Tuesday, September 15, 2009


For every time out Amaya goes in, there have to be at least 10 put-her-back-in-time-outs.

There is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and then there is an attempt at a break out.

After finding her in Minami's gum stash (I would throw it away if I could) for the 2nd time today (and the 30th time in 3 days), I said, AGAIN, that she was in time out (a punishment she's familiar with for this particular action).

20 seconds after I put her in time out, she is getting out. Even though I am standing right there to put her back in.

After 5 times of putting her back in, I go to the kitchen to get a drink of water, and I hear the door swinging open. I run through the back door and intercept her on her way back to Pam's.

She screams, cries, tries to throw herself on the floor. I put her back in time out. I have to put her back in time out about 10 more times. Finally I just HOLD her there.

Once she is in time out for a total of 2 minutes in one sitting (well, holding), we talk about why she's in time out. Then I tell her that she is not allowed to go to Pam's house any more today, because I can't trust her to stay out of the gum stash.

She cries. She attempts break out about 2 minutes later. She gets all the way to Pam's back door before I can nab her. Back in time out we go. 10 more times.

She has definitely developed this pattern lately of going straight to the worst level. When I announce, "Dinnertime!" she flops on the floor and cries with all her might that "I! Don't! Want! Dinnnnner!"

I cannot keep her in my house these days. She refuses to stay at home. She wants to play with whatever and whoever is not at our house. No matter what game or book I try to bribe her with she is out the door and gone, all the time. If I want her to come back I have to drag her home and stand by the door at all times. She has an aversion to our walls. Of course, with everyone at Pam's house, she is perfectly pleasant. She even answers the phone and chats.

I'm really really ready for the even more terrible threes to be over. I just hope that 4 is not even worse. Or 13 for that matter.

What Would You Do?


Unknown said...

I spank Aaron. Is that bad? Especially when he tries to escape or play with the things that are close to the corner, like the bike pump, shoes or curtain. But then he just cries and cries and puts his face in the corner. I don't think he really gets it though. Maybe you should do another punishment instead of the corner...or...I wish I had more ideas that would actually work for Amaya. I'll get back to you.

Rachel Plunkett said...

Hi Mariko, Sneaky girl:) EVERYONE'S kids are better with other people. It infuriating. aToday my lovely number 2 threw himself on the floor of Foodland because I wouldn't buy him candy... twice. Gotta love him (right???) Anyways, I say strength in numbers. Maybe ask people at Pam's house to help. If she is escaping to Pam's house when she is in timeout, maybe ask Pam to say she cannot come over until she has timeout without getting up. It might even help to have someone else walk her to timeout. Does your hubby do timeout too? Does it work for him? I think my kids just tune me out most of the time. I do use the oven timer sometimes to signal time for bed. Maybe that could work for timeout. (Saw that one Supper Nanny:)

Sylvia Louise said...

My sister uses hot sauce. If the kids are being real bad and not listening, they get a little Tabasco on the tongue.

Eva said...

A high lock on the doors? If Pam would let you, of course. Maybe if it wasn't an option to go out without your permission it might diffuse the situation. I don't know! That's just the first thing I thought of. That's a tough one. Not looking forward to the defiant stage. Just remember you're a great mom, and teacher for that matter.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

i would stop doing time outs. It's obviously more work thank it's worth.

Masayuki said...

Here's what you do.

Buy plane tickets for Amanda and me to come to Hawaii.

Pay me 12 dollars an hour and give us a place to live and I'll guard that door 24/7. (Except holidays, past 8:30pm, on weekends, and when something really good is on TV or at the movies)

Problem solved.

Robbie said...

Call me up! I'll come watch her and follow her around while you do what you need to do. And I agree with Da that there must be a better way than time-outs for your little cutie. We just have to figure out what it is! :)

ashley said...

straight jacket?

Metta said...

My first thought? Ask if you can put the gum stash at Pams in some place where Amaya cannot get to it. Just put it out of her reach, and maybe in a different place that she doesn't know about. If Minami has to ask for a piece of gum instead of reaching her hands in, that seems like a fine adjustment. Take away the reward, and this struggle.

Also, I wonder if you could just let her run, and somehow keep an eye on her (or get a neighborhood watch going and call your neighbor to tell her that Amaya is on her way over). I think that timeout may not be working because it is happening way too often to the point where it's just... too much. It seems like there is a power in reacting differently to kid's behavior... like it is at that point where something can change. Let her run.

cailin said...

Ummmm...I like Meta's idea. And the lock. And the straightjacket. Kidding. I really don't know. I feel like your limited space if probably a big issue for such an active girl. It would be great if she could have her own space that was special. Definitely get Pammy to reinforce your discipline methods.

Mariko said...

It's interesting to see the difference between styles here. :)

It would be pretty useless to get rid of the gum stash. There are stashes of candy in the girls' rooms, in cookie jars, bags left randomly on the counter... Basically, if Amaya doesn't get used to the idea that she can't have those things, the only thing stopping her from getting her into a stash is constant supervision. She's learned that a stash at our house is not okay to touch.

Amaya does have her own room. A place she plays absolutely ZERO percent of the time. When I get home in the afternoon I will offer to play in there with her and sometimes "force" her to by getting things out, etc. But the second she hears something going on over at Pammy's, she wants out. She does have to ask permission, but she will find some moment to break away if I say no. I'm okay with her being over there, just not into things she isn't allowed to touch. If I put a lock up high it would solve the problem until she figured out how to get the chair over there. She is so insistent on getting out that there's not much way to contain her intention. She has a special place to play. It's called Pammy's House. She's does wander to other people's houses, but that's not okay with me. People aren't home and she gets herself down the street while I'm busy looking in every room on our compound.

She will basically ONLY play with me if A) no one is around and B) if she has just woken up from a nap and there is no apparent noise outside yet. She is usually a perfect angel if I take her out. So usually I will plan errands to do so I can spend time with her without worrying about trying to contain her. I know. You're thinking, Why would you take this kid to the store? But she is so much better there (unless I let her out of the shopping cart, and then it's the same problem. So I never do unless I am only buying ONE thing.)

I've considered having a tracking device implanted. Seriously. They do it to dogs now.

I do sometimes follow her. She doesn't want me involved in that though. Last night Jake and I were both over at Pam's and she went home. She basically wants to leave at all times from any room where she feels she is being supervised. So usually my tactic is "How many minutes has it been since I have seen Amaya?" And then go searching. She does not answer when called. Even if I am standing in Pam's bedroom saying, "Amaya! Where are you?" and she's in the bathroom. And believe me. When we play REAL hide and go seek she is a terrible hider.

Anyway, I like the straight jacket idea. When she was a baby (through 1 years old), she could only sleep after struggling against being swaddled like a straight jacket.

TABASCO! Yowch. I am actually very interested in her liking spicy foods. So that could backfire.

Jake does time out. Same problems if he has to actually give them. But she is at her worst when I have her in the late afternoon because she is tired (but I don't really give her naps all the time because of her sleeping problems.)

Amaya is affected zero by spanking. She cries for about 2 seconds but it doesn't work. It's about as effective as time out for me. I only use it to convey seriousness, which she doesn't understand. If you try to explain seriousness to her her eyes dart all over the place and she says "Ok" and nods her head and then runs to do it again.

I probably will have to stop doing time outs. I think you're right about that.

If I could afford you, Kegan, I could afford a house. Which I can't. When I win the lottery...

Mariko said...

Oh wait. She does play in her room. When someone else is over.

Rachel Plunkett said...

Hi Mariko, I used to run away when I was her age. Once the police brought me home in the police car(in my underwear. I was about 1/2 mile away and the other time I was found about a mile away from my house. My mom installed locks high on the door. Really high. Just have another baby so she has someone to play with... in her room... :) (Joking:)

Ann (Healthy Tasty Chow) said...

Oh my gosh, your blog is awesome! It's going in my reader right now!!! I feel like this every day and would love others' advice - it's nice to see it all on here, that's great:) By the way...I added a little something to that bit on baby formula - I sure hope nobody would actually take that literally and skip out on formula, yikes!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh my goodness! That is so familiar. I had no control over my children when we lived in the townhouses. There are so many people to go out and play with. And it's so warm and inviting to go out and play!

GOOD LUCK! That's all I have to say!