So many days I feel like I'm barely treading water in this sea of motherhood, and some days I feel like I'm definitely drowning. But there are days when the stars align, all of the pieces fall into place, and I think, if only for a brief and fleeting moment, wow--maybe I'm getting the hang of this mommy thing after all.
When it comes to discipline and our two-year-old, most days I am hanging out at the bottom of the pool, but this week something changed. We had a new addition to our household: a timer. Not a digital beep...beep...beep...timer, but a ticktickticktickRIIIIIIINNNNNGGGG timer. I've used digital timers for a while now to help me keep track of, well, time, but I felt compelled to grab one of the rotary models while on a trip to Wal-Mart the other day. I believe it was divine intervention.
Time-outs are often laughable around here. I won't go into detail, but imagine those episodes of Super Nanny that involve time-outs, and it's not too far from our reality. There is something about the ticking timer, however, that has revolutionized the time-out in our household. We've used digital timers before, but most of the time we forget what's going on before the cute little beeps begin. Our son wasn't too impressed with it, either. Two days ago, we had a time-out worthy situation, and my son ran to the corner wailing. I wound the dial on our new timer, placed it on the bookshelf, and continued what I had been doing. After two minutes of high-pitched crying, a resounding RIIIIIINNNNNGGGG filled the air. My son abruptly stopped what he was doing and turned to look at me. I gave him the post-time-out talk and went into the other room. He followed me, a confused look on his face. "Mommy, time out?" He said. I responded, "Your time-out is done. The bell means it is done." He had a little conversation about the bells with himself, then seemed content to accept what had happened.
The remarkable thing happened the next day when we found ourselves in the corner again. I set the timer, he did his usual, and when the bell rang, he turned to me quietly, listened to me, and conversed with me about his actions. He then hugged me, apologized, and went off to play. Most importantly, he didn't repeat his time-out worthy behavior for the rest of the day. To quote Pam's friend Jody, "Holy Chicken Cacciatore!" This thing works!
But it doesn't just work for punishment discipline--at one point I needed our son to wait, and that is not something he is fond of doing. I set the timer, it ticked, then the bells rang. He waited. No whining, no taking matters into his own hands...he just waited. This little white plastic box of dials and gears is amazing.
So, I am happy to report that I have a new tool to use in my quest to train our son in the way he should go. Now if I could just figure out how to carry the ticking device around in my purse without attracting too much suspicious attention...
What about you? Do you have any amazing tools? I would love to hear about them!