Monday, June 23, 2014

Butt-Taps for Two

Why these boys laugh when I tell them no while they're up to dangerous shenanigans almost makes me laugh every time. And it's usually only when they're doing something dangerous, like jumping up and down on the couch or recliner. I had to tap both their butts tonight because every time I told them to stop they would just stare at me to see if I was serious. When I'd pull one off the chair the other would climb up & pretend to start jumping; when I would go after him chair he'd fall back in the chair & laugh as if to say "ain't nobody jumping here, nothing to see, lady." They clearly were treating it as a game & I just couldn't keep up. Finally, one of them jumps into the chair just when I'm pulling the other one off. As I go to get him he practically falls back & could've landed on the hardwoods -- & then has the nerve to start laughing. He got three good swats on the butt. A look of surprise was followed by a wail. The guilt was overwhelming but I had to keep it together. Big hugs, "I love you's" & warnings about the chair... he didn't jump in that chair for the rest of the night. The other one couldn't quite make sense of all this & about 10 minutes later, with the chair all to himself, he gets to jumping like a madman. Three swats later & the same script as his brother was all it took. Neither boy visited the recliner for the rest of the night. They rediscovered their toddler cars & had a ball.

Earlier we went to the store & I placed them both in a cart, like inside the large basket. They kept wanting to stand up because they were acting as though we were at home in the laundry hamper & playing "choo choo" -- I push them around the house as if they're on a train & whistle "choo choo". I kept having to sit them down & tried to distract them by talking about the items on the shelves. If it weren't so cute I would've easily forgotten how dangerous it was. But I saw the experience through their eyes -- first shopping trip in a cart, only other similar experience allowed them to stand -- so I kept it up & thanked God they didn't tip the cart when we left. Putting them back in the car was the biggest relief. Certainly not a butt-tapping event & they'll eventually learn how to ride the cart. But the jumping up & down in the chair was blatant testing. Argh.

I've spoken to friends & co-workers for as long as I can remember & all agree that only when there's danger have they had to initiate physical discipline. I grew up getting my *ss tore up & as I have my own complicated opinions on that, & the times I deserved it (blatant disobedience or for the one & only time I bullied someone younger than me) I harbor no ill will. But I'm gonna have to recalibrate -- no more multiple no's & focus much more on redirection, which is truly tough when it's just me & there's another toddler ramped or ramping up while the other's getting his focus readjusted. And I'm not a yeller, & fortunately they do mind me most other times when I say "no." But I look at some resources on what to do when they're tiptoe-ing with causing harm to themselves or others. They're not even 2 yet so the lack of impulse control is going to taken a life of its own. Everyone's got their opinions on the discipline controversy & especially on the very young. But I'm not enjoying the feeling of guilt & I most certainly don't want to make bootie tapping a habit (if I don't have to).


  1. It's soooo hard to remember to redirect - my instinct is always to go for something physical, like pulling away, etc. Even at nearly 2 1/2 redirecting is so much more effective than anything else, I've found. But in the heat of the moment I never seem to remember this.

    1. you're right & amen & half the battle's committing to it (which I'm re-recommitting...wish me luck)