Yesterday Jason had his 18 months appointment at the pediatrician. After every baby well-check visit the doctor gives you a hand-out with “helpful” information for that age. I saw there was a big section about time-outs. How to do it, when and why.
Now I practice positive parenting. Which means that I do not punish Jason, but I also do not reward him for doing what I would like him to do. In positive parenting time-outs are viewed as a punishment. A time where you show that when your child does “something wrong”, you retract your love for him for a couple of minutes. Yes, I do agree that it sounds a little harsh. But I agree with the concept of showing your child you love him, even if he did something that got you aggrevated.
Back to time-outs. The hand-out really got me thinking. Why do I never find that I feel Jason needs a time-out? Not even to calm down when he gets too wired? Part is probably because he has a calm, easy-going personality. But he is still a toddler learning to cope with frustrations. He still gets overwhelmed by certain situations. And he has definitely started getting into some power struggles with the other 18 month old boy I babysit.
But you know what he does when he feels things are too much? When he starts whining non-stop or throwing things? He puts himself in time-out. Jason will walk over to me and he will ask to nurse. Sometimes I really don’t feel like it and I will offer water or a snack instead. Yet whenever he really needs that time-out from life, the calm nourishment that comes from nursing, he will insist on it.
Whether we are outside or inside, he will usually spend longer than 5 minutes contently drinking his milk. And then when he is finally done, he gets up with a big smile, renewed energy and a zest for life.
It makes me grateful that we are still breastfeeding at 18 months. Even though in the middle of the night I often silently curse when Jason wakes up again because he wants to nurse. It does make life easier for me. And more importantly, it makes life easier for Jason.