Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Mercifully, not me. Since Monday, after I finally got a full night of sleep, I've been on the mend.

No, I'm talking about my son. Just moments ago I was sitting here at our dining room table, checking my email on the laptop and I heard a springy sort of noise behind me. I turned around and caught Jimmy in mid-jump above our couch. He was looking in the other direction at first, but then turned, looked me right in the eye, and kept on jumping. So. Flagrantly. Defiant. In a quietly deliberate how-far-can-I-push-this sort of way.

Granted, our couch is no prize. In a far distant past, it was textured tone-on-tone beige (in spite of my best efforts to persuade Jim to not buy a white couch, he prevailed). Countless juice stains and dirty footprints later, Jim calls it our "ghetto couch". When we get our tax return in a couple weeks, the full amount is earmarked to buy... wait for it... a new couch. The main justification for our furniture-jumping ban is that our home's hardwood floors, built-in woodwork with sharp corners, and cast-iron wood burning stove with brick hearth all create a rather hostile environment for young would-be acrobats.

Despite its questionable success in real life, we operate by the "three strikes" principle at our house. After the third strike, Jimmy gets a four-minute break (basically the same thing as a "time-out") to help him calm down and get ready to behave appropriately again. Unless we are away from home, he stands in a corner of the small hallway between our dining room and the first floor bathroom with his nose to the wall. I had reminded him of our "no jumping on the furniture" rule at least twice already today, and so to the corner he went.

I know, what kind of mean mom am I, with no special "time out" chair? Me and Jim are kind of old-school when it comes to discipline. The hall corner is an ideal spot because it's out of sight from most of the action and with no visual stimulation but bare white walls and ugly green carpet, it's bo-ring. Busy kid that he is, lack of stimulation is an extremely effective discipline for Jimmy.

Most of the time. I've got to admit: I remember the thrill of a good, springy couch myself, and the four year-old me would have put my son to shame as an instigator for rule-breaking. Sometimes it's worth the cost to ask forgiveness rather than permission. But don't tell Jimmy I said that.


aubrey said...

oh i CLEARLY remember what it felt like to jump on my couch growing up. not when mom was around. of course not. but that was what was fun about it. knowing she would flip if she knew we were jumping on the couch.

Julie C said...

I spent a lot of time on time-out as a kid, and you are so right about how boring it is. When my dad would come to me and talk to me about what I had done, I was ready to listen instead of staying mad because I wanted to be done with time-out. Actually, you might be better off not to have a time-out chair ... I remember taking something sharp - possibly my teeth or fingernails - and scraping long lines in our time-out chair, removing the finish and getting in even more trouble. :)

No Cool Story said...

I never jumped on the couch but I loved jumping on my parents bed.
See? He can still jump!