• lilaclifter

    I say keep them in the crib as long as humanly possible. My son is almost 4 and started trying to climb out of the damn crib at 6 months old. Within a month I caught him perched at the top, before he was able to fall on the ground. After that he slept with me and I gave him a regular bed at a year old.

  • http://www.duchessjane.com duchessjane

    When my parents sent my brother to his room for time-outs, he would always lay on the floor with one hand in the hallway in defiance. When Mom would shut the door, he’d sneak one little finger out beneath the door.

  • http://plazajen.blogspot.com Jennifer in Kansas City

    Ah, am I the only one imagining the extremely smug look on Chuck’s face when all this is happening? Like he’s thinking, MOOOhaHAHAHahahaha! Now all the M&Ms will be MINE! *even though chocolate’s bad for me*

  • http://www.vegasandvenice.com vegasandvenice

    I think the time-out area is a perfect idea and we love Supernanny too!
    Discipline seems so common sense, but everyone has a problem with it when they are confronted with their own little demons. It’s nice that someone reminds you of all the things you said you would or would not to discipline your children (of course those statements are made years *before* the kids). Heck, we don’t even have kids yet and were sure we can handle it. How naieve are we? Thank goodness for Supernanny! Besides, she delivers, like pizza … hmmm pizza!

  • http://www.davidandtrine.org Trine Abroad

    Sounds reasonable.

    We actually have another level – naughty step and then bed.

    She knows she has to sit on the step (and miraculously she does!) if she’s naughty and if she still plays up then she goes straight to bed. I feel it gives me a bit of escalation possibilities! ;-)

    and madly, we’ve only had to put her to bed ONCE, whereas the step we use often…

    but then I live in the UK! ;-)

  • Carli

    Ahh, the British bombshell is a saint in my eyes as well. Without her, I would have lost my middle child and only son a long time ago. Did you see the one last night, with the bratty book throwing girl? Give her a crew cut and that would be my Jack, flinging Blueberry Shoe to the ends of the earth. Bastard. Sorry, I digress. I also just learned from Parent(ing)s magazine that tempers are worst between 3 and 4, so Jon is right – she’s totally gifted for her age. I sympathize with you, and have had my kids scream through the same dinner that they loved a week earlier. Sigh. You can’t win, we just go with it. Good luck!

  • amber

    first, i’m a huge fan… read you daily, appreciate so much your realness.

    second, i’m a childless 29 year-old who someday would LOVE to raise a kid or two of my own. but, right now i’m busy working on some other life issues, which includes reflection on my own childhood, the parenting i received, etc…. my parents were fantastic, loving, supportive, and of course they wounded me as is inevitable. but i’d like to weigh in briefly as someone who apparently had spunk and tenacity as a child (and, as someone who believes in discipline and hierarchy as ways to make children feel safe and loved). i learned how to say “i’m sorry” without meaning it. i think that’s a hard lesson to AVOID learning in life. but, i’m doing everything i can to unlearn that now. everything i can.

    you clearly, clearly respect and love leta’s vivacity. all i want to say is: continue to do what you can to cultivate and preserve that. she’ll be glad for it later.

  • http://bornfamous.com bornfamous

    “…friend freaks out and then there is a knock at the door from the friend’s husband. “Give me the child.”"

    That is truly a good friend–and friend’s husband. Too bad there aren’t more friends [and friends’ husbands–like that.

  • http://bellablue.visualblogging.com/ bellablue

    Hi! I wanted to like SuperNanny. I really did. BUT her techniques often rub me the wrong way. And we never see updates months later on how the family is doing… most likely the kids are still pushing buttons and still getting into mischief on an hourly basis.

    If you’re not familiar with the work of Alfie Kohn, I HIGHLY recommend it. (“Unconditional Parenting”) He speaks about honoring the child’s voice in regards to their own life. How our agendas don’t always match up with our children’s agendas which is why there is so much conflict, etc.

    I will also say, though, that I also have a tantrum thrower (and she’s 6 now). I’ve done things in response that I’m not proud of. Who likes being hit in the face or screamed at by their beautiful child? All the advice in the world won’t help if you’re emotionally spent and your child is mimicking the girl from the Excorcist!

    My other child is the complete opposite… easy going, more emotionally flexible, etc. It made me realize how different the personalities can be between different children!

    Looks like Leta will grow up to be a strong girl with her own mind. She’s gonna go far!

  • im_this_many

    there is a club for people going through what you are. it’s called: EVERYONE WHO EVER HAD A CHILD

  • http://dooce.migrantroo.com minxlj

    That Supernanny you refer to is brilliant. But what I want to know is why the rest of us British peeps can’t manage to control kids in the same way? She’s a rare breed, LOL

  • http://bannerweb.wheaton.edu Goingape

    I am a child psychologist in training with my child pscyh friends, and we always talk about what we do in the therapy office would really be better if we could just do a Supernanny type intervention in the home. We just wonder if people would pay for it. I catch myself quoting Jo Marsh way more than I ever do Freud. ;)

    What do ya’ll think? Would you pay 1000 bucks for someone to come into your home and teach you how to reign in an out of control kid? Or would you rather go see a child psychologist once a week for 10 weeks at 100 bucks a pop?

    Of course, Heather, you and Jon sound like the parents that every child psyschologist dreams will come in…because you don’t need us! Not that you need my validation, but keep up the great work with Leta. She’s going to be a gem.

  • Herb Fairy

    I do agree with Shelly Bean. My first reaction to reading it was that the bed should not be used as the time out spot or the “naughty mat” area.
    I do not have kids so really should not be giving advice but I do have a dog and I was taught the same for her. She is crate trained and if she is bad i should never put in her pen as punishment because that is her nice relaxing, safe spot and should at no time be associated with something negative.

  • jams

    MT Jen – i tried this same technique as a kid
    but my poison was chef boyardee spaghetti-blows
    (i was (unbeknownst to me) incredibly spoiled as a child and had a stay at home mom who cooked everything from scratch, bread daily, etc.)
    baby sitter forced me to eat the spaghetti-o’s and in a now idiotic but then brilliant move to SHOW her, i held those bad boys in my mouth for five and a half hours until my mom picked me up
    as soon as we were out the door, i promptly spit out the spaghetti-o’s on the baby sitters driveway

    now as a marginally reasonable adult, the thought of swallowing chef boyardee flavored saliva for five plus hours is down right revolting

    and i’ve never eaten them since that day

  • http://www.kirala.typepad.com marian

    I have to agree with geokaz, about the forced saying you’re sorry thing, also about associating the crib with sleep, not punishment. But hey, you’re lucky you are able to keep her contained. My little Dr. Destructo took his crib apart by the time he was 18 months old, so really I’m not one to talk.

  • Self-Proclaimed Supermom

    Oh Heather, keep her in that crib until she jumps out. Once she is in the toddler bed, all hell breaks loose!!

  • http://ooohshiny.typepad.com Nia G

    My caregivers never used the Naughty Corner on me as a child – they just shot straight on to emotional manipulation (of the whenever-you-throw-mushy-peas-on-the-floor-a-puppy-dies sort) instead. My grandmother used to say that if I was naughty she’d abandon me, or she’d sing me songs about how I was breaking her heart.

    I was a very good and reasonable child though, and from the moment I could talk it was possible to get me to compromise and be fair.

    On the other hand the-man-who-will-be-my-husband was a little nightmare and used to get put into the naughty corner quite often where he would promptly fall asleep.

    Quite a few of my friends were made to kneel on corn husks to help time out make more of an impression….

  • http://www.issasworld.typepad.com Melissa

    Man I miss the crib. Mine have a time out chair. And I leave them there until they calm down, any where from 5 – 15 minutes. It works well for my four year old. Not so well for the 20 month old. Sometimes a toddler just does not care if they are being punished or not. Good luck. You’re lucky she doesn’t climb out. My youngest did it at 11 months.

  • kilax

    I think that is a very good method for disciplining Leta. I am worried about how I will raise and discipline my children someday, but I think you are on the right track!

    P.S. I love your header! Did you make it in Adobe Illustrator?

  • http://www.omarphillips.net omar

    My kid is 8 or 9 months younger than Leta. I fear that reading this site is giving me a look into the not-too-distant future…

    But I totally think you guys were being unreasonable about the M&M’s. Why don’t you just starve the kid?

  • http://alissaclare.typepad.com/the_exciting_life_of_acs/ Alissa Szarek

    Wow, your Leta stories, good and bad make me want to have kids! I know, I know – crazy.

  • http://www.agirlandaboy.com leahkay

    Time to add video clips to the site, no?

  • http://jessica.mccabe.nu Jayseaka

    Oh I love that nanny show! I *almost* wanna have kids now just so I can try out her techniques..haha. I have used them on my niece and nephew and they work well. cracks my shit up because their parents cant get them to listen but auntie jessica takes their tantrums and talk-back like a pro!

  • http://www.randomandodd.com Kristine

    As long as you don’t call your friend and cry, “I SWEAR…I’M GOING TO PUT HER IN THE DRYER!”
    and of course, it’s said out of frustration, but friend freaks out and then there is a knock at the door from the friend’s husband. “Give me the child.”

    I told him, “You know where the laundry room is.”

  • http://www.babblefishe.blogspot.com Hannah B.

    I loved this line: “We are huge fans of that lovely British nanny on television who enters people’s homes and gives them permission to discipline their children.”

  • http://www.dadamama.typepad.com/dadamama Dada Mama

    I feel your pain.

    I had a child psychologist tell me to hold my son in time out when he wouldn’t stay. I tried her technique and it resulted in a FORTY MINUTE battle on the living room floor, me holding the screaming child, the screaming child screaming ever louder while trying to bite me. (That sounds cruel. I wasn’t pinning him to the mat or anything. Just gently restraining him until he calmed down.)

    BUT–he now stays in time out when I put him there, though nothing has yet killed the screaming.

    The good news is that the harder they are as toddlers, the better they are as teenagers. I have been told this repeatedly by several more experienced mothers. I guess they could be lying to me, but it gives me hope nonetheless.


  • Heather

    I totally miss the crib. My boys are 6 & 4 and several times a day, I wish I had a place to contain them. Time-outs really don’t work on them, but we stumbled upon ‘toy time-out’ as well. With them it works wonders. Duct tape also comes in real handy as well ;) . Later on, you could always threaten to send her to Primary if she doesn’t behave :)

  • http://thefathousewife.blogspot.com/ Strizz

    Kids are evil. Why do you think they start out so damn cute? It’s all part of their evil little plan.

  • http://www.xanga.com/gora_kagaz Gora_Kagaz

    dooce, i’m a new fan. i love your style of writing and the content of your site. it is so much fun to read your blog because of its amazing humor and also because of its sincerity.
    that said, i’ve watched supernanny a few times, but i don’t have a kid and that show ruins the impression i have of cute babies, so i refuse to watch it. also, screaming kids, even on TV, annoy me. hopefully i’ll get over that by the time i have kids.

  • Shellybean/Michele

    You’re on the right track, a minute for every year they’re alive but….. The crib is where she sleeps; don’t use it as a jail to hold her. Give her a time out area, be it her room but don’t shut the door–but not a crib that’s being used as a restraint/sleep area, that’s her safe area.

    I have a son who is very advanced for his age, he was reading and writing simple words at three (he’s seven now at reads at a 7th grade level), so I know that smart kid=smart ass at times. Since Leta can speak make her tell you what she’s sorry for, she can say “for hitting daddy, for throwing things etc. Then hug her, kiss her, love her and move on. It’s so important to make sure they understand what they did, and sometimes they’ll be so angry and full of tears they’ll forget–gently remind them what they did. Trust me, people ask me allllllll the time how I got such an awesome well-behaved child, loving child. This is how.

  • http://www.biggestapple.net BigA

    I’m pitching a new show to the networks entitled, “Mafia 911″. The target audience are parents how find Nanny 911 to be lacking when it comes to their offspring. In your case I think Mafia Mike would tell you to explain to Leta that if she didn’t stop her tantrum then you’re going to shoot Elmo in the kneecaps. If for some strange reason you don’t currently own a gun, then sticking him in the “crib” for her crimes might work just as well. Plus it sends a really positive message.

  • http://www.simzgirl.com/ simzgirl

    Oh how the Naughty Technique will save us all. Now if only I could use it on co-workers…

  • http://missbehave.org MissBehave

    Her bed is supposed to be somewhere where she can go to rest and relax. It should be a pleasant place, with good memories.

    As much as I agree with your ways of disciplining,I think the designated area is wrong. Make it a place that she doesn’t have to go to aside from when she’s being the devil incarnate – not her bed.

  • MontanaJen

    My parents tell a story of when my aunt came to look after me and my two…ahem…adorable sisters while mom & dad took off for a weekend.

    my older sister is stubborn. with the capital S. auntie wanted her to eat her green beans for lunch. sister didn’t want to. she was five years old.

    she held the green beans in her mouth, refused to swallow them, and auntie refused to allow her to spit them out.

    finally, in desparation, auntie called mom and asked what to do.

    “how long has she held them in there”
    “since lunch”
    “sister, it’s 7 p.m. let her spit”

    i am not looking forward to these battles, i tell you.

  • http://angellivia.livejournal.com Angellivia

    Supernanny rocks! We watch t whenever it’s on. There’s loads of programmes like that over here, look out for Little Angels and House of Tiny Tearaways too.

    It’s a good job Leta’s so cute!

  • ktjane

    oh my! what a little stinker! it’s a good thing she is so darn cute!!

  • http://kimba-bremen.com kim from germany

    ahh, time out. i was introduced to this wonderful technique in ’97 when i was an au-pair for five kids between the ages of 8 months and 8 years and honestly, i don’t know how i would have survived the year [without taking serious damage from hitting my head in the kitchen cabinets over and over again] without it. don’t get me wrong. those five – the best kids. i love them. i had an amazing and awesome year. but when they were all there, at the same time, plus three playmates and two cousins … i’m stressed just thinking about it :)

  • KellyB

    My oldest is now five. I reeeeeally miss his crib sometimes. It was so cage-like and nice… *sigh*

  • http://www.dreamdust.co.uk doow

    I’m also a fan of the Supernanny (despite quite plainly not having children). Just whatever you do, please pronounce it “unaCceptable behaviour”. Saying “un-a-septable” is also just cause for a 45 minute timeout as far as I’m concerned.

  • http://amyelle.myblog.com/home.html amy-elle

    I burst out laughing reading this. My twins are now just over 3 years old. They would still be in cribs if my son wasn’t climbing out of his, into his sister’s, and then screaming for help when she sat on a pillow over his head. He, of course would conviently forget how to get out. Fortunely, this particular problem has stopped now they are in actual beds. The hubby and I have often discussed Jon’s thoughts and tend to agree…..depending on the current behaviors of the kids.

  • http://wendymacblogs.blogspot.com Wendy Mac

    Oh my goodness, supernanny! I love supernanny. I once had a friend from England and I would make her recite the alphabet incessantly just so I could enjoy her sexy accent.

    Leta cracks me up! I love the show when they let you see how the family does once supernanny has left. It’s usually a disaster, and supernanny comes back and tries to get them back to square one- but you can see the parents are thinking the same thing as Jon. A whole day in the naughty spot would do them just fine.

  • http://so.verycontrary.com/ Mary Craig

    My 3 year old is going through a ‘phase’ right now. And by ‘phase’ I mean ‘If he doesn’t stop this tantrum crap, I’m totally selling him to the gypsies, at a discount’

    We set his little butt on the couch and I don’t put a time limit on it. It’s when he stops throwing a fit and can talk to us like he should that he can get up. This is usually no more than one minute for each year of his age, but if he needs four or five minutes to get over himself, instead of three, I’d rather not get him started all over again.

  • christophernaze


    Fascinated by your post on your take on Mormonism. I’m guessing you are familiar with Bill Shunn’s (another former Mormon) infamous tale of “apostasy” about 8 years ago on the net.

    Thank you for all of the wonderful stories. As a parent of three, and something of a student of parenting, I can’t agree more with Comment 6: you musn’t use a place of comfort as a time out spot. The crib is a safe place and should never be used to give consequences.

    (It’s not like I haven’t made countless mistakes as a parent…)

    Thank you again for sharing the laughs and the drama. :-)

  • Lori

    My son didn’t try to climb out of his crib either. We used the crib and later his bed as a timeout area. He never moved from that bed. And a bonus of this was that when he was put to bed at night–he never moved. I think he was almost 9 before he ever attempted to get out of the bed without permission! I think the most important thing is that they feel safe wherever they are and you are certainly providing that for Leta. Love the blog and the stories.

  • Sarah

    Hi Heather,

    I just wanted to say that I’ve been reading this site for about a year now, and in my opinion it gets more entertaining with every post. You’re such an engaging writer, and I laugh out loud when I read some of your stories. Thanks for bringing more humor to my day.

  • http://mommyspeak.blogspot.com/ mama speak

    I could’ve written this post. Just wait till you ask her if she wants a timeout & she tells you Yes, or even requests one. The smarts learn to call your bluff. Stick with it. I’ve noticed in our circle of friends that those of us who do this and have been consistent have kids who do the timeout & say they’re sorry, etc… And the others are struggling. You’re setting good boundries and if you don’t think you can set them at two, imagine what they’ll be like at 12.

    Ours will be 3 in May & her favorite thing now is when she gets out of timeout to either give one of us a time out or one of her dolls. You can ask her why said person/doll is getting the timeout & she’ll tell you for hitting/pushing/biting, etc…They’re smart, too smart.

  • Jaap

    Oh, and my kids will sleep in their cribs for a long, long time as well. Cribs rule!

  • AmyFrances

    When I was a kid, I spent many an hour in my room for misbehaving and was sent to bed early on about a thousand occasions, and I didn’t grow up to have any crazy bed phobias.

  • LisaG

    I’m going to add my apology to you in advance for giving advice, but I have to agree with geokaz (and I do have some credentials as a parent of 3 great teenagers and a teacher for the past 10 years). When I give my seminars on communication in families, I always tell my parents that all emotions are acceptable, it’s just that a lot of behavior isn’t. So, requiring a child to apologize may be asking a child to express a feeling she may not really feel. What I find from kids who are disciplined like that is that sometimes what they learn is that “Sorry” makes all behavior okay. WHACK! Sorry. Whack! Sorry. etc. Feel free to be pissed off, kid, just don’t hit people!

  • Jaap

    Love the story! And SO recognizable. In fact, in my life I’ve never been hit in the face before, until Feline did so out of frustration.