That's Not Fair

>> Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It was Samantha’s turn for a Time Out.

When the girls sit in the chair, I pretend to busy myself by cleaning in a nearby location. This tactical maneuver enables me to see when they get out of the chair (which is inevitable) and I can make a swift butt-to-chair replacement.

Both of my girls are natural negotiators and use time spent in T.O. to polish their skills. It’s not uncommon to hear:

“Mommy, you hurt my feelings!”

“Grown-ups need to listen to kids, too!”

“I’m sooo hungry!”

Yea, they’re that good -- well on their way to becoming professional manipulators. But Samantha, yesterday... well, that was too much. It’s possible she may have won.

I put her in the chair and set the timer. She cried as usual. “I don’t want to be in Time Out! I wanna get out!” This is standard T.O. ranting and I was ready for it. This is usually what they yell prior to their first escape attempt.

After I put her back in the chair, Samantha pulled out all the stops, however. At the top of her lungs, she cried as though her heart was breaking, “Mommy! I love you so much! I LOVE you SO MUCH! Mommy! MOMMY! I love you SOOO MUCH!”

Holy cow! That’s not fair. How am I suppose to punish that? After wailing like a jilted lover for half a minute, she yelled, “Mommy? Where are you? I can’t see you! I love you SO MUCH!”

She couldn’t see me anymore because I was holding my head and trying not to have a complete breakdown. It took every ounce of parenting willpower and a good dose of Super Nanny mental flashbacks to resist running in there, taking her into my arms and professing, “I’ll never, ever, put you in time out ever again. I LOVE YOU, TOO! You’re the light of my life, sweet baby!”

“Well, clearly she didn’t want to be in time out,” said Michael.

Yes, clearly.

But I wasn’t prepared. You’re not my friend, Mommy. I hate you, Mommy. I wanna cut off your head and feed it to the cat, Mommy. This I can handle. But gut-wrenching professions of love. Nope, can’t handle it.

So Samantha, next time you decide to be mean, pinch your mommy or knock your sister's project onto the floor on purpose and then refuse to pick it up and say you're sorry, I may be so full of your love that I’ll be unable to lift you into the Time Out chair. And when you’re 35 and still living at home or in jail because I didn’t have the cajones to punish you properly, just remember: you love me sooo much.

But, if by some miracle from the parenting Gods I manage to punish you anyway, just remember this: I love you sooo much, too.

Either way, you’re the light of my life, sweet baby.

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