Thursday, May 29, 2008

Time! Out!

Last night I picked up Kaitlyn from the babysitters, came home, and made dinner for both of us. (Mike was gone all evening at a softball game.) After dinner, I washed dishes while Kaitlyn stood at the baby gate in the kitchen doorway and talked NON-STOP.

Jabber, jabber, jabber.

Jabber, jabber, hit. Zack. Jabber, jabber.

Did you hit Zack today? Or did Zack hit you?

Yes. Jabber, jabber. TIME OUT! Zack.

Did Zack get a time out?

Yes. Timeout! Zack. Hit. Hug.

Did Zack hit you, then get a time out, then have to give you a hug?


Jabber, jabber, jabber, time out. TIME! OUT! [shaking her finger]

This went on for quite a while. At times she would pause to sing a heavy metal version of "Twinkle, twinkle, little star". I say it was heavy metal because she shouted it - "Twinkle! Twinkle! Lit-til STAR!" - and did a type of head-banging move along with the "singing".

Then she'd go back to jabbering.

Mike got home after Kaitlyn was asleep, so this morning he (without knowing about the events of last night) asked her if she had fun yesterday. I was in the kitchen and could hear her in the living room saying, "Time out. Zack!" She continued to recount her version of the story to Mike.

I wasn't sure what had really happened, and I wanted to make sure that Kaitlyn wasn't the one hitting and getting time outs. So when I dropped her off at the sitter's this morning I asked about the whole thing.

Meagan (our sitter) started laughing. What really happened is that the kids were outside yesterday, and two of the boys were getting into something that they weren't supposed to. Meagan threatened them with a time out, and I imagine they would stop for a bit, and then get back where they weren't supposed to be, so Meagan would again tell them they were on the verge of a time out.

And the whole time Kaitlyn is on the swing yelling "TIME OUT! TIME OUT!" (And was probably shaking her finger at them.)

I think she has an obsession with time outs. Or with discipline in general. A couple of weeks ago she wanted to go upstairs. I told her no. She went to the stairs and started up the first step. Again, I said no, and I told her that if she went any further she'd be given a time out.

She stopped, turned around, and came back towards the living room. I patted myself on the back. It seemed that the whole time out thing was working.

While I was still congratulating myself on my successful parenting skills, Kaitlyn went into the dining room and climbed into the time out chair.

"Time out. Mommy - time out."

Excuse me? Really? She is giving herself a time out? Oh. My. Word.

I looked at her, exasperated. She sat there and looked back at me with a very satisfied look on her face, as if this was the plan all along - to manipulate me into giving her a time out.

I said, "Kaitlyn! What are you doing? A time out is meaningless if it is something you want!"

She continued to look at me, with a pleased look on her face, and said, "Time. Out!"


She also makes a big deal when we sternly tell her no. She'll stop doing whatever it is she shouldn't be doing, and for the next five minutes we hear, "jabber, jabber, jabber, NO! jabber, jabber, no, no, NO! jabber, jabber," accompanied by a shaking finger and stern expression. It's as if she is recounting the whole experience over and over again, for fun. She seems to find great pleasure in this.

What does this mean? Is she bound for a career as a referee? A judge? Law enforcement? Capital punishment?

Is this a phase she will grow out of? Or does it give us a glimpse into her personality?

Or, is it possible, that at the tender age of 21 months, she is already performing psychological experiments on us by giving herself time outs?

Maybe she has a master plan to drive us crazy, and this is the first phase.

Maybe she has formed an alliance with the cat, and their plan is to take over the house.

Then again, maybe my imagination is just a wee bit over-active.

(But I'm sure she gets her run-away imagination from her father.)

Oh, and I'm a little concerned at how she had taken several events from yesterday and melded them together to form her little version of the story. (Again, I'm sure she gets this from her father.) What in the world will she tell teachers, neighbors, and relatives? And cashiers, bank tellers, and random people on the street?

I sense years of explanations, embarrassment, and endless material for blog posts in my future.


Anonymous said...

How absolutely funny! I need to pray for the gift of interpretation when she is with me because she will jabber and I know she is telling me something - but I can't always distiguish the words! Mom

Vicki Courtney said...

erin, thanks for your fabulous insight on my post today. loved every word of your wisdom!