Friday, January 20, 2012

Time Out. Who Knew?

Had I known that time outs were so blissfully awesome, I wouldn't have been doling them out like they were candy for the last few years.  I clearly need a new disciplinary tactic---one with some teeth.

Why the change of heart, you ask?

Because my time out is the closest thing that I've had to a true vacation in 3 years, 6 months and 1 day (not that I'm counting or anything).

I've (only somewhat jokingly) maintained for years that my fantasy is 2 nights in the Holiday Inn down the street--by myself.  I can barely imagine how great it would feel to be in a bed, by myself, with no diaper-wearing footballs, sponge bob cast members, boppy pillows, Disney Princesses named Chuck, beach towels, abandoned throw pillows, rogue puzzle pieces or a restless-legged 3 year old who snores like a 747 at takeoff.    To be able to pee---uninterrupted.  To be able to read a book that doesn't feature cartoon characters and is not adorned by fossilized yogurt remnants.  To not have to share the marshmallows in the goldfish s'mores.  To not reach into the goldfish bag and find abandoned half-eaten non-marshmallow goldfish that are still slightly soggy.

Someday, somehow....I will live the dream.  Today, however, I got a glimpse---and it was everything I thought it could be.

I've previously mentioned that I find music to be an essential life element, and it's equally important  that I share this passion with Little M.   My girl and I have a sacred Friday morning tradition---the pajama dance party (yes, the "jammy jam") immediately followed by cuddle time on the sofa where we stare into space, and hold hands and analyze song lyrics.  When she looks back on her childhood, I really hope that she fondly remembers our Friday morning girl tradition--or that she hears a song on the radio and is struck with the realization that it was her lame old mom who introduced her to that song.  I know that I'll never forget.

Mothers of sons and fathers of daughters get a special spotlight dance on the wedding day.  Most mothers of daughters...we normally are relegated to playing the role of misty-eyed spectators on the sideline.  On little M's wedding day, I hope she and I can reenact one of our Friday morning dance parties; and that she and I can have a special dance to "our" song.  Yes, we have one.  It's been around for many years- hell, it even predates me--but it was written especially for her.  I'm convinced.

In any case, it was this Friday morning tradition gone slightly awry that landed me in time-out.  Normally, she and I agree on the daily soundtrack, but today, there was no meeting of the minds.  Imagine a bull-headed 36 year old locking horns with an even more bull-headed 3 year old in a spirited Fitz and the Tantrums vs. Radiohead debate.

It's my music library.  I am the DJ.  I retain creative control.  I picked the Tantrums.  In response, Little M was mildly displeased a raging lunatic.  She sprung from the sofa, pointed her finger at me, screamed "Mommy, you are in time-out for 41 minutes", slammed the door and walked out.

A few clarifying items:

(1)   We normally follow a one minute per year of age time out philosophy here.  Little M is due a time out of her own for aging me by 5 years.

(2)  All of her time outs to date have taken place on a staircase.

With these clarifying items in mind, I will admit that I am so grateful that Little M is not a time-out enforcement purist.  If she were, I never would have my glimpse into the dream.

After the initial shock of being punished by a 3 year old wore off, I glanced around the room.  The room where I was the sole occupant.  With a TV.  And my entire music library.  And a half-full bag of chex mix.  And a Diet Dr. Pepper.  Is it wrong that I did a little happy dance?   Time-out exile rocks---can I stay for three weeks????

Sadly, I was eligible for early time-out release.  Little M was thirsty.  Goodbye, blissful exile.

If you happen to observe some unusually ornery behavior from me, it's because I'm trying to get sent back to time-out.

41 is the new 36,

Little Miss Sunshine

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