The whining is back. Not nearly to the degree it was here before, but it has definitely returned.

As I’ve mentioned before, Mr. Awesome and I can be hardass parents when needed. Never ones to shy away from a challenge, we bravely faced sleep training head on. Twice. (It took us a while to become the hard asses we are today.) Sleep training actually trained US for the times when we have to sit and listen to the little man scream at us for some atrocity we have done to him or some precious toy we have removed after it was lobbed at our heads.

Our sleep training loosely followed Dana Obleman’s Sleep Sense program, and given the fact that is pretty much saved our marriage, I am a true believer. She sends out emails every now and then with tips and solutions, most of which haven’t applied to us since the sleep problems ended, but once in a while one will come along that’s proven very useful.

The other day an email arrived from heaven Dana and it was entitled The One Weekend Whining Cure. Um, hello?! Invest ONE weekend and say goodbye to whining forever? I’M IN! Without going into all the details, the basic “One Weekend Whining Bootcamp” premise is that you give a time out every time the child whines. She says to explain the plan to your child, choose a consistent location, get an egg timer, and go for it. (Again, there is more to it that just this, but I don’t want to violate any copyright laws. There’s a scary warning on the first page.)

Now, we typically don’t always follow every child-rearing rule to the letter. For example, we have yet to buy the egg timer. For the most part though, even the promise of a time out is now enough to get him to speak in a “big boy” voice. Yes, we have to threaten promise this at least 20 times a day, but it does seem to be making a difference. With one rather GLARING hitch.

How the HELL do you give a time out when you’re out of the house? The carpet at the end of our hallway doesn’t exactly come with us to the grocery store, and I’m not about to sit my son down with an egg timer in the middle of frozen foods. So how do you make good on your promise that any whining results in a time out when you can’t follow through?

I’m certainly not one to sit home all day every day, given the lack of decent daytime programming on television. When we were kids, parents didn’t think twice about locking a misbehaving kid in the car if the situation called for it. Now, we would get Child Services on top of us before we even pressed “lock” on the car remote (not that I’m considering this tactic). Although strapping him into his car seat and walking away does seem tempting at times…I swear I would leave the window open. Please don’t report me. I’M KIDDING.

How do you deal with difficult behaviour when you’re out of the house? Do you just ignore it? Do you do time outs, no matter where you are? Do you promise a time out when you return home, even though a three year old’s memory of the incident will have been wiped clean by the large excavator you saw on the drive back to your house?

I’m at a loss. I may have to stay home forever and start watching TLC marathons of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” and “Say Yes to the Dress.” That alone could be useful as punishment for whining. I may be on to something here… discipline by daytime TV.