Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Conversation with a three year old

 My grand daughter is at a very fun age. 

Her parents went out for a brief date night, meeting up with another couple for dinner. Date night with 'ama is pretty special too, though, and we were looking forward to our time, just as much as they were looking forward to their time. 

But by the end of the day, though, tots begin to wind down. For those of you not familiar with three year olds, when they wind down, they are prone to move quickly between laughing and having a fine time, and sobbing over some minor inconvenience as if their tiny sweet little hearts have been well and truly broken. 

'Ama tries very hard to avoid tears. 

So we did calm activities, She loves to be a helper, and so when I switched the laundry from the washer to the dryer, she helped. We took the laundry basket of clothes we had taken out of the dryer into the livingroom, and sat on the floor together sorting laundry. She looked for washcloths to fold. Without warning, she laid down on the floor and began rolling in the laundry, screaming joyously. 

I observed that she was a screaming mimi. She had never heard that term before and she sat up straight to consider it, and in the considering, decided she did NOT like being called a screaming mimi. Forthrightly, she told me this.

"Oh, no," I said. "Am I in time out?" 

Delightedly, she told me I was. Furthermore, I was required to get off the floor and go to the time out place, which is the bottom stair step. She led me tenderly down the hall, explaining about three minutes I was required to sit there. 

Once I was properly seated, she went back down the hall. For effect, I threw a fit while I was sitting there, wailing that I did not want to be in time out. Patiently she reinforced the three minute time frame. Once I was quiet, she came briskly back down the hall. to kneel in front of me. 

Sweetly, she said, "Do you understand why you are sitting here." 

I said, "Because I called you a screaming mimi." 

In a very patient and rational voice, she explained that calling people names could hurt their feelings and that we don't call people names. 

I nodded and she said, "Okay, let's hug it out," and she gave me a big hug and led me back to the laundry in the living room. 

As I folded laundry, she suddenly dropped back down on the pile and began rolling around and screaming joyfully. I laughed. She said, "Call me a screaming mimi again."

"I am not doing that! I don't want to go in time out again."

She considered this, obviously disappointed. "Weeeeeeelll," she said, "we could be-tend that you called me screaming mimi." 

"As long as we are pretending, I guess that would be okay." 

So once again, she began rolling in the laundry and screaming and I dutifully called her a screaming mimi. 

She popped up and said, "Time out for you, ama!" She led me down the hall, explaining gently that I must listen when I am told not to do something. 


  1. That was an amusing read. Do you think you still have control over your granddaughter? My goodness though, if my mother started to do my washing I would murder her. My partner's mother tried in the 1980s and it was a disaster. The last thing I will do on Earth is correctly sort washing and launder it in the most environmentally friendly and economical manner.

  2. She's learned the routing well, through much practice, I suppose.

  3. I have learned (again, as a grandfather), with toddlers, they can go from contentment to meltdown without warning, especially at the time of day you describe, which my grandchildren's parents call "the witching hour." I'll try to refrain from calling them screaming mimis, although it's appropriate!

  4. A "nap with books" after lunchtime has always helped keep the "screaming mimis" away at my house. How fun for you to be a little child again with her.
    She has learned very well how to deal with "time out!"

  5. Seems to me that someone has not learned their lesson here but not sure who it is.

  6. Ha-ha! That is the best laugh I have had all day! Iris has got you wrapped round her little finger. Bad Grandma!

  7. That's a term I haven't heard for quite a while. What wonderful times you're having with her. My grandson is 16 months old and not there yet although he can be strong willed.

  8. While it's an adorable story, you really may have started something there that her parents will not like!

  9. This adventure definitely points out how often the cute little toddler has actually been in time out! She has the script down pat. I'd forgotten about complaining or misbehaving during the actual time out restarted the clock again. Be careful. I always based the time on the number of years of the child's age..... Might want to warn the parents, in case she tried to put them in time out!
    I had an overnight party for one of my son's birthdays when he was in kindergarten or early elementary school. They were throwing a stuffed Sonic the Hedgehog around. For such a jolly occasion, I just couldn't put the kids in time out, so I put Sonic in timeout. The boys talked about that for years, even past high school graduation. Linda in Kansas

  10. That's HILARIOUS! I love that it wasn't enough to be in trouble once -- you had to do it AGAIN! Kids are so funny.

  11. She is being raised to control herself so that her parents don't have to exert so much control. Ultimately, her locus of control will be internal. That's the goal anyway. They are authoritative as opposed to authoritarians. My grand daughter loves to play, but she knows that her parents are to be minded without argument. The idea of being the person putting someone in time out appealed to her greatly. It was no different than putting her teddy bear into time out. She was modeling the behaviors she witnesses, and it really was lovely to see.

  12. Think I’ll take a trip to timeout myself! Sounds lovely.

  13. The best part, Bob? We get one minute for every year. Off to misbehave...I'll see you in an hour. LOL!

  14. Oh gosh! What a sweetheart. She is so much fun.


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