As a parent, disciple is a tough thing to figure out. Trying to match the punishment to the offense is complicated and I typically take the easy way out with “Go to your room. You’re getting a Time Out.” Afterwards, I usually mumble something under my breath like, “I wish someone would give me a time out.” And then it dawned on me – I’m going to let my son give me a time out!!
I waited until the next time Garrett was frustrated with me and then I offered, “Should I get a time out?” I saw his 3 year old mind explode. “Yes!” he exclaimed. “You get a time out! You go to MY room.” That wasn’t an option I was expecting, but I decided to go with it.
With a mixture of anger and laughter, Garrett grabbed my hand and marched me into his room (much like I’ve done to him many times.) He then turned to me and yelled something that sounded like, ”ARGH ARGH BLAH BA MOMMY GARAGE YOU!!” and then he slammed the door shut. Finally, I had a few minutes of peace and quiet all to myself. I took the stuffed animal off his rocker, sat in the chair, laid the stuffed animal across my lap, and then closed my eyed.
Thirty seconds later, the door opened. He made eye contact with me and then looked down to see that I was “playing” with Chica The Chicken. He ran over and yanked it away while yelling, “NO TOYS.” Garrett stormed out with the stuffed animal and slammed the door shut again. At that point, I knew exactly how to aggravate him!
I grabbed another stuffed animal and waited. Again, he walked into his room to check on me. He looked down, saw that I was “playing” with another toy, and he angrily yanked it away from me again while yelling, “NO TOYS!” We repeated this cycle over and over and over until Garrett realized that I was messing with him and then he thought it was hilarious. For the rest of the afternoon, we ran around the house and played other games to amuse ourselves.
However, at some point I wondered, “Gee – where did he put all the toys he took away from me?” And then I found this:
At first, I thought it was hilarious to see how all of the toys he had taken away from me had accrued. And then, I had a terrible flashback to being a child and having my toys taken away from me only to discover them weeks later tucked away in my parents’ closet.
What was supposed to be a fun game with Garrett almost sent me into therapy over my own childhood!