Home » Hey Everybody, Mac Learned a New Trick!

Hey Everybody, Mac Learned a New Trick!

This kid of mine. . .I’ll tell you what, there’s no limit to the places he’ll go in this world!

He clearly has the perseverance and stamina to pursue even the most difficult of challenges.

He’s unstoppable!

And that is exactly why he has me positively insane.

Thanks to his ingenuity and relentless pursuit of things he shouldn’t be touching, licking, or otherwise be fiddling with, I’m living in a 900 square home that boasts 4 baby gates, a stove without knobs, safety latches toilets, and surfaces devoid of ANYTHING  that could be remotely beautiful, decorative, or even functional.

Months ago, I threw about one-quarter of our furniture onto the street just to get it out of his way.  I’ve sent countless bags full of lovely bits and bobs to the Goodwill just so he couldn’t break them.  We’ve child proofed.  And re-child proofed.

None of this has given him pause.

He scales chairs and tables and sofas to access enticing items that were once way out of reach.

That wretched playground is his training facility.  I just know as he’s dragging himself up the slide backwards, in true athletic fashion, he’s forming a mental picture of himself scaling the kitchen cabinets in a similar manner to get to the counters and the upper cabinets.

He’s a formidable opponent.

I’m not sure what my next move is?

Just the other day Chris suggested I get rid of the desk chair since Mac loves crawling on it, and then onto the desk.  “Ha!” I snorted.  “Look at him.  That’s not a solution.  There’s no point in getting rid of that chair.  He’ll just push another chair over there to serve his deviant purposes.”

So far our coping strategies involve trying very, very hard not to leave anything enticing in a spot where he could get to it.  So in a house this teensy, where we could use all the storage we can manage, most of our drawers are EMPTY. . .because you can’t effectively child proof antique or vintage furniture.  The little chest beside the front door, which was so awesome for our birding gear and keys, and outgoing mail?  Empty!

Well, mostly empty:


I guess Nandy needed a time out?  She's not the only one.

I guess Nandy needed a time out? She’s not the only one.

We also attempt distraction.  But as I mentioned, he’s very focused.

BUT far and away, Mac’s newest trick is the MOST infuriating to date:  He’s started to pull that toddler crap where he simultaneously laughs “No!  No!  No!”  while doing something he KNOWS he shouldn’t be doing.

Thanks for the warning, jerk.

At first, I tried ignoring him, figuring it was a ploy to get a reaction out of me.  But after he pulled 4 framed pieces of art off the wall, I decided ignoring wasn’t an appropriate solution.


He knows he’s not supposed to be doing whatever he’s doing, but he chooses to do it anyway.  

I’m conflicted. . .because this is pretty much the blueprint for my entire life. . .but I think we can all agree society doesn’t need him turning out like me. . .


Is this a time-out worthy offense?  How do you use a time-out on a toddler that can’t stay still to save his life?  Can I swat him with a hairbrush?  I can’t really threaten to take away “privileges” he doesn’t understand that concept yet.  What about a mixing spoon?  Just a little tap maybe?  Do I pack up even more crap until the only things left in this house are pillows and plastic cups?  Ruler?  Like a Nun?  What?  He’s Catholic.  

I’M AT A LOSS.  I feel like these should be teachable moments but I’m not certain he’s developmentally ready.  Although, he’s definitely becoming more aware of “cause and effect,” I’m not sure we’re there yet.

Well. . .as luck would have it, an email landed in my in-box the other day from Parents.  This email contained a video regarding the effective use of time out.

Yes, Parents, I too want to know how to use time-out effectively.  Please tell me how to discipline my child in three minutes or less and don’t forget the advertisements!

One of the first things they mention is that time outs should only be used for the most serious of infractions. . .situations where the child’s behavior has put him or her or others in harm’s way.  And that “other methods that work well for ugly, less serious offenses.”

WHAT?  (Obviously I know NOTHING about time out and clearly my own Mother applied it way too liberally.)

So time out is for things like hitting, running in traffic, biting. . .AND I’m supposed to use “other methods” (not mentioned) for things like repeatedly jerking on a massive framed wall-hanging?  Or could I lump that in the causing physical harm category and slap the little devil in the corner for a minute anyway?

What are these magical “other methods”?  It’s a fly swatter isn’t it?  Please tell me it’s a fly swatter.  Or maybe it’s water boarding?


Do I just wait for this to pass and deal with it using distraction and explanations?  

Do you use time outs?  How?  And when did you start?   

The self-imposed time out?  What the hell?

The self-imposed time out? What the hell?







8 Responses to “Hey Everybody, Mac Learned a New Trick!”

  1. Meghan says:

    Hi Deni. Love the new blog. No advice for you though, as Avery does the same stuff! He has a mind of his own and will not cooperate. The best I can do is distract him with something else, or if he throws a fit, I let him. Love the self-induced time out picture, lol!

    • admin says:

      Avery and Mac could get in a LOT of trouble together don’t you think? Ha. I was glad to hear his 18 month appointment was excellent. Although, I am a tad jealous he behaved so wonderfully. Our last two appointments, Mac definitely showed some displeasure with the doctor. I have at least 3 posts of yours in my email I still have to read and hopefully get to comment on soon! Be well and enjoy the good weather!

  2. Distraction-wine-redirection-wine. Oh, and timeout is used too liberally by me too I suppose, and has since he was about 2 1/2 (he’s three now).

    I have photos of my then 20 month old at the TOP of the pantry, naked.

    So clearly none of my advice will help!
    Anita @ Losing Austin recently posted…Stop the StigmaMy Profile

    • admin says:

      That photo is going to be PRICELESS!

      And I think your advice is excellent!

      THANK YOU!! I HAVE GOT to hop over to your blog soon. I’m looking forward to checking it out!

  3. I’ve got nothing for ya- just distraction. But basically, I stripped the place bare, like you, until I felt she was old enough for time out. And I started with the time out in a corner shit. It worked with my son, but Ana would NOT stay in time out. So instead, we reversed her bedroom doorknob, locked her in, and called it her “thinking time”.

    • admin says:

      I LOVE that you locked Ana in her room for “thinking time” by reversing the door knob! You are a WAY smarter parent than I am. When I was growing up, our timeouts were always in our rooms. Sometimes if we were particularly bad, we were told we couldn’t move from the bed but mostly we were just allowed to play quietly in our rooms. . .Which is probably why my Mother put us there so often: A few minutes of peace for her! Hmmm. . .I guess my Mom is a WAY smarter parent too!

      I am about 3 posts behind on your blog. They are still in my email to read. It’s awesome you were on Huffington Post Live! Congrats! Very fun.

  4. Dani Ryan says:

    And this is why I feel blessed I have a girl. 🙂 She is much less destructive than what I hear my friend’s son’s are like. But she is strong-willed in other ways. The problem is, I’m a pushover. I always thought my husband would be the one to cater to her every whim, but it’s me. And on more than one occasion, he’s had to remind me I’m the parent!!!

    So I’m afraid I’m of no help. But when you figure it out, please let me know! 🙂
    Dani Ryan recently posted…Billy The BullyMy Profile

    • admin says:

      I feel like my sisters and I were just as destructive as boys. . .so you are very fortunate! Although, not only were we destructive we were ALSO all those other stereotypical girl things – spiteful, bitter, holding a grudge, emotional. . .my poor mother. Hahaha.

      I don’t think I’m a push over. Although, maybe he’s wearing me down. . .because there have been times, I’ve paused wondering if I’m “giving in” at an inappropriate time and so forth. Exhausting.

      I think I KNOW he’s still too young to understand time out. . .maybe another 6 or 8 months?

      So I guess today I’ll rip all the art off the gallery wall in our living room, patch the holes, and paint. What he doesn’t ruin, surely the next one will. This house is going to be some empty, our footsteps are going to echo off the walls. On the upside, I should be able to just clean everything buy spraying the whole house with a garden hose. Ha!

      Liked your post this morning. 🙂