May 1, 2011

Time Out

Posted in If You Need a Good Laugh, Life's Little Moments tagged , , , at 9:52 am by autismmommytherapist

“I’m NOT going to time-out!  YOU didn’t go to time-out!” my four-year-old screams at me, enraged I have the audacity to imply it’s been two hours since his last visit to the potty, and he really should try to go. After presenting said request to him, he then proceeded to run gleefully throughout the first floor of our home (and trust me, he’s often faster than me now), screaming my favorite retort, “And you can’t MAKE ME!”.

Hah. You may be four decades younger than me little man, but I will SO win this one.

I scoop up my writhing, wriggling pre-schooler into my arms and carry him to his “naughty chair”, all the while fending off his well-aimed and protesting feet, ignoring his cries of “it’s not FAIR!” (hell, what is?). He slumps into his seat, crosses his arms and delivers his infamous “harrumph!”, and continues his previous diatribe which indicates he’s certain I never went to time-out as a child, so he shouldn’t have to either.

Bad argument, kiddo. I’ve got Grandma on speed dial.

I march back into the kitchen, intensely annoyed at how this afternoon is proceeding (why am I home with him again?), and grab the phone from its cradle. I silently implore my mother to pick up her cell, and thankfully, she does. Without noticing, I’ve somehow traveled back to the living room where my stubborn son awaits me, so I have to hope that my mom will understand the implied message I’m about to impart to her.

She does. Clearly, Grandma’s still got it.

I tell Zach as the phone rings that I’m calling my mom to ask her if she ever put me in time-out, and he grows suddenly still, remembering not only that once his mommy was actually a little girl (a long, long, long, time ago), but that his Grandma is also her mother. He sits up straighter, back pressing into the long black spokes bookended by seat and headrest, and actually unfolds his arms. He remains a non-believer, but at least he is willing to hear this out.

“Hi Grandma”, I say after our connection is made. “I just called to tell you Zachary is not listening today, so I put him in time-out. I told him I used to go to time-out too when I didn’t listen, and he doesn’t believe me. Please tell him it’s true.”

I feel my mother’s pause through the phone wires as she momentarily struggles to remember if she ever actually disciplined me (I was the disgustingly well-behaved oldest child who engaged in more subtle forms of rebellion, the opposite of her younger brother who should have been required to pay rent for the naughty corner). She rallies however and improvises, “Yes Zach, sometimes your mommy didn’t listen when she was a little girl, and I sent her to time-out so she could think about what she did wrong.”

I look down at my son, and see the wheels spinning in his brain. HIS mommy was bad sometimes too?  Grandma has just rocked his world.

He asks to speak to her personally (speaker phone just won’t do), repeats my question verbatim, and seems to finally accept the truth. After my mother admonishes him to be a good boy he hands the phone back to me, I thank her, and disengage the call.

Zach looks me in the eyes and says “I’m sorry”, which when coupled with eye contact is the only time I know for certain he really means it. We reenact our traditional accompanying hug and kiss, and I release him from the constraints of his chair, with the reminder he is to head to the bathroom immediately, all of his own accord. Thankfully he does, because I’m certain I’ve strained something from my exertions around the house and I don’t have it in me to chase him again. Once on the potty Nemo is placated (yup, told my youngest that this funny orange fish likes drinking his pee, and I’m proud of it) and Zach’s impending accident is averted. I smile, because despite the fine sheen of sweat permeating the shirt I will now have to replace on my tired body, I’ve won this round. I’ve just been able to employ vocabulary, history, and rational thought to explain to my son he is indeed required to listen to his mama, and eventually, he complied. For once, with one of my kids, we were actually able to work a conflict through together.

And as far as I’m concerned, I’m keeping Grandma on speed dial.


  1. Mom said,

    And grandma says “No problem–glad to help!”

  2. Shivon said,

    🙂 love it

  3. misifusa said,

    Good job!

  4. Ruth Ormsbee said,

    Hello: Loved this one Kim. I used this time-out for my boys even though they were 8 & l0 when Uncle Bob and I were married. It works sometimes.
    Glad you Mom was close by. Take care have a good trip.
    Aunt Ruthie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: