Coping Mechanisms: by Winona "Sassy Pants" Lou

I'm learning that we all have things called "coping mechanisms." Today, mom's came in the form of a long chat with a co-worker and fellow mom about "managing attitude"-- out of which she got a frustratingly practical tool that involves some counting and a time-out if she gets to three. I'm learning not to let her get to three because, here's the thing: I hate time-outs. Which leads me to one of MY coping mechanisms: Lists.

I made this list when I was in one such T.O. (yeah, yeah, yeah--she got to three). When mom came up to relieve me of this torture and Talk To Me About Something Important (namely: No Talking Back. No Sassy Pants), I listened, apologized, then asked if I could read her my list of things I was upset about. She obliged--and I share it with you here. For those of you out there who are not 4-year-old-script literate, I'll translate for you: "There are some rules I like and some rules I don't like. I like, "Tell the Truth." That's important. I do NOT like Time Outs. Really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really do NOT."

Mom took this rather well. In fact, she said that I would never have to do one again...as long as I always did what was expected of me. This was exciting news and I ran off to play with my dollhouse, which leads me to Coping Mechanism #2: Pretend Play.
To work through some of my inner-turmoil about this whole episode, I thought it might help to replay it in real time, adding a few things (like a few well-placed kind, thoughtful words on "my" part) and deleting a few things (like the number three). All in all, I think Sister (in red above) learned some very valuable lessons about saying "NO!" to mommy (bad idea) and the importance of time outs (totally a fine thing in my world now that I know I'll NEVER have one. ever. again.)


  1. oh lord. I know this is supposed to be funny but it's kind funny in a "ooh, tough to read" kind of funny way. Winona and Callum should never, ever get together and compare notes...we might be in trouble.

  2. Well, yeah, funny was only a byproduct here. This entry was most definitely a coping mechanism for me! She's testing some attitude limits these days... and the drama can only be nature's way of preparing us for adolescence. In fact, I ran into my midwife at the Y today and she said that 4-5 year olds experience hormonal changes that, pound for pound, are on par with teens... a factoid I found reassuring--giving me some context and a new well of patience to draw from. :)

  3. OMG Julie I am so grateful to read this and your comment about the hormones. HELLO! I have said FREQUENTLY lately "I thought this would come until 16!" Good to know 1)I'm not alone and 2) this attitude is not completely from faulty parenting!