Supernanny is on the Style Network every day now, and I tune in every day despite how terrified that show makes me. No. Seriously. Before I had Kendall I used to laugh my ass off at that show, now it truly, deeply, emotionally disturbs me, and yet, I can’t look away. It’s not so much the episodes that feature the dimwit parents who are so obviously screwing up their kids that get to me, it’s the ones where the parents appear to have just lost their way. It seems like they started out trying, but just… gave up. Those are the ones that haunt me in my dreams because, in all honesty, that could be me one day.
So I’m taking this whole raising a button-pushing toddler to become a well-behaved child thing pretty seriously. I feel like I’ve got to jump ahead of him, be ready for the first big tantrum in the mall, be ready for the first time he bites someone. I refuse to be the parent who gets so overwhelmed they just give up. I can’t have “that kid” that haunts me in my dreams. DO NOT WANT. Yes, I get that no matter how much you discipline or re-direct, you can never avoid these meltdowns. It’s not that I’m looking to avoid them, just preparing my arsenal so that I’m capable of dealing with them.
The problem is, well, nothing I’m trying is really working. First I bought Happiest Toddler on the Block by one of my true loves, Dr. Harvey Karp (who taught me how to get my colicky baby to sleep with his first book, Happiest Baby on the Block). Everything was going well until I actually tried to speak Toddlerease (basically you are speaking to your kid like a caveman… no, really, that’s exactly how it’s described) to Kendall when he broke down and had a little fit when I would not let him have the box of fruit leathers I tossed in the cart at Target.
“Kendall’s MAD. Kendall wants snacks NOW! Kendall wants that box. right. now!”
::man pushing cart coming toward me looks at me with eyebrows raised::
::flash smile to man who thinks I’m crazy::
::fight back uncontrollable urge to laugh out loud at myself::
Kendall was still fussing for the box, and I know Dr. Karp says that at that point I needed to be a little louder, a little more enthusiastic with the Toddlerease, but I just… I just couldn’t demoralize myself like that in public anymore, at least not with a straight face. I handed Kendall the box of fruit leathers and went straight to checkout. FAIL.
Okay, clearly we are going to need to try another method. So I fell back on the mental notes I’ve been taking from Supernanny and decided to designate a “naughty corner” for timeouts. That’s right. I will be putting my 16 month old in timeout, and before you go laughing at me for being so ridiculous (just like I laughed at myself for contemplating something so ridiculous), I will just say that I’ve heard from many moms that they can actually get their 16 month olds to sit in time out for up to a minute. They insist it just takes persistence the first few times. You have to keep walking them back to the timeout spot you’ve designated until they learn to stay where you put them.
After climbing up on the spinny office chair for the 50th time in one day last week (this was pre big amazing gate called George), I decided it was the perfect time to try out timeout. I warned him three times that if he climbed on the chair he would go to timeout, and he laughed at me and ignored me each time so I took him to the corner.
“Kendall, you are in TIME OUT because you didn’t listen to mommy and.. Hey! Come back here!”
::Kendall runs away, cackling like an evil warlock, looking over his shoulder with glee::
::chase him, bring him back, start over::
“Kendall you are in timeout because you didn’t listen to mommy and climbed on the dangerous chair,” said, really, really fast this time with one arm sticking out so as to stop him from running off again.
He tried to break free probably three more times. Then, just as I was trying to tell him that I would let him out if he stayed in the corner for 10 seconds, Kanye West’s “Heartless” started playing over surround sound and Kendall breaks out in a serious rump shake. I’m talking some straight up clubbing moves. I swear, I really don’t know where he got it… really.
He gives me this look as if to say, “Whazzup mom? A’ight. I’ll just stay here and get low, low, low, low.” Operation Be a Serious Mommy who Means Business flew right out the window as I laughed so hard I literally had to cross my legs to keep myself from peeing, all the while trying to get out, “Kendall…no… I’m SERIOUS… no… stop…timeout…be…what are you doing?!”
But, he DID stay there and dance for at least 10 seconds, and when it was over he totally forgot about the spinny chair and instead ran to the stereo and signed “please” while saying “boo boom!” (which meant that he desperately wanted to break it down to some “Boom Boom Pow”)… so that counts, yes?
I’m thinking I just need to throw a disco ball over the “naughty corner” and maybe pimp it out with some black lights. I could really be on to something here, OR I could just be setting myself up for a really embarrassing visit from Supernanny. This is probably also a sign that I should select my Ipod playlists more carefully when it’s not naptime.
Kendall is 16 months and one week old