My kid is so stubborn.
I mean, really, really stubborn. And strong-willed. Determined. Steadfast.
Just a few days ago, I heard one of my cats meow in exasperation. I slinked through the kitchen and caught Nathan in the living room, throwing tufts of cat fur into the air and DANCING IN IT while clapping his hands. I saw my cat Andrew hunkered wide-eyed in the corner. He looked as if he thought he was naked.
I bet he felt naked with all the fur Nathan had pulled out and was DANCING in.
“NO! Nathan, that’s not nice! You don’t hurt the cats… Time Out!” I said as I grabbed his cat-fur covered hands. I steered him into his Time Out Corner and set the timer for three minutes (the amount of time Nathan gets in time out depends on his infraction. Milder infractions get him two minutes). When three minutes was up, I returned to Nathan and squatted down on his level.
“Do you understand why Mommy put you in time out?” I asked.
He looked at his hands.
“You pulled out the cat’s fur. You hurt the cat. No touching the cats, Nathan.”
“I’m sorry,” he replied as he did the sign for sorry across his chest.
“Nathan, I need you to say ‘No cat,'” I said.
Nathan mumbled something unintelligible.
“If you want out of time out, you need to say ‘No cat,'” I prodded. Nathan crossed his arms over his chest.
“NO!” he yelled.
“Okay then, you made the choice to have more time out,” I replied. I set the timer for another minute. When the timer went off, I repeated the process.
In fact, I repeated the process a grand total of THIRTY SEVEN times. That means that THIRTY SEVEN times in a row, I asked Nathan if he was ready to say “No cat.” And THIRTY SEVEN times in a row, Nathan obstinately refused. Until finally, a grand total of FORTY minutes later (including the three minutes for his first time out) and with tears streaming down his cheeks and snot dripping out his nose, he begrudgingly gave me what I asked for.
“No cat,” he whispered. That’s right. He wouldn’t even speak it. HE WHISPERED IT.
With his arms crossed over his chest and his chin up in the air.
But at least he said it, right? My kid may be stubborn, but his mama is even MORE stubborn. Getting tired of the discipline and giving in is not an option for me… giving in means that Nathan would know that all he needs to do to get his way is put up a fight and eventually I’ll cave. And then? Then I’m left dealing with an A-1 Brat. Not gonna happen in this house. It is my responsibility to prepare this child for life, and letting him have his way teaches him nothing.
Even if it takes THIRTY SEVEN repetitions.
Hey, no one ever said parenthood was easy.