Outsmarted, Parenting Gone Awry

Hello Minnie, is Clint there?

As I stated in a previous post, discipline is not my forte. Not because I’m a softie or a pushover, because I’m not. I have very little tolerance for blatant disobedience or disrespect. The problem is that I have no convincing authority. I channel Clint Eastwood and get Minnie Mouse.

Before Sean turned two and he was starting to test the boundaries, I would sometimes put him in his playpen for time out. He would stand in it and chat me up from across the room in Klingon. He would do a few Vaudeville skits. He would practice his chimpanzee imitation and wave his hands wildly over his head and make oo-oo-oo sounds. I tried various versions of time out but he didn’t quite get that he was being disciplined. In summary, I could stretch him out on a bed of nails and he would have a good time. But this should not surprise me because I was exactly the same way.

I went to a Catholic grade school where, in those days, they could get away with a lot in the name of discipline. Sitting quietly was not what I did best in second grade and at least once a day I was the recipient of Sr. Edwina’s creative correction. Sometimes I was sent into the “cloak room”. Now really — just the fact that they called it a cloak room tells you all you need to know. The good sister would put me in the cloak room and shut the door leaving me in the dark to contemplate my misdeeds. As I was repenting in earnest (snort) I would take the opportunity to try on a few coats, check the pockets, see what some of the kids had brought for lunch. When Sister was in a more psychologically abusive mood (rather than physically abusive) she would make me stand in the waste basket in front of the class. So that I would draw the correlation that I was trash? But (luckily) it was lost on me. I didn’t mind at all because, being a scavenger at heart, it was a gold mine! In second grade, I was the first person to come up with the idea of data mining.

We recently decided to try putting Sean in a corner to be consistent with what they do at pre-school. The other day when I sent him to the corner, he ran to it like it was the door to Chuck-E-Cheese. Either he is extremely compliant (not) or he doesn’t get it (likely) or my authority is completely ineffective and lost on him (extremely likely). As he was standing in the corner singing “Jesus Loves Me” he would periodically jump out and yell “Boo!” complete with a Broadway finish on one knee and both arms extended. All he needed was a top hat. I couldn’t resist that million dollar grin that is punctuated with the cutest little dimples ever. I violated the cardinal rule of parenting and I gave in to a chuckle.

Oh Clint Eastwood, where are you??

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