Swee’Pea has been testing the rules lately. By testing, I mean she’s been whacking and pushing TheMonk at various times throughout the day. This, of course, earns her an immediate two-minute timeout. At the end of the timeout, Swee’Pea must say she’s sorry before we’ll let her out.
This past weekend was another chapter in testing the rules. Saturday morning around 9:15 a.m. Swee’Pea was sent to timeout for hitting her brother. At the end of the timeout, Mommy decides that Swee’Pea has been through this routine enough where a simple “sorry” just isn’t good enough. Swee’Pea has to say why she’s sorry. Swee’Pea is asked by Mommy to say “Sorry for hitting.” This is a request that Swee’Pea is more than capable of complying with and the feeling is that Swee’Pea needs to make the connection for why she’s getting all of these timeouts.
So, two-minutes after being put in timeout, Mommy asks Swee’Pea to say she’s sorry for hitting. Swee’Pea refuses. Mommy explains that if she does not say she’s sorry for hitting, she will go back into timeout for another two minutes. Apparently Swee’Pea is okay with this as she still refuses Mommy’s request. So she gets another timeout.
Two minutes go by. Swee’Pea refuses to say she’s sorry for hitting. Back into timeout she goes.
Another two minutes go by. She’s still not budging. Back into timeout she goes.
About this time I come down the stairs from showering as we are planning on leaving at 10:00 a.m. for a birthday party down the street. Mommy has to go up and get ready but explains the situation. We decide that I will continue to see if I can get Swee’Pea to say she’s sorry for hitting. Mommy goes upstairs and soon after, Swee’Pea’s two minutes are up.
I try my best to explain to her why she needs to say she’s sorry for hitting. It’s not good enough and back into timeout she goes.
By this time, TheMonk definitely senses something is different about these timeouts. After each two minutes are announced by the beeping of the cooking timer, TheMonk shouts out, “ALL DONE, TIMEOUT! ALL DONE, SWEE’PEA!!”
But Swee’Pea, unfortunately, is not done. She still refuses to say the magic phrase. It is now almost 9:45 a.m. It has been a half hour of timeouts and patient explanations of why she needs to say she’s sorry for hitting. But the girl is determined.
At one point, TheMonk approaches the timeout area, gets down on his knees and looks Swee’Pea in the face and pleads, “Swee’Pea! Sorry for hitting! All done timeout!”
It is a sweet, anguishing moment to see TheMonk so exasperated with the stubbornness of his sister. He has been waiting for her to finish her timeout so they can go play and she is not cooperating. It’s killing him and he tries to be the voice of reason for his little sister who is clearly not going to be playing by any body’s rules than her own. If she’d only just say “Sorry for hitting” all this would be done.
Finally, Mommy returns and decides that she will take Swee’Pea upstairs and talk to her while getting her ready for the party. Whatever was said, I know one thing for sure…
She never did say she was sorry for hitting.
Why do I sometimes feel like I’m losing the war?