Monday, September 21, 2009


Whenever I see Willard Scott salute some hundred year-old grandpop, the next comment is invariably something about all of the wonderful inventions and advancements he's seen in his lifetime. Well, Mr. super-old guy, what about me? I've seen some pretty cool stuff in my day, without a Smuckers sendoff and a non-sequitur from Willard.

When I was just a wee-cowboy, computers were the size of Chevy vans (and not the new vans, no, the really cool vans with bubble windows and jacked-up rear tires and unicorn murals and disco balls twirling from the rear-view.), telephones were all tethered to their walls, the Raiders were great, and wooden spoons were strictly for spankings. Now, the vans are mini, the telephones have broken free from their binds, the Raiders are ... never mind, and the kids are all in timeout.

I remember when I first heard about the concept of timeout. I must have had some friend with new-age/hippie parents who put their rambunctious tyke in timeout. Awesome! I thought. You screw up, then get to go play somewhere other than the place you screwed up. The concept seemed so ridiculous that it was ridiculously great.

Spankings, it seems, have fallen out of fashion. Since Regina and I are on the cutting edge of fashion, we've taken to the timeout concept. We've tried different variations for Dylan: first, her room. Unfortunately, that turned out to be exactly how I envisioned timeout would be when I was ten. Dylan would be doing something awful and get sent to her room where she'd resume her awful behavior, now with immunity from more punishment. Obviously, that didn't work.

Our second attempt was the church pew on our font porch. That worked for a couple of weeks. The problem was that Dylan would rather be outside anyway, and learned that whenever she was sent to the bench, the dogs would come around and climb up to join the festivities. At first we thought the shrieks were ones of remorse. Nope. Just joy at getting licked by Chowder.

We're at a loss where the next timeout spot should be. The pasture with the bulls? A small cardboard box? I think Dylan would find something great about any option we try. I imagine when the temperature drops, the pew won't seem so fun. Now, when Dylan starts getting a little nutty, we go for diversion tactics. Hey! Do you need to potty? Could you take the mi-mi out of Grady's eye and put it away? Oh, look, a kitty! Anything. In the end, Regina and I have realized that the best timeout is the one imposed on each other. We send ourselves out of the room and Dylan watches, jealous of the kisses Chowder smothers us in.

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