Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time Out in Aisle Five! (Or How I'm Under House Arrest)

The whining is back. Not nearly to the degree it was here before, but it has definitely returned.

As I've mentioned before, Mr. Awesome and I can be hardass parents when needed. Never ones to shy away from a challenge, we bravely faced sleep training head on. Twice. (It took us a while to become the hard asses we are today.) Sleep training actually trained US for the times when we have to sit and listen to the little man scream at us for some atrocity we have done to him or some precious toy we have removed after it was lobbed at our heads.

Our sleep training loosely followed Dana Obleman's Sleep Sense program, and given the fact that is pretty much saved our marriage, I am a true believer. She sends out emails every now and then with tips and solutions, most of which haven't applied to us since the sleep problems ended, but once in a while one will come along that's proven very useful.

The other day an email arrived from heaven Dana and it was entitled The One Weekend Whining Cure. Um, hello?! Invest ONE weekend and say goodbye to whining forever? I'M IN! Without going into all the details, the basic "One Weekend Whining Bootcamp" premise is that you give a time out every time the child whines. She says to explain the plan to your child, choose a consistent location, get an egg timer, and go for it. (Again, there is more to it that just this, but I don't want to violate any copyright laws. There's a scary warning on the first page.)

Now, we typically don't always follow every child-rearing rule to the letter. For example, we have yet to buy the egg timer. For the most part though, even the promise of a time out is now enough to get him to speak in a "big boy" voice. Yes, we have to threaten promise this at least 20 times a day, but it does seem to be making a difference. With one rather GLARING hitch.

How the HELL do you give a time out when you're out of the house? The carpet at the end of our hallway doesn't exactly come with us to the grocery store, and I'm not about to sit my son down with an egg timer in the middle of frozen foods. So how do you make good on your promise that any whining results in a time out when you can't follow through?

I'm certainly not one to sit home all day every day, given the lack of decent daytime programming on television. When we were kids, parents didn't think twice about locking a misbehaving kid in the car if the situation called for it. Now, we would get Child Services on top of us before we even pressed "lock" on the car remote (not that I'm considering this tactic). Although strapping him into his car seat and walking away does seem tempting at times...I swear I would leave the window open. Please don't report me. I'M KIDDING.

How do you deal with difficult behaviour when you're out of the house? Do you just ignore it? Do you do time outs, no matter where you are? Do you promise a time out when you return home, even though a three year old's memory of the incident will have been wiped clean by the large excavator you saw on the drive back to your house?

I'm at a loss. I may have to stay home forever and start watching TLC marathons of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" and "Say Yes to the Dress." That alone could be useful as punishment for whining. I may be on to something here... discipline by daytime TV.


  1. I have "downed tools" as it were, in the supermarket, and dragged child to the car in steely silence and strapped them in and gone straight home. Left my trolley full and just left.

    It was SO inconvenient, but all of a sudden I knew that I had to follow through.

    It was worth it. Said child is now, a year later, still an angel in the supermarket!

  2. I bought a brightly coloured place mat, christened it the time out mat, tucked it in my purse and have used it not in frozen foods but near the benches tucked away at the front of grocery stores, I've used it at friends' houses, the park, etc. I don't need to take it with me anymore, but for a month or so it saved my life, the public tantrum being Monkeybone's weapon of choice. For the last little bit I only had to show it to him before leaving the car for him to know I meant business. -sigh- toddlers suck.

  3. I don't know do you just stay home until the whining cure works and the whine is stopped?!?!? We wrestle with tactics every time. Cookie bribery is the current one in the the works. Heh.

  4. I have given you an award! xo

  5. It depends where we are. I have used the threat of leaving and had to follow through. It was not pleasant. Imagine carrying kicking and screaming 3 year old and pushing a stroller at the same time. Then trying to get her into her car seat took ten minutes. So clearly I am not the expert on this topic.
    Good luck and I am looking forward to reading about your results.

  6. I know i'm not looking fwd to the toddler years with twins. It's been 9 years since I had to deal with a toddler. Especially if one is behaved and the other one isnt. If it was just one. I would remove them and leave but thats unfair when you have 2. My daughter use to do that. I learned not to react to it. I would calmly take her home or safe place. In a way put her in a timeout. Once she calm down than we would talk. Afterawhile it stop thank goodness. Who knows whats going to happen with two. lol Good luck and remember the stage doesn't last forever...even when it feels like it. lol You might have to give me that same advice back to me. lol

  7. I got caught up writing the comment. I forgot to tell you. Im offering you the Sunshine Award. I don't know if you already have it but this blog deserves it...

  8. This is great advice! We're starting to try and "train our almost one-year-old to stop biting and turning the TV on and off (among other things).

  9. Hi,
    I am following you from MBC.