Is that not how the song goes? Oh, well…
The point is I got really creative with discipline yesterday [mwahaha!!!]
You all know we don’t spank our kids for a myriad of reasons, the most notable of which is that it’s illegal for us. Of course now that we have Ophelia who has clearly been physically abused, we wouldn’t lift a hand to her or any child around her for fear of truama.
I haven’t had to “out-crazy” Simeon in a long time, praise the Lord!
Unfortunately, as soon as we resolve one inappropriate coping skill, another one crops up. All has been pretty quiet for a while. Simeon may speak in a hateful tone, or storm off to his room, both pretty healthy displays of displeasure.
But then Ophelia arrived. Ophelia came with all her own neurosis: hitting, biting, screeching like a pterodactyl, etc.
Simeon has been pretty patient with her, but yesterday he was angry at Leo and was hiding out in the kitchen. Ophelia made the mistake of being happy in life and walking past Simeon. He saw an easy place to lash out and when he thought I wasn’t looking, shoved her hard as he could. She, of course, fell head first into the door jamb.
Leo and I immediately sent him to time out, but his malicious intent required something more than the usual three minutes. We couldn’t very well leave him to sit in the hallway with no supper for the three hours before bedtime, though I did seriously consider that.
Finally, I had him identify the inappropriate behavior, apologize to all offended parties, and instructed him not to step out of arms reach of me the rest of the night. He did well at first.
He camped out on the kitchen rug while I worked, he sat next to me on the couch, he held my hand when I walked to the back of the house. Soon his wanderings led him farther and farther away. Before I knew what was happening, he was on the other side of our small kitchen, hitting Ophelia for breathing his air.
What now?! He was not five feet away from me!
That’s when genius struck. (Humble, huh?)
I sent Leo to the car for my hippy sling. Man, do I love that thing. There is nothing better than baby wearing. But I digress.
I told Simeon that since I couldn’t trust him to stand even five feet from me, he would have to be attached to my hip. Literally.
There he sat for the next 30 minutes. Sure it was a little uncomfortable for me, but I had pretty wide range of motion in my arms with him in the sling. And the support the sling provides keeps my back from aching.
The best part is, that while I was holding him so close to my heart, I couldn’t stay angry (a regular struggle I have) and neither could he. First we stood awkwardly in the kitchen, but eventually his head was resting on my shoulder while I absent-mindedly rubbed his back. By then end of the evening, we were belly laughing so hard I almost knocked us both over. It was a great experience. He was able to be removed from the situation and his anger.
We had a chance to focus on each other and mak peace. Something neither of us does particularly well if left to our own devices.
This morning he angrily shoved Ophelia then me so we had a chance to try it again. It wasn’t the same warm and fuzzy bonding experience we had last night, but the end results were the same. Simeon was given a chance to isolate from all temptation, and resting heart beat to heart beat has a magical way of melting anger.
I think for a while he’ll be given a choice: three minutes time out, or fifteen minutes with Mama [Monica]. I kind of hope he chooses the sling.