Yesterday, when I was helping Eli get his shoes on, I told him to come sit with me in the rocking chair. He plopped down on his little couch and said, “No, I sit in time out.”
That made me pause. True, we still send Eli to his couch when he misbehaves, but we’ve never called it “time out”.
Later that day we stopped at a fast food restaurant. I went to the restroom before we left, and when I came out Misty and Eli were standing outside. Eli was pressed against the wall, all red-eyed and teary. “I standing in time out,” he told me mournfully.
As we drove away, I checked with Misty. Neither of us had been calling his punishments “time out”. As best we can tell, he had heard other moms telling their kids about time out and seen them being sent to time out and put two and two together and realized he needed a tin cup to rake against the bars.
Some days I can’t believe how toddlers’ brains work.