time out

our sweet little bird is getting a bit demanding and sassy lately.  usually, it's simply a reminder to say please or thank you and we are good to go.  channing is really great about handling her emotions and talking about what is bothering her. however, yesterday played out a bit differently.  we were eating lunch and channing would not stop throwing around her fork or her cup and we had multiple spills.  i am pretty relaxed about most "rules" in this house except for when they come to sleep and being polite at the dinner table.  we've been working with channing for awhile now to place her fork on her plate in between bites and not "play" with her cup (which always results in milk being splattered across the kitchen cabinets).  we also don't bang on the table or kick at the table legs which results in everyone's drinks and food spilling.  we say please and thank you. we also laugh and talk and listen to music.  we enjoy our meals and have fun...but we are also polite about it.  

anyway, back to yesterday...i had asked channing 4 times to please stop swinging her fork around (which is an actual adult metal fork, because she eats well with it and wants to feel like a big girl.) which resulted in food flinging across the room and finally, a scratch across her cheek.  i calmly asked if she wanted to be put in a time out, since she wasn't listening to me when i asked her to stop.  she said "yes". i asked if she knew what time out meant.  she said "what?" with her little hands up in the air.  i told her it was something that happened when we weren't behaving well and we needed to take a break. i explained that in time out, we didn't play or talk.  it is meant to be a time of quiet and to take a break from whatever we were having trouble with, until we were ready to join back in the activity.  it was not a reward.  


i offered her one more chance to eat politely. she spit out her food and threw her fork on the floor and gave the table a couple of good hard kicks.  i picked her up out of her high chair and sat her in the corner of the kitchen, at the top of the stairs, sat down next to her and said "you need to take a time out.  you will sit here quietly until mama says you are through.  do you understand?" she began to softly cry.  i felt my heart break.  but, i held my ground.  

i sat at the table just a few feet away from her, with my back to her and listened to her softly crying.  i cried too.  i looked over my shoulder to see her sweet little chubby fingers wiping her tears away.  my heart broke a little more and i cried a bit harder.  i am a firm believer in setting boundaries and being consistent but man o man, that was one tough moment for me.  

after about 2 minutes, i went over to her and sat down on the floor.  i asked her if she was ready to join me back at the table.  she shook her head yes and gave me the biggest bear hug there ever was.  oh, this girl.  i love her with everything i have.  she is growing into such an amazing, sweet, thoughtful, curious and happy girl.  even when she's difficult, it doesn't last for long.  let's just hope our consistency keeps us from having too many time outs!