Lately, I've noticed a lot of changes in the way E responds to discipline. I think a lot of this is due to OS's presence in E's life. OS is a former marine. Need I say more? (Like I'd stop here...)
OS is one of the first people to offer a consistent presence in E's life who doesn't talk to him like he's still a baby. E gets pretty much whatever he wants whenever he wants it...and while Ex and I have done a pretty good job at not raising a rotten brat, we have both (I think...I guess I can only speak for myself) fallen into the trap of "not wanting to a be a mean parent" and probably let him get by with more "little stuff" than we should have. Now that E is older, he's ready for some more structure. OS is offering that in fairly healthy measure. He doesn't look at E and see a baby. He looks at E and sees a smart kid who, and I quote, "if he can sit there and count to 200 then he's old enough to answer me about why he's in time out."
Since I've come to the realization that E is old enough to understand and benefit from more strict discipline, I've been enforcing the "little stuff" more...kind of as a "for shits and giggles" kind of experiment and, in turn, have been getting a pretty interesting response from my kid. For example...the other day we were winding down for the evening and we were approaching E's bedtime. He was still pretty wired, so I handed him a book, we all curled up in the "tv room" and I told E there was no talking. He could look at his book, or play with a toy, but NO TALKING. E is a M-O-T-O-R-M-O-U-T-H...so I figured this would last all of two seconds. Within the first minute he began chattering. I quickly told him to go to time out because he hadn't listened to my instructions (something I would have overlooked before this.) He sat quietly in time out for about two minutes until I called him to come back into the tv room with us.
ME: "Why did you have to go to timeout?"
E: "I talked and you said no talking."
ME: "When I tell you to do something you have to listen. We are going to sit here and read without talking. Ok?"
E: "Yes ma'am."
And then what do you think happened? My two year old sat with me on the couch for 30 minutes with a Dr. Seuss book...and didn't utter another word! He pointed at pictures....looked at me to get me to notice the book...cuddled....and MINDED! I was utterly floored.
Maybe the United States Marine Corps is onto something with this discipline mumbo jumbo. Heck...for 30 minutes of peace and quiet and my smelly footed little boy cuddled up on the couch with me...I say Semper Fi baby!