Time out

Bubby got his "first official time out" yesterday. Megan called, rather upset, to tell me that their houseguest had left the bathroom door open, Bubby got in there, and he made a mess. I imagined lotion squirted everywhere, maybe some lipstick drawings on the cabinets, garbage strewn across the room.

Nope. None of the above. It was the age-old toilet paper unrolling.

Kids have been fascinated by toilet paper since its invention, I believe. Andrea was our biggest toilet paper fan when the girls were little. It prompted me to purchase this picture that hung in our main bathroom for years:

Andie was caught in a similarly red-handed fashion many times. Apparently we mentioned it so often as she grew older that she honestly believed that was a picture of her—something I learned only after hearing her point out the picture to a friend she was showing around the house. Many years and bathrooms later, I don't have the heart to get rid of Andie's potty picture so it now hangs in a spare bathroom downstairs.

For Bubby's first hands-on toilet paper unrolling, he was more organized about his chaos: He placed all the unrolled sheets directly into the toilet. (At least he understands a small portion of the potty process! I'm tellin' ya, the kid's a genius.)

Megan busted him fairly quickly, prevented a clogged toilet and placed Bubby in a time out. Being the ever-conscientious pre-K teacher that she is, Megan followed the timeout rules and Bubby's punishment lasted one minute. (For the unenlightened, the rule is one minute per year in age.)

It was a very traumatic minute—for Megan. Other than minor admonishments when Bubby tries to climb as high as he can possibly find a foothold or when he's making a diaper change a difficult and dirty time, Megan hasn't had to do much disciplining of her baby.

So that one minute was about 59 seconds too long for Megan. Bubby, on the other hand, survived it without major psychological harm, it seems. He may have even learned something ("No play!" as Megan firmly stated in her best stern-teacher tone).

When the time was up, Bubby wrapped his arms around his mommy and gave her three big kisses; a sincere apology, I'd say, coming from a kiddo with a vocabulary of fewer than five (very unclear) words.

Still, Megan needed assurance from her mom that she did the right thing, and she was on the phone with me before the slobbery kisses from Bubby had dried.

You did the right thing, Megan. I promise.

(But I'd make sure the bathroom door stays shut going forward, if I were you.)

Great Grandma Idea #23: I'm thinking I need to make our longtime bathroom picture a traveling display, bestowing it on each of the girls' households as the grandkids take turns mimicking their Auntie Andie. With Bubby being the only grandchild so far, it's a pretty safe bet Megan's house will be the first awarded such an honor.