Which means he got his first time-out his week.
I'll admit, it was ugly. I've been watching SuperNanny for years now, anxious to know when the right time to discipline my child was, and when it happened, what I should do. I've been quizzing friends and family members about their own styles of discipline, effectiveness, and execution. (of the discipline, not the child).
I know that raising a child is akin to breaking in a wild mustang. I understand the whole toddler brain thing. Heck, my kid peed on my foot the other week and I passed it off as "just normal development" since I thought maybe he was aiming for the potty and not my bare foot that just happened to be next to the potty. (so gross, let me tell you.) I'm trying really hard to not say "no" all the time, as I fear the day he will learn it's meaning and throw it back in my face.
So the day of Scotty's attempted first time-out (Monday) found the small Bear attached to my leg via his teeth. Not a good thing. Scotty is convinced that if I'm not paying attention to him (i.e. I'm washing the dishes, picking up toys, talking on the phone, etc), he needs to sink his little fangs into my leg to remind me of his presence. This is 1.) painful and 2.) horribly ineffective. Because it simply serves to make me angry. So after the third bite of the day, at which point I admonished him with the completely useless statement, "Momma is DONE! DONE! STOP BITING ME!" I slammed into the garage in search of the Pack'n'play. Because I was done. I was done with talking to him, getting down to his eye level, only have him giggle in my face, thinking this behavior is a game.
The Bear was about to meet the long arm of the law.
Despite my recent fits of organization of the past weeks, I finally located the box between some gardening supplies and the highchair. I slammed back into the house, promptly knocked over the Bear, who was standing right by the door (oops), and began throwing items out of the box in an effort to set up the damn PnP as quickly as possible. (this was after I picked Scotty up, kissed him, and made sure nothing was bleeding.)
And I found...no PnP. In the box was a bassinet, some long pipes, and the cover for the PnP. But no PnP.
You can't have a time-out without an appropriate time-out area.
So instead, I was resigned to simply kneeling to his level, asking him to make eye contact with me, and saying for the 300th time that day, "No bite! NO BITE!"
No surprise here; the kid giggled. And lunged for my arm. Game on!
Thankfully, Brian came home, I left, and order was restored. For the night.
The next day, after searching high and low for this PnP, I finally found it in the upstairs closet of a bedroom we don't use. Okay, whatever. I was just glad I didn't sell it in my garage firesale of last week. So I set it up pre-emptively, and tried to not look like a nice snack for a hungry Bear.
By late afternoon, he bit.
I don't even remember what I was doing, but he was clearly not happy with me. So he bit. Hard.
And I hauled his little Bear butt to the PnP, told him sternly, "No biting!" and set the kitchen clock for one minute.
He was wailing even before I put him in the PnP, but the screams only grew louder as the seconds ticked down.
One excruciatingly long minute.
The timer dinged just as I was starting to second guess myself, worried I have cause trauma to my young son as a result of my parenting incompetence. Argh, the torture.
The good news?
When Scotty tried to bite me again (literally 30 seconds after being released from the first time-out), I was lot more stoic about this time-out. No pacing. No wavering. Just resolve. He. Will. Not. Bite. This is a basic social skill, and as his mother, I need to make sure he knows this. Period.
The bad news? I felt like crap. Yes, he was not etching a prison tattoo on his heel when I came to release him, and no, he did not appear worse for the wear, but did he get it? I have no idea. I just know that I trust Jo Frost and my child can not be labeled a biter.
On Wednesday, we had zero timeouts.
I'm happy to say that today, Thursday, we had only two time-outs, but they were for pinching (ouch!) and not biting. After the second time-out, I noticed a significant change in his demeanor; he was much quieter, much more gentle, and more cognizant. Which is a good thing, considering I have bruises on my chest from his powerful fingers.
So we are surviving. This time-out stuff is hard, but I know I need to be consistent. The guidelines are clear, and the Bear needs to obey...or else it's hard times for him. I half expect to see him sitting in the PnP one day with a metal cup, strumming the bars, singing in a deep baritone, "Nobody knows...the trouble I've seen..."
Yeah, well, nobody has seen the bite marks on Momma's legs. So deal with it.
Update: this blog entry was written on Thursday night. I'm happy to report Scotty earned zero time-outs on Friday morning. There was a brief incident that may have been a pinch, but I'm going to write it off as an over-enthusiastic pat on my leg. Let's keep our fingers crossed his good behavior continues.