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November 6, 2010

Time Out, Twin-Style

So I decided that it was time to implement a formal time-out structure. I set up the pack-and-play in a very boring corner of the dining room, away from the glitz and glam of the den and kitchen where we spend the majority of our waking hours.

And wouldn’t you know that the first time-out worthy infraction came when Baby A started preparing to streak, working her arms out of her onesie?

I scolded her, “[Baby A], you know that you have to keep your clothes on. Taking them off is not nice. You’re going to Time Out.

I picked her up, unceremoniously, and put her in the pack-and-play, out of sight of Baby B and me. I set the timer on the microwave for two minutes.

Baby A didn’t cry. Baby B, left alone in the glamorousness of the den, didn’t cry, either.

When the timer on the microwave sounded, I went to the pack-and-play and knelt down beside Baby A. “[Baby A], you understand we have to keep our clothes on, right? Say, ‘yes, Mommy.’”

Baby A so sweetly repeated, “Yes, Mommy,” as if she actually knew what I was talking about.

I took her back to the den and lifted her across the gate.

It was at that point that Baby B, who I then realized had exhibited remarkable patience in that probably nearly-three minute stretch, began to whimper.

[Baby B] turn!” she cried.

So now we’re working to reinforce that “Time Out is not nice.

Fortunately (?), Baby A has gotten several more opportunities for that to sink in. Baby B still desperately wants a turn in the Time-Out pack-and-play.

I am pretty sure that this is a new little game for Baby A. I know I just need to be consistent with time-outs, and everyone will eventually understand. And I knew this would be the case.

What I didn’t plan for was the “twin dynamic”, though.

Could Baby A be filling Baby B’s head with tales of glitz and glam from the Time-Out pack-and-play? Could Baby A be purposefully doing things (like taking her clothes off and shredding books) to warrant coveted alone time?

I’m beginning to think these girlies are much smarter than I am. I just wonder, is there something I could do to earn some time by myself???


Tami of the Twin Factory said...

I am amazed daily by the remarkable manipulations and negotiations that go one between my twin daughters. If I scold #1 for doing something (flipping light switches on and off, etc.), #2 will immediately take her place... as if I think it's not OK for #1 to do it, but that it's fine that #2 do it. Ridiculous!! But too cute. It's hard to stay one step ahead of these little creatures!

Anonymous said...

hahahaha. we saw something like this the other night. poor little M fell and got a black eye. we put ice on it and after 15 minutes or so decided we should give her some tylenol, too (duh). after we gave it to her T came over and had his mouth open. when i left the room he started crying. he wanted some tylenol soooo bad!! i suppose this is the down side of trying to make sure that everything is "fair" right?

MultipleMum said...

That is hilarious! Little blighters. I haven't tried 'time out' yet with my two and I certainly hadn't considered something like that might happen. They keep us on our toes huh?

Mohini said...

I had to laugh out loud when I read this. The first time I gave a time out to one of my twins the other one started howling for a time out too. Some 6 months later they still don't get that it is punishment. And yes mine is away from the glitz and glam of the kitchen and family room too. Gosh I still can't stop chuckling……...

Andrea said...

We darted using time out at 18 months. They absolutely hate it. They get 2.5 minutes right now, but 3 is right around the corner. We put them in the corner facing the wall. Whenever they are misbehaving we warn time with time out. This normally stops the bad behavior in it's tracks! There was a very small time period that Molly mocked Luke in the corner, but that stopped very quickly when she realized it was not fun and games! Good luck perfecting your time out system! Have a great week!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I LOVE this story. D loves it too. We laughed and laughed. Kids are so cute!

Let me know if you figure out the discipline thing - I'm waiting for your (usual) good advice (like with the reading :))

Marcia (123 blog) said...

P.S. I do think they're a lot smarter than we give them credit for :)

Rebecca said...

Haha...that made me laugh! Just wait...they'll realize that it's "not nice" when you have steam coming out of your ears and your face is all read...they'll get it!

reanbean said...

We started time outs around 18 months, and for a while they worked in curbing undesirable behaviors. But then they stopped working altogether. T&B would laugh about going to time out, put themselves in timeout, and put their toys in time out. It became a big game, and I'm not entirely sure how that happened. Maybe I over used it, maybe it was just their age and stage. Who knows.

We recently began using the 1-2-3 Magic approach (discipline strategy for 2-12 year olds), and they're just starting to get it. It seemed pretty straight forward when I read the book, but it actually took us all a period of time to get used to how the technique works. I'm just glad that it's finally working. It feels nice to have something in place.

Cottongirl7 said...

I feel for you. After putting my little Abby in time out for bitting her sister, said sister broke into the time out area to bring her food and water. She then proceeded to dump every toy she could find into her sisters area so she wouldn't be bored. Needless to say, it didn't work well for us. No matter who is in timeout, the other one thinks they are in trouble too because they can't go with them. Good luck! Keep us posted. :)

Monica said...

LOVED this post! How funny! I like the idea of putting Mommy in time-out too! Maybe a bubble bath would work!