I decided to take a break from the house project blogs and write about bit about my current parenting dilemma.
The dreaded "D" word...
Let me give you a glimpse into what attempting to discipline looks like at my house:
Sawyer's newest and most favorite way to push my buttons is to let out a short and shrill scream, usually indicating he is upset with me because I said "no" to something. Now, my initial decision, as far as how to discipline him for this behavior, was to put him into our version of "time out" which basically means I put him in his crib, away from me, for 2 minutes. Then I go in, and we talk about why mommy put him in his crib, and he says he is sorry, I tell him I love him, you know the drill.
Up until about a week ago, the period of separation was a successful form of discipline. Sawyer did not enjoy being removed from the party that is our home and would react appropriately. Now, when he does something that he knows warrants a time-out, he smiles while in the midst of the said behavior and then, after saying, "na night," promptly walks himself to his room and stands by his crib waiting for me to put him inside.
Or better yet, if I get to him before he can start heading to his room on his own, as soon as I pick him up he says, "ready, set, go" and pumps his arms like we're tag teaming in a marathon.
Clearly this form of discipline is no longer affective. Yea.
Here's another one...
When I'm talking to him in my "listen kid" voice, Sawyer often attempts to avoid eye contact. When I give him the commonly used phrase of, "Look at my eyes," he puts the tip of his nose to the tip of mine and completely stares me down like he's my optometrist.
And how do you not crack up when your kids pull stuff like that?
All this to say, Tim and I are currently reading Dr. Dobsen's, Strong Willed Child and trying to memorize his advice. We are certainly not anti-spanking but, up till this point, have reserved it for dangerous behaviors or things that he simply cannot do again for his own safety or the safety of others. You know, like if he (hypothetically of course) were to climb up on the kitchen table, grab my car keys, head to the ONE outlet missing a cover and proceed to try to stick the key into the electrical outlet. He got a spanking for that. I mean, if he had done that, hypothetically of course, I would have spanked him.
I find myself praying for wisdom all day long. Each day is so different and each week seems to bring a new behavior I have to nip. At least I always have entertaining stories for parties. I'll end with the one I got to tell at MOPS yesterday (great first impression, I'm sure):
So Sawyer was standing with me as I was locking up the front door, and began heading to the car in the driveway. I opened up the drivers side door and put my purse on the seat. I saw Sawyer walk around the front of the car towards his door so I walked around the back to meet him half way. As I took 2.7 seconds to get to the other side of the car, I was surprised to find that Sawyer was not there. I took another 1.3 seconds to get to the front of the car only to find that Sawyer was not there either. Now I'm running laps around the car yelling for my child.
-Let me interrupt to paint a more accurate picture. Our street is in a state of construction as new homes are being built all the time. There are cement trucks, tractors, and pick-ups constantly driving in front of our house. Not the front yard where you want to lose your kid.-
Back to me running laps around my car...great mental picture, eh? I'm starting to panic and am in awe of Sawyer's ability to escape so quickly when a construction worker stops his truck in front of our house and yells, "He's sitting in the drivers seat." Yup. He had climbed up into the drivers seat and was looking at me like, "Get in the car mom, we're going to be late." Oh child of mine.
Like I said, they make for great party stories once my adrenaline has gone back to a healthy level.