Avelyn has taken to dumping whole bowls of soup on the floor at lunch time. She knows this is unacceptable and is just being a little turd about it. Last weekend she sent an entire bowl of chili plummeting to the already-caked-with-last-week’s-droppings floor below and I yanked her from her high chair, pointed to the splatter of red at my feet and said, “We don’t throw food. You need to have a time out in your room.”
I placed her in her crib and set the timer for two minutes. After the the seconds had ticked by, marked by her angry wailing, I went into her room and she collected her snivelling self and said, “Out?”
I said, “Mommy will take you out of your crib when you say sorry. Can you say sorry, Avelyn?”
She locked eyes with me, jutted out her bottom teeth in an angry underbite and grunted, “No.”
Oooo, that kid! I thought she was a little young to understand the concept of apologizing, but obviously not. It was clear she understood that she was supposed to say sorry, to express some remorse and realize that I am the boss, but she didn’t want to.
I explained, “Mommy will come back when you’re ready to say sorry.” Then I closed the door and left, set the timer for one minute and came back to try again. After her screaming abated I calmly asked if she was ready to say sorry and again she pulled out the underbite and said, “No.”
Again, I left. I came back, and left, and came back a total of seven times. SEVEN. I knew I had to win this war of the wills or it would come back to haunt me. After the seventh try she finally caved and grumbled, “Forry.” I took her out of her crib and she hasn’t dropped a bowl of food on the floor since.
This kid if giving me a run for my money, to say the least. I told my mom about this incident and she gasped, “Even you were never that bad at such an early age!” Great. Just what I was longing to hear.
The whole scenario reminded me of a time, many moons ago, when my little brother had done something mean to me and my parents made him stay in his room until he was ready to say sorry to me. It took him hours to finally muster the humility to apologize and when he did, he sauntered up to me and huffed, “SOR,” as though he wasn’t going to fully acknowledge his transgression with that final syllable. Little turd. It runs in the family, I guess.