Rubber-band Kids

Rubber_bands_-_Colors_-_Studio_photo_2011My Confession: I dropped my son on his head. He was only 18 months old.

I was making lunch with my toddler at my feet. He’d only been walking a short time, so he was still unstable. I didn’t want to step over him very few seconds, so I came up with a great idea: sit him on the counter. At first, I tried to work with the food with one hand and hold onto him with the other, just in case he toppled over. But it wasn’t working. So I let go, planning to stay close and keep an eye on him. That was my mistake. As soon as I pulled my hand away, he teeter-tottered. And I wasn’t fast enough to stop him. I felt like I was in a movie. You know the kind of scene: slow motion, hero running with arms in the air, classical music playing in the background. Two seconds seemed like two hours. And while I watched him plummet to the tile floor, a thousand thoughts flew through my head. What have I done to my baby? What if he breaks his neck? What kind of mother am I? Why did I put him on the counter? What if we have to go the hospital? What will I tell my husband? You get the idea.

You already know the result – he landed on his head. He shrieked and I swept him into my arms. No broken neck, no blood. A bump started to rise on the side he landed on. But nothing more. I feared a concussion so I watched for other symptoms. But he had lunch and went off to play, like nothing ever happened. No vomiting. No sleepiness. Just the same happy kid. Whew! I thanked God and gave my son a few extra hugs that day.

My conclusion: Kids are resilient. (Thank God!) They bounce back like little rubber-bands. Of course, I don’t recommend dropping them on their heads. But if you do, know that you’re not the only one who’s done it. And you won’t be the last.

P.S. – I just remembered that my other son also got dropped on his head….with the same results. Another rubber-band!

Has it happened to you? Share your story. I’d love to hear it.




Time-Out Trouble

Mechanical_egg_timerMy Confession: I forget my kids are in time-out.

It’s true. What’s supposed to be a five or six minute time-out can turn into twenty or even thirty minutes if I get distracted. Doesn’t sound like a big deal? Well, bear with me while I sound a bit professional for a minute. Here’s how you’re supposed to give a time-out so that it actually works:

1)  Get on eye level and identify the misbehavior – “Jimmy you hit your brother. That’s not okay.”

2)  State the consequence & its duration – “You have to go to time out for 7 minutes.” (All time-outs should last about one minute per year of the child’s age.)

3)  Walk the child to a secluded, quiet spot and set a timer.

4)  When the timer goes off, ask the child to tell what he/she did wrong and ask for an apology.

Now that I’ve got that over with, guess what step I often mess up? If truth be told, on a bad day I have trouble with all of them. 🙁 “Stating the consequence” is easy for me. It usually comes with a quivering voice – because of built up anger from waiting too long to do something about a behavior. Or  instead of calmly asking them to go to time-out, I yell it. (Once again, that’s another confession). And then I don’t set a timer. Once they’re in their quiet spot, I typically collect myself and feel pretty good again. Then I get too busy feeling good and forget they’re there. Oops!

My Conclusion: Time-out always works better when I do it right. Otherwise, what’s the point? The behavior doesn’t change and my kids just get frustrated. (And so do I!)