My oldest son’s second year of life has been very exciting yet very frustrating time of year…for me. This is the year when he started talking in clear sentences, using the potty on his own, and becoming very independent in his thinking. This is also the year of temper tantrums, the constant use of the word “no”, and the year that he’s test boundaries. The “Let me see how much I can get away with” type of year.
I noticed my oldest testing boundaries before his second year of life e.g. touching things that he’s not suppose to or climbing things his not suppose to. Usually, I would say” Get down” or “Get off” or “Stop doing this or Stop doing that” and he would do it. Lately, I would have to say these words two or three times with the added words “now or right now” afterwards. When it gets to the point where he just mimics what I say and not doing what I say, that’s when I put him in time out. I put him in time out for about a couple of minutes. He would cry. I would wait until he calms down then tell him what he did then let him go by his business.
My son came up with a brilliant plan to get out of time outs: He uses the “potty” excuse. At first, I thought that he had to go potty. I didn’t want him to go on himself so I would let him go to the potty. He would take too long at the potty than normal and when I find out what he’s up to, he’s putting his hands and or foot in the toilet or putting toilet paper in the toilet or pretending to wash his hands…stalling as to hope that I would forget the time out that I have given him. Sometimes he comes back from the potty and would go back and play like nothings happened. Then he would do what he was doing to get into time out in the first place or something similar activity that I don’t want him to do. I didn’t realize that he was trying to get out of time out because I was so focus on him not peeing or pooping on himself. I thought to myself. I said “Self. what is the worse could happen; that he will pee or poop himself and I just would have to clean it up right?” Sometimes after the time outs, he really had to potty and I would feel bad that he held his pee or poop for the two minutes or so. But what if he’s bluffing? I was playing with a pint size poker player that knows the cards the house would fold on even if he only had a pair in his hands.
So today, I was doing tummy time with my youngest son in his room. Sometimes my youngest son would get frustrated and starts to cry trying to do a push up. When my youngest starts to cry, my oldest join in and pretend to cry to outcry his baby brother. Then he start kicking his legs like my youngest would do to straighten his back to help him do the push up. My oldest at this time was screaming and crying more than my youngest and it was getting on my nerves. I know my oldest was trying to get attention but I just wasn’t in the mood to entertain his shenanigans so I sternly said, “Go to your room, I’ll tell you when to come back in.” So this is my time out, sending him to his home. Hey, that’s how they did back in the day. Not even a minute into the “time out”, he’s whining “Go Potty, Go Potty.” I ignored him for a minute, and then I thought to myself, “What if he really has to go?” So I compromised. I told him to go potty. As soon as he went potty, he tried to come back into his brother’s room. I told him to go back in his room until I’m done with tummy time with his brother. He went back into his room crying or should I say whining a little because I think he didn’t get his way. I waited a few minutes later after he stops to tell him to come back into the room.
“Brilliant!” I thought to myself. I figured that as long as I still continue the time out that my oldest wouldn’t think that he was getting out of it. I know he’s going to try it again to see if I bend but if I keep being consistent so he’ll know not to try that hand again. Until he finds a stronger suit to play next time.