. I'm just the punk who keeps perpetuating it all.
But, if not time outs then what? I don't want to spank and I honestly don't know what other options are sane and available. I should read one of the many discipline/parenting books on my shelf but it's the holidays. I barely have time to tend to basic hygiene let alone delve into the finer points of how to give my child the gift of inner discipline. And really, is that even possible? Can you teach a not-quite-two-year-old "inner discipline" when you can't even get her to stop tossing her dinner across the room?