Sunday, May 29, 2011

Woobie timeout

Nathaniel has a favorite blue blanket that he calls "woobie." It appears the name comes from the movie "Mr. Mom," in which a child call his blanket by the same name. Michelle started calling Nathaniel's blanket "woobie," we think, and the name stuck. Just as many people call a pacifier a "binky," do a lot of parents also call children's favorite blankets "woobies?"

In any event, that's not really the point of this tale. In about the last two months, we've introduced Nathaniel to the concept of "timeout," which, as every parent knows, is the equivalent of the nuclear option to disciplining young children, provided you don't include force in your repertoire. Michelle says she's used timeout on Natty Lou about three times, and I'm about the same. So, we haven't employed it often, and I think that's a good thing. Just like the nuclear option, the use of timeout is effective more as a deterrent; the more frequently it is used, the less potent it is. At least that's how I view it.

Nathaniel has become really upset the times we have used timeout on him. One time, Nathaniel was pretty strung out from his day at daycare and took issue with me paying attention to Isaiah, even though all I was doing was carrying the car seat to a spot where I get Isaiah out of it. Natty whapped me on the butt, not hard, mind you, but he did it. When I whirled around, he had this kind of satisfied smirk on his face, like "Now I've got your attention!"

Oh, yes, you did, my boy. I picked him up, told him he was in timeout for hitting, and marched him upstairs. The poor little bugger, already pooped from his day, burst out into a torrent of tears and wailing. It was heartbreaking and comical at the same time.

As I said, this has happened pretty rarely, and we try hard not to use timeout as a threat, either, again because it would dilute it. The message has gotten through, though. We know this, because Nathaniel put his woobie in timeout the other morning.

He came downstairs and told mommy, "Woobie hit me."
Michelle said, "Oh, no!"
Nathaniel then said, "He goes in timeout" and promptly marched the poor blue rag upstairs to his room. He returned without him.

No doubt woobie was crying.

A little later, Michelle asked, "Is woobie still in timeout?"
And Nathaniel said, "No, he's nice," and went upstairs to fetch him.

Woobie had learned his lesson.

After Nathaniel had come back downstairs, he was holding woobie and slapped himself with the blanket. He then said, "Woobie hit me." Then he held woobie and looked at him sternly, and said, "No, woobie, no hitting. You're in timeout." And he marched him back upstairs.

Several hours later, Michelle was in Nathaniel's room and saw woobie.

It was in the hamper.

1 comment:

Leeann said...

This is one of the cutest things I have ever read in my life. I love the name "Woobie" and I love Nathaniel!