Today in preschool Owen earned his first two “time-outs” of the year after refusing to come to his teachers for a diaper change. (He preferred to play and was loud and liberal with his use of the word “NO!”.)
I realized I haven’t been coaching Owen well for this moment since I generally tend to respond to Owen’s “no’s” in these sorts of situations with a matter-of-fact “Yep, it’s time to change your diaper” as I sweep him off his feet and offer him a book to look at while we both endure the chore. I don’t make him walk to me on his own.
So tonight at dinner we talked about why it’s important to listen to your teachers, who ALWAYS get to set the rules (more than moms, in my book), and who have to deal with 12 kids in one room who all need diapering in Owen’s case. Owen practiced saying “Okay, Miss Caroline, you can change my diaper” in a cheery voice and he sounded quite polite.
Will and I talked during Owen’s nap about how we can both model being polite and not shouting “No” around Owen at home. And at dinnertime Will started gloating about the fact that he hadn’t ever been put in timeout in preschool (I remember one less than glorious moment when he got that punishment for a far more heinous crime than Owen committed when he was also a strong-willed boy in a 2-year-old class, but I decided not to bring it up). Then looking into Harvey’s crate, which sits beneath our kitchen table, Will said, “I’m always good. I’m a lot better than Harvey.”
And it’s true. With his jumping and mouthing and generally destructive puppy habits, Harvey earns time-outs in his crate or outside about 15 times a day. They're survival time-outs for me; Harvey rarely learns from them.
Hopefully Owen will fare better.