As I’ve mentioned once or twice recently, Mandy seems to have been hitting the “terrible two” milestone ahead of schedule. She’s gotten to the point where if she’s denied anything, she’ll actually lie down on her stomach and flop aroudn, screaming and flailing her limbs. Sam never really did this, so it’s fascinating to watch. Some of Mandy’s shenanagains, though, have begun landing her in “time outs.” Most often this is for something like hitting her sister Sam, which I am convinced Sam subtly encourages yet remains something we can’t leave unanswered. But since Mandy seems to conveniently lose all her burgeoning verbal skills once she hears “Stand in the corner for two minues,” we’ve resorted to dumping her in the play pen prison while the kitchen timer counts down her sentence.
For either child, the time out routine always ends with our asking the parolee to apologize to the offended person, which as I mentioned is normally Sam. Of course, Mandy usually attempts to jump straight to this point since it signals the time when she gets to get out and resume her mischief, so as soon as we place her in the pen she starts sqawking “I’m sorry, sister” like a jail house snitch looking to say anything necessary to commute her sentence. The other night, though, I gave Mandy a time out after she gleefully scattered her dinner all over the kitchen table, floor, walls, and parts of the ceiling.
“I’m sorry, sister!” she said as soon as I deposited in the penalty box.
“Mandy,” I said, “You didn’t do anything to Sammy. You’re getting a time out because you scattered your dinner all over the place.”
Mandy blinked, looked up at me for a monent, then said, “I’m sorry …food?”
I gave her, of course, time off for amusing behavior. It’s how all my kids get out of their time outs, it seems.