What makes Momma cry (#2. We attempt time-out, I read an interview with Joe Hutto* in The Sun)
This is time-out, I say, sliding her chair into the corner.
What time-out mean? she asks.
It means you sit there and be quiet.
What momma doing?
I’m reading and you’re being quiet.
What being quiet?
It means not talking. Momma is not talking and Nettie is not talking.
Momma is reading and Nettie in time out, she is NOOOT talking.
Momma is reading a magazine and —
“mule deer exercise reciprocal altruism.”
I’m pushing! I’m pushing!
Stop pushing, please. Don’t push your chair.
And stop talking. We’re being quiet, remember?
“are dependent on the accumulated wisdom of the matriarch…”
I’m pushing! I’m pushing with my feet!
You’re going to fall off your chair and hurt yourself.
“Most go no longer than a month without receiving
some sort of injury from a barbed-wire fence.”
I said stop pushing.
Momma said stop pushing! She said stop it!
And BE QUIET! Momma says BE QUIET!
“…we live in a profoundly brutal world.”
I slam down the magazine, suck in my breath: NETTIE!
Momma is TRYING to READ and YOU are SUPPOSED
to be QUIET and SIT STILL! Time-out is a PUNISHMENT!
Okay, we’re going back to the table! I slide her chair back.
Nettie, eat your food. (The bite is deflected.)
What Momma doing?
I’m trying to finish reading this while you eat your food.
“… I’m unapologetic about my emotions.”
Nettie, take a bite. Do you want to go back into time-out?
You WANT to go in time-out? Okay. (sliding the chair)
Now you have to be quiet. And Momma’s going to finish this.
Nettie being quiet and Momma is reading —
“It’s such a gift … just to go out and be a mule deer for a day.”
I feel sort of compelled to add the disclaimer that up until now, I've tried to parent mostly "intuitively," because reading things ends up really stressing me out and making me feel inadequate. And also because I haven't settled on any parenting method that I really like. But I'm finding that two-year-olds require a firmer hand sometimes, and so, since I haven't prepared or read up on what to do when, for instance, your child decides she's just going to stop feeding herself, I've resorted to some tactics that I'm not proud of. But things start to feel desperate, as some of you may know or remember. And stupid things, like the time-out described above, happen.
I've been going in a few other directions lately, working on some things that haven't ended up on the blog. I would say a lot of my life fails seem to come out in poem-form, and since I intend this blog to be (mostly) encouraging, I don't want to include all of them here. If you're interested in following some of my other writing, you can find more here.