Two-year-old grandson Bennett is learning boundaries. During this weekend’s visit, he had a notion he wanted to roam about in the house while grandmother prepared lunch, so I took him to his playroom.

“Out,” Bennett said, pointing in the direction he hoped to go.

“No, Bennett," I said with a wide-eyed grin, "It's you and me."
“Out!” he insisted.
“Me and you!” I answered again in a silly tone.
“Out!” he laughed.

“Me and You,” I continued with more silliness, picking up Mr. Truck to ask if he had seen Mr. Ball Head, then on to inspect and question his pile of toys, one at a time.

Later, brother Thomas joined Bennett briefly to play, but soon, he was ready to move on.

“No!” Bennett called to him, “Me and you!”

Bennett is the youngest of four and sometimes needs to compete for attention when together with his brothers, so he has discovered acting out. This weekend, he also discovered Granddad’s time out, that instead of in a corner, it is in my lap, and that Granddad has strong arms.

“You have three minutes for time out,” I said, and I held up three fingers. Bennett squirmed to escape, then began to whimper.

“I know,” I said softly while stroking and patting his head and arms, “I’m sorry.”

Bennett’s resistance increased and his whimpers turned into a heartbreaking cry. But the more he cried, the more I stroked his head and arms and told him that I understood and was sorry, also to remind him how many fingers were remaining for time out.

When I held up one finger, the worst of Bennett’s resistance and crying was over and he was back to whimpering and some wiggling. Then the wiggling stopped. The only sounds became his soft whimpering and the assurance of my voice that I understood.

“Time out’s over,” I finally said to Bennett, and I relaxed my arms. But Bennett turned over and pressed his head to my chest for another ten minutes to enjoy granddad’s full attention.

Don Loy Whisnant/Journey Notes 8H04