Thursday, April 3, 2014

50 Hour Time Out

We went to my sister's house last night for dinner and it gave the cousins (ages 2, 4, 5, and 6) time to play together.  I love being at my sister's house.  Not only does she have a fully stocked wine fridge, but she also has an expansive back yard with every thing a little boy would want to do.  Trampoline?  Check.  Zip line?  Check.  Basketball hoop?  Check.  Their options are endless and we can simply let them play outside while we sip wine and talk about whatever is on our minds.  But inevitably this bliss is interrupted by someone being wronged.  Yesterday was no exception.

We heard one of them screaming hysterically from the trampoline.  NO!  STOP IT!  I SAID TO STOP IT RIGHT NOW!" my sister's four year old shrieked.  She walked over to the trampoline and pulled him aside.  "Off the trampoline," she said firmly.  "We don't scream at our friends.  You're done for five minutes."  She picked up our conversation exactly where we had left off (a trick only mothers can do) until, exactly five minutes later, the shrieking commenced once again.  We both sighed and listened to see if we needed to intervene.  

We heard footsteps pounding on the wood floors behind us and looked up to see her four year old running to her arms.  He had crocodile tears streaming down his face and he was struggling to catch his breath.  "They..are...being...so...mean...to...me!" he said in between sobs and gulps of air.  My sister stayed calm and stroked his hair, fulling knowing that he had actually been the real problem.  "Tell me what happened, love," she said.  "They wouldn't stop jumping on the trampoline when I said to stop.  I put them in time out for FIFTY HOURS and (sobs begin full force again) THEY WOULDN'T LISTEN!!!" he cried.  He buried his head in her shoulder as we fought not to laugh at this severe punishment.  "I know that must have been frustrating buddy, but you aren't a grown up and can't punish your cousins.  If you don't want to play like they are playing, it's okay to go do something else," she shared.  "Okay!" he said as he jumped off her lap to return to the fray.

Don't we all wish we could put people in time out for 50 hours?  Sounds like a great deal to me.  But, alas, we can't.  Even though we are grown-ups.  The good news?  While we can't put all the people that drive us crazy in time-out, we can take a break and do something else.  There's nothing like a little space and time to give you perspective and help you jump right back into the fray.  

How do you deal with frustrating people?  Tiny people you birthed count, too.  How can you give yourself the time and space to gain perspective?

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