A tree decorating time-out


Okay, I’ll admit. Might not have been a well-thought-out plan. Looking back at all that happened; perhaps it wasn’t really a good idea at all. Then again not many folks out there say, “Hey, let’s do it. It’s a bad idea.”

This time I’ll let you, The Reader, be the judge. Was it a good idea to let a 2-and-a-half-year-old and her little sister decorate our Christmas tree?

Now, before you can make a judgment, you’ll need to know the facts. First, only one person got hurt. Second, only one person was sent to time-out. Third, and perhaps the most important fact of all, our granddaughters, Little One and Sweet Caroline, were bored.

From those seven years growing up at 110 Flamingo Street, I know there’s nothing worse than bored kids on a rainy afternoon. Bored kids always lead to someone getting hurt and someone being in time-out.

Not wanting our girls to be in time-out, I suggested letting them decorate our tree. But all that happened next really wasn’t my fault. It was The Wife’s. After all, aren’t wives supposed to stop their husbands from doing stupid stuff?

When asked this very question, her answer was, “Nowhere in the marriage vows does it say I’m responsible if you decide to do stupid stuff.”

“Well, someone has to be the grownup in this relationship, and it’s certainly not me. Have you read my stories?” She just smiled, gave me a kiss, and then walked away. But she didn’t stop me from letting the girls decorate our tree. So when someone got hurt and someone had to go to time-out, I blamed her.

Seems there wasn’t a day that went by growing up at 110 Flamingo Street that didn’t see at least one of us five kids in time-out. Our time-out was located in the worst possible place our parents could send us: our bedroom. Back in the day we didn’t have any electronics in our room. Not even a television or radio. All I had was Twin Brother Mark.

Mark wasn’t as fun to play with as the electronic games or computers kids have nowadays. Then again Mark never ran out of batteries. Even so, I did try to recharge him once. I was sent to time-out for that one, but it really was his fault. He shouldn’t have held onto the end of that frayed electrical cord when I plugged it into the wall. Sure I told him it would be okay, but he should’ve known better. Mark also crashed a lot, especially when tackled into a wall or pushed off the bed in the middle of the night.

The location of time-out in Old Mrs. Crabtree’s third-grade classroom at Mt. Olive Elementary School was not one, but four places. Get into trouble in her classroom and you’d spend the next hour with your nose in a corner. Her room had four corners, and Old Mrs. Crabtree wasn’t afraid to use all of them.

If you’re wondering, there are 78 tiny holes in the cement blocks at the eye level of a 10-year-old in the front right corner of her classroom. Throw just one misguided spitball that hits her in the head and you’ll get sent to that corner. Not that I’m admitting to spending an inordinate amount of time there, mind you.

Anyone in time-out at big Papa and Gigi’s house doesn’t get sent to their room or even a corner. They get sent to The Island, the Island being Big Papa’s recliner, of course. Just ask The Wife. She says it’s one big ugly brown island in the middle of the living room. For short, the girls and I just call it The Island.

Just one toe off The Island and the alligators have a nice snack. Rumor has it they just love little bitty toes. I’d ask one of them alligators if they really do eat toes if I could only see one. Seems they aren’t just hungry all the time, they’re also invisible.

The Wife said there’s a rule about time-out that my parents and Old Mrs. Crabtree, either weren’t aware of or failed to follow. Seems there’s a maximum time limit that children should stay in time-out: no longer than one minute for every year of age.

This information sure would’ve been helpful to this 7-year-old before the two hours I spent in time-out after that frog incident involving The Sister.

Sooo, just who got bopped on the head with a Lego and who got sent to The Island for time-out? I’ll give you a hint; it was one and the same person.

Seems if you don’t let a 2-and-a-half-year-old and her little sister eat tinsel, chew on lights that are plugged into the wall, and try to break “unbreakable” ornaments you just bought, (which they did, by the way), then you will be bopped on the head with a Lego brick and sent to time-out.

Time-out isn’t so bad as an adult though. After 58 minutes, I was allowed off The Island. Luckily for me, I’d fallen asleep with my two worn-out tree decorators and we all had a nice long nap together.

What a great way to start a new holiday tradition.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog: storiesbyrick.wordpress.com.]