When Monkey was 2 we tried a couple of times to use “time-outs.”  They didn’t go very smoothly and they felt like a monsterous waste of time.  Two minutes to two year old Monkey was like a decade, he simply could not sit still that long and therefore his timeouts became games of cat and mouse.  Which he enjoyed….sort of the exact opposite of what we wanted.  We gave up. 

Then last fall we went to an FX Conference in Connecticut where Tracy and Mouse discussed how to use time 0uts effectively for kids with FX.  If you haven’t seen the article, look here for their “Ten Rules of time-out.”  Duhdee really took the lead here because he does most of the day-to-day parenting while I work and he has found it to be very effective.  Umma gives warning after warning until she wants to scream…and never thinks of it.  At least that was how it went until this past vacation.

At home we live on the second floor.  The only time we use the stairs is when we are leaving or coming home.  Monkey would never think to play on those stairs.  At camp our bedroom is on the second floor.  We were up and down the stairs more times than I can count, each day.  Monkey was a big fan of walking up and down the stairs and we don’t restrict him from doing so when he needs to.  If he needs to go get a book from upstairs and bring it down, you won’t hear a peep out of us.  As he felt more comfortable navigating the stairs he started walking up and down them just to walk up and down them.  He responded well to verbal corrections however.

Then my aunt and uncle stopped by to visit.  New people meant he wanted to escape, so he would climb up the stairs then come back down to peek again.  He did this a couple times and we asked him to stop.  He continued doing it.  Duhdee stood up and physically redirected him a couple of times.  Monkey thought that was FUNNY!  He stood at the base of the stairs, looking at us, then he would smile and set his foot on the bottom stair.  As soon as he got either a verbal correction or as soon as Duhdee stood to guide him away he would bolt up the stairs.  Laughing. 

Finally, Umma had just about enough.  Duhdee left the room for a few minutes and Monkey started up with the stair nonsense again.  He was standing by the stairs giggling and I looked at him and said, “If you put your foot on that step, you are going in time-out.”  Immediately the smile disappeared.  He stood looking at me with the most incredulous expression on his face.  Everyone in the room was struggling to keep a straight face.  He maintained eye contact for a beat and then walked from the room giving me the stink-eye while calling out “Deee?!”  Once he was gone I broke down in giggles, it was comical really.  BUT it was also a breakthrough for both of us.  I know the threat of a time-out works.  He tested me the next morning and was, once again, incredulous at the threat and the fact that I followed through.  When the time-out was over, though, he did not go back to the behaivor.

Score one for Umma!

Monkey is a nature buff.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned a rather, uh, “interesting” fixation Monkey has developed.  It all started last summer when we first started potty training seriously.  We went to camp and sometimes we were not near a bathroom when nature called.  I improvised and found Monkey a bush or “tree” to utilize.  This probably sounds strange to many people but it is part of being a little boy and going to camp.  While my parent’s camp isn’t precisely in the middle of nowhere, you can definitely see it from there.  Really, there is just no one to see and the logging companies that own vast tracts of land up there will never know.  So, it’s fine!

Anyway, a couple of times while we were there last summer Monkey utilized trees in emergency situations.  The problem is that Monkey doesn’t see any difference between peeing on a tree in the midst of thousands of trees and very few humans and peeing on, say, the neighbor’s hosta in the midst of thousands of humans and very few trees.  Oops.  Last fall and this summer he would periodically drop his pants in the back yard (you turn your back for ONE second!) and pee on the nearest plantlife.

Over the winter there was just no chance for him to indulge but he did indicate a willingness to experiment indoors.  We’ve always told him to “keep it in the water” when he’s peeing…sometimes he was tempted to try to get a look at what he was doing in such a way that he could have…not exactly lost an eye but…ew.  SO, being a very good generalizer he would sometimes approach OTHER bodies of water with that look in his eye (and, yes, sometimes his pants around his ankles.)  For example, the dogs’ water dish.  NOT acceptable! 

Winter turned to spring and, FINALLY, summer.  Monkey continued his covert trips to the backyard shrubs despite our polite (yeah, right!) requests that he stop.   We took a trip to camp once again and found ourselves in a situation where he  had to be taken on a sanctioned trip to a local bush (6 people, 1 bathroom…it happens!) 

Since we have been home he has not ONCE pee’d on the bushes (or the neighbors’ hosta.)  We’ve been vigilent and made sure that he is escorted straight to the bathroom when he needs to go.   That’s the good news.

The bad news is that he is sneaky…and determined…aaaand able to open the back door that leads onto our second story porch.   He can’t quite reach the bushes from that location, but he sure tried. 

I think I need to apologize to all the neighbors who may have had to witness the event.  *Sigh*  I see some timeouts in his future…which reminds me of another great camp story for tomorrow.

The fall…

I mentioned last Friday that Monkey had a fall and then forgot to tell about it. Sorry for worrying anyone. Anywho, Monkey and Cupcake were outside playing in the backyard. Cupcake looks a bit like a cartoon character when she runs, she’s 2 so her arms and legs…heck, her whole body…looks out of control and about to crash with every step. She hardly ever does crash but this time she went down.

Monkey was right on her heels and tripped over her. If he put his hands straight out to catch himself he would have landed right on her so instead he tipped to the right and went down hard. Poor guy skinned up his knee and his elbow and then his head hit the cement walkway near the porch. He has a scratched and bruised chin and two (TWO!) fat and bloodied lips. He’s still got the skinned knee and elbow but he no longer looks like Angelina Jolie.

Of course, there was the OTHER fall at camp that I forgot to mention that left Monkey  with a very large bloody and bruised patch on his back just before we came home.  He still has a discolored area on his back from that too.  *Sigh*  that boy.

Ah, vacation!

I promised pictures and I shall deliver…

Any vacation that includes my dad, includes lots of this…

It also now includes some of this:

Monkey is a fan, he’s a little heavy on the throttle though so you do have to be careful to not stand too close to the rear of the boat…

Since we had experienced 40 days and 40 nights of rain (pretty close, seriously) there was a little bit of this involved in vacation too…

Both Duhdee and Monkey enjoy that, so it was a win-win situation.  What about that large pile of wood, you ask?  That turned into this:

At first Monkey was content to supervise…no, not really…we had to lock him in the house to keep him from running out dressed in..well…like this:

But after we were able to convince him to wear some clothes, he went out to help like this:

And this (he’s working the trigger, Duhdee is applying the force):

It was totally safe.  So was this *ahem* (I have to admit this was my idea, Grampa was going to use his truck which just seemed like overkill…it was only built a couple inches too close to the house, lol):

And what was Umma doing during all of this?  She was taking pictures of this (MOOSE!)

Which was here (!)  Grampa says it happens all the time:

She also did an awful lot of this:


Is it any wonder I tried to convince Duhdee to stay another week??

Hi! Remember me?

You let a girl take a vacation and then she gets all lazy.  She starts laying around all the time eating bon bons, painting her toenails and neglecting her blog.

Or…alternative version…

You let a girl take a vacation and then the $600,000,000 deal she is staffed on explodes the second she steps foot in her office and she is just now digging out from the detris and is hoping like heck that she’ll be able to go home on time tonight b/c she’s getting really tired of only seeing her kid on the drive to school each morning.

I bet  you can figure out which one is true 🙂  I promise I will post about our vacation and all the other cool (and not so cool) stuff going on this weekend.  I might even add pictures.

FYI, you know your child has experienced a spectacular fall when your neighbor calls you early the next morning to report that her little girl, who just happens to adore your little boy, woke them up by climbing into their bed and stating “Monkey booboo?”  more than 12 hours after she was traumatized by watching Monkey get that booboo.  It was a doozy, but it shouldn’t leave a scar…beyond Cupcake’s mental one, of course.