Posts Tagged ‘ time out game ’

Does Your Child Imitate Her Own Bad Behavior?

Monday, March 4th, 2013

I’ve decided my favorite game to play with Fia is “sleep.” This is when she tells me to lie down, close my eyes, and, well, sleep. Yes, a fascinating game. She proceeds to put blankets and stuffed animals all over me. As long as Emmett is truly sleeping in his crib, I can get away with this game. Even, dare I say, doze off a bit?

But her other favorite game is recreating the scene of the crime–Hers.

Every night when we put her to bed and begin to walk out, before we ever reach the door, she stands up in protest. She’s like the white version of Hush Puppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild.  I know what to say before I even turn around.

“Fia, lie back down.”

“No!” she says and stomps her foot on the mattress.

“Fia, I said lie down.” (This time I’m always a little more stern.)

She stomps the same foot again. On the third try I say,

“Fia, lie down or else I’m shutting the door all the way!” (Something that, when done on occasion, makes her wail as if she were losing a limb.)

Boom. Hit the dirt. She is down in a flash.

So is it weird that when we play she loves to imitate this whole scene in reverse? As in, I am Fia, she is Mama. (Follow that?)

She does it all over the house. Or at the beach. Or in the yard. We’ll be hanging out and suddenly she’ll shout, “Mama, lie down!!!” It’s my instant alert that it’s Game-On time. I stomp my foot. “Lie down!” she yells at me (far louder and intense than we ever do, by the way). And so it begins…

By the time we reach the end of the first go around, in which I hit the ground/grass/sand with a fury, lest the invisible door be closed, she is howling with laughter. “Again mama! Let’s do it again! I’m going to be you again!” she shouts with glee (as if there were any other choice).

It’s especially funny when she does it right before bedtime. We’ll be settling in her bed to read and up she goes.

“Let’s play the stomp foot game.”

Seven minutes later when I really put her down the stomping begins in earnest. She doesn’t seem to “get” the irony that we just went through this. It’s hard to keep a straight face.

I wrote awhile back at how I observed her putting dolls in time out and wondered if that was normal. Maybe this is just the second level of that type of exploration. I mean you play tea party, so why not play punishment-party? (Punishment being the threat of closing her door.)

The best part of the real going-to-bed routine is that after the protesting, when I’m standing with my hand on the doorknob, indicating that I have the power to shut it, she lies down and says, ”But mama, just one more kiss and hug.” Even though I’ve given her 17 already, I always get pulled back in. Sometimes for a triple encore on top of a triple encore. Phil shakes his head when I finally emerge a half hour later. He knows I can’t resist her. I shrug my shoulders and say, “Yep. Love fest party.” Then I pour my wine and settle into my 21 minutes of relaxing before I go to bed myself. With no protest.

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