Memoirs of a Mummy

The Worst Mistake When You Are Putting a Child on Time-Out

Before you throw cyber tomatoes at me, let me just say that I had already beaten myself mentally over and over for this parental mistake. I could opt not to post this but I am doing it anyway. I am human and I make mistakes every day. This is one of those mistakes that I chose to remember and learn from.

I read a lot about time-outs. Dr. Harvey Karp recommends the playpen for kids below 2 and a childproof room for older kids. A corner would do if a kid won’t resist. A power struggle would defeat the purpose of a time out which is a time away from attention or anything reinforcing. The corner used to work for Aki until Franco saw Aki on time out,and laughed. Since then, Aki won’t stay in place in his TO corner. A time-out in the room will never work in our house because Aki’s playroom is too exciting while our bedroom is not safe for a smart kid. He might stack the laptop bags or  move and stand on the side table and jump off the window.

Let’s go to the juicy part of the story. When we were in Bayog last April, Aki went on time-out because he was playing with his yayay aka saliva. After a quick scan of the guestroom, I decided to let Aki stay there for a minute. I was holding the door knob while runing the countdown in my head. I only let go of the door when I looked at the time in the clock in the living room. When I went back, it was time to go out. But guess what? The damn door was locked! I let out the slowest slow mo and crunchiest and foulest (or is it most foul? wachever) curse word ( just in my head of course).

I got the bunch of keys and nervously tried all of them, all 20 of them. I got another bunch and tried all the keys again. By this time, Aki was already crying inconsolably (he didnt cry during the actual time out). My heart was beating so fast and so hard. It felt like my chest was going to explode. What the mother freak was I thinking locking up my son without checking where the keys were? I called my mom who was in her dental clinic to tell her of the not-so small problem. She said the key was just there. I probably was just too nervous to make the keys work. I gave the keys to Ate Che for her to try to open the door while I checked on Aki via the windows.

Here is how we looked like

The problem with the knob is that it isn’t the normal press-and-twist-to-open knob. You have to turn the small thing in the middle before turning the actual knob. Aki is not used to this kind of knobs and could not understand my instructions. I called my sister, hoping she could help. She told me that there is a bunch of keys inside the guestroom. I told Aki to open the closet and look for the keys. As you can see in the picture, there are a lot of clothes so it was really amazing when Aki came runing with keys.

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Memoirs of a Mummy

Toddler Discipline: It’s Complicated

In a few weeks, we will finally be saying good bye to the terrible two’s. I can’t wait to say good bye to picky eating, selective deafness, fake cries and uncooperation. Don’t get me wrong. I love Aki to the moon and back. However, he goes from being the apple of my eye to being a pebble in my shoe in a snap. I love him every minute every second of the day but there is these 15 minutes where all I just want to be away from Franco’s crying and demanding son.

Let me take minute or two to document what worked for us during the terrible twos.

1. Saying what I mean the first time I say it. I wish I learned about this earlier. The longer the time frame between the warning and consequence, the more ineffective warnings become. I learned this from Elizabeth Pantley. The first time I consciously tried to use this technique was when Aki was glued to the TV in my in-laws house. I told him it is time to go but he was ignoring me. I told him that I am leaving after 10 seconds. Instead of saying Iiwan na kita (I am going to leave you) 20 times like I used to, I did what I said I would do and left him there. On my walk home,  I kept looking back, hoping to see or hear a crying toddler running after me. I got home but still no sign of Aki. This may sound bad but I let out a big sigh of relief when he finally came home crying.

It is actually easier said than done. Once, when I was working on our weekly menu, Aki picked up my cookbooks and threw them on the floor. I told him that if he won’t   pick up the books, I won’t take him to the grocery with me. He didn’t do what I said so even if it broke my heart to see him begging to go with me, I left him.

In this picture Aki is sleeping without a pillow. I told him that if  he still won’t let me brush his teeth  after I count to 10, he will not have any pillow that night. My boy only cooperated after the countdown. I so wanted to share my pillow with him that night but I had to stick to my word.

2. Counting.  This works , although not all the time, when I want Aki to stop doing something and do something else. For example, after bath time, instead of saying, “Time to get dressed now”, I say “You have 10 seconds and then it is time to say good bye to the water. 10, 9 ..”  Or “You can play with that for 10 more seconds but after playing  you have to pack away. 10, 9.” I am still surprised whenever this technique works. Sometimes, Aki thinks it is a game and wraps things up even before I finish counting. I can’t remember where I read that kids need time to transition from one activity to another but to who ever wrote that, Thank you! The more I use this, the more it becomes effective.

3. Giving  time outs. For Aki, I escort him out of the house. Of course I make sure the gate is locked and I secretly watch him.

Continue reading “Toddler Discipline: It’s Complicated”

Memoirs of a Mummy

Aki Gets A Time-out

This is Aki on the first time he had a proper time out.

He went on time out after I saw him hit Lotlot’s leg after Lottie refused to give him an item that he wanted to get. I gave him a warning but he hit Lot again so I had no choice but to put him on TO. He looks so sad and helpless here. He kept saying ” Mummy peees  nooo (Mummy please no)”. I firmly and calmly told him that only the timer can say when time out is over. I also thanked him for staying in the corner. After that, I pretended to ignore him.

This is him  a less than a minute after I made him sit in his time out corner.

He sat there quietly until the timer rang. I was really surprised that he stayed in the corner alone for two minutes.
In our previous unofficial time-outs, we would sit him on our laps with our arms around him or we would sit on the floor of the 2nd floor hallway while we were holding his hands. It had always been a parent-child power struggle. I knew we had to change how we do our time outs because when he gets bigger and stronger, we won’t be able to restrain him in our laps anymore.

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Memoirs of a Mummy

When there’s a toddler in the house (Part IV of 20,000)

Peace and quiet can only mean he’s up to something.

I was having some Me-time by reading my new 5-peso magazines from Booksale. I was almost finished with the article on wabi sabi living when I realized that I was almost finished with the article! There must be something wrong because I never get to read whenever Aki’s awake.

He is been looking out the window for a good 5 minutes. So, I looked outside. No birds. No stray cats either. What could he be looking at?

This is what I saw…

his favorite non-toys just outside the window

The fun Mameh in me slowly went out to further investigate.

The culprit in action!

Continue reading “When there’s a toddler in the house (Part IV of 20,000)”