Generally between the two of us, Dave is the more relaxed parent and I’m more of the disciplinarian. I don’t know how it worked out that way, but he’s just less uptight about rules and boundaries than I am. And that’s fine, I guess. But it means that I’m in the position of being Mean Mommy far more often than I’d like.
This morning, Catie wanted to watch a DVD that we borrowed from our baby-sitter (this one, if you care). Which, fine, whatever. Since I am always in favor of the path of least resistance, I thought it might be easier to get her dressed in front of the TV than to try to coerce her upstairs with me. So I grabbed a clean diaper and her clothes for the day, and brought them downstairs. She let me take off her pajamas and change her diaper, but then she refused to put on her clothes. She thrashed and squirmed and made a huge stink about it. I told her that she could either get dressed or go to time-out. She continued to thrash around, so fine, time-out it is. And “the frog movie” (which is what she calls the LeapFrog DVD) was promptly turned off.
(For the record, time-out at our house is a spot on the dining room floor. There really isn’t anything in that room except some boxes, certainly nothing that could qualify as entertainment for her, so it usually works.)
I left her in her time-out spot and walked into the kitchen – part of the deal with time-out is that I ignore her for the two minutes that she’s in there. I heard her making some odd grunting noises like she was struggling with something. When the two minutes were up, I walked back into the dining room and saw that she had taken off her diaper and flung it across the room. So there she was, still sitting in her exact time-out spot, hands in her lap, head down and bottom lip stuck out… and stark naked except for her socks. I had to turn around and look away to try to regain my composure, because I seriously almost died laughing right there.
It took a minute, but I got my Mean Mommy face back on, and I went over to her and sternly put her diaper back on her, then escorted her back to the living room and got her dressed. And she was fine after that, she didn’t act up at all. I know it would’ve made the situation worse if I had laughed, but man alive, it took just about every ounce of energy I had to not crack up.
So what I’ve learned is that parenting a two year-old is both incredibly frustrating and completely hilarious. I sort of knew that already, I just didn’t expect it to be both at the same time.