The Magic of 1-2-3

Um. Hi. I think I just uncorked the secret of the universe, or shall I say, the toddlerverse and I can't believe no one told me/ it took so long for me to figure this one out for myself. It's the only area of discipline I've tried that works EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. And no, it's not threatening time outs. (Archer LOVES time outs because it means he gets to stand in his crib, with his face pressed to the window overlooking our neighbor's garden, where he waves and says "Hi! Hiiiiii! Hiiiii! Muuuuah! Hiiiiii! Hi! Hi! Bye! Hi! Bye!" for ten minutes.)

Chores as discipline don't work either because Archer's obsessed with helping around the house. Dusting is his second favorite hobby after brushing his teeth and my teeth and the dog's teeth and his toy's teeth and his shoe's teeth. (I don't ask questions.) He also enjoys sweeping and wiping off the table with a wet paper-towel. (Cannot WAIT until he's old enough for dishes. I HATE dishes.)

But. But. BUT! There is a glorious (just glorious!) trick I have found and it works. EVERY. FRIGGIN. TIME. If Archer's MIA, and I need him to come here this instant? All I have to do is count to three and magically he appears. Or gets up. Or obeys me. It's like magic.




And suddenly, out pops Archer from behind a shelf at the local bookstore, running at me full speed.




And out climbs Archer out of the stroller he insists on living, sleeping and eating all three meals in, since it came c/o Brio in the mail last week.




And into the bathroom zooms Archer, yanking his shirt off on his way to the bath.

Why didn't anyone tell me about this oh-holiest-of-secrets? And why does it work in such a miraculous way?

Actually, don't answer that. I don't want to know. I just want it to NEVER END.



In other news, Archer finally started speech-therapy and guess what? It's not so bad.

In other (other) news, Vagina is For Lovers tees are now officially on sale c/o my life partner in crime. Buy one, here and then call me, so we can be twins at school tomorrow.


Kyran | 4:21 AM

"Don't MAKE me COUNT," is what we say around here.

And now that two of our boys are well past toddlerhood,

"Don't make me count AGAIN."

Welcome to the ranks of the initiated.

Meanie | 4:52 AM

ohhhh yeahhh. i bought the book 1 2 3 Magic when I was at my wits end with my then 3 three year old. it works! though sometimes we all need a refresher....

Woman on the Verge | 5:04 AM

The unknown at the end of like magic.

Emery Jo | 7:15 AM

Oh hell this is so CRAZY because I just accidentally discovered this a couple of days ago too! I started counting to three for some reason, and suddenly Ezra was like playdough in my hands. mwa ha ha!

PunditMom | 7:32 AM

I swore I would never do that (or other stuff, like 'because I said so'). But it works. I don't know what they think is going to happen when we get to three?

Anonymous | 9:57 AM

Mine is more like counting to five, and even then, I have to feign getting up (harder and harder to do as the belly, she grows bigger weekly) to make my point. Maybe I used 1-2-3 too much at first? I don't know.

I also know that standing in a boring corner works well for time outs. Gabe liked time out, too, as soon as his grandparents bought him a Time Out Stool, complete with a timer on it that he couldn't tamper with. Soon, Time Out was a guessing game of when the timer would ding. Yeah, now, it's just a stool that helps him reach the sink to wash his hands and the real time out is a corner with no distinguishing features.

Jesse | 10:27 AM

We go to five (because three doesn't always work). If we have to go all the way to five, then she gets a time out with nothing to do (2 min because she's 2). If we get to three, then she gets a stern talking-to and has to spend time with whichever of us she DOESN'T want to be with for a couple minutes. But otherwise, if she comes early, she gets corrected (if needed) and we stay as cheerful as possible.

And the counting works because of what they're afraid you're GOING to do (though I have rarely had to pop her bum - only when she attempts to do something dangerous like run away into the street or busy parking lot!).

Anonymous | 1:33 PM

I really need to try the 123 thing. What's been working for me lately is taking away toys. (I know that sounds so mean, doesn't it?) Mainly it's when he's being aggressive and knows he's not supposed to be acting that way. Quite a few times he's gotten too rough with the cat or mouthy (goes to bite) with me and I've said, "Ah ah ah, do you want to lose a toy?" and he stops.

If I can successfully work the 123 trick in when we're trying to leave somewhere it would be golden!

mexi | 2:20 PM

it SO does not work for me anymore. used to, but no mo'. for me it stopped when my guy started finishing the count once i started and followed it up with, "fuuunnnny." when you find the next thing that works...let me know.

Mimi | 2:59 PM

Oh, does not work for me at all!

With my 6 YO -- threaten to take away the Game Boy.

My 2 YO -- threaten Time Outs (against a wall in a room by himself)

Cute pics of your little guy!

Lynn | 3:52 PM

Maybe I should try THIS with my
co-workers since it works so well with your toddler! Wish me luck ;)

GHD | 5:59 PM

GGC- Thanks for unlocking the secret of the "toddlerverse" for the rest of us. It's so simple, I think it may just work on my little guy...

...but, then again, ANYTHING is better than being that screamy mommy at Target.

lynn- I found that all that advice from parenting mags worked even BETTER on my co-workers...

tricia | 8:29 PM

not sure why it works either but it's universal. works on other people's kids to. it's beginning not to work anymore on mine. boo hoo glad you love his therapist. we absolutely adore ours. friday will be our very last session with her as we have aged out of the regional center. the boys are really going to miss her and i will miss my twice weekly free hour. enjoy yours.

Malice | 1:25 AM

I absolutely love loVE LOVE the one...two...three. Here's a secret for later on in his life. It still works when they're 10 and 6! No joke. I plan on using it when my kids are 18. Because it's just. That. Good.





don't make me count to...

S.T. | 8:16 AM

Yep, it works like magic with my 7 and 4 y.o.'s, too!

Anonymous | 9:40 AM

i'm not sure why 1,2,3 works, but it really does... i guess they think some unknown terror approaches after 3? glad to hear archer's speech therapy is ok.

ps. i hate dishes too, can you send him over here in a few years? thanks.

kittenpie | 12:38 PM

Now it's just: "Do I need to count?"

But here's secret v. 2.0: eventually they will learn to count and know that 3 is NOT the highest you could count. I've started counting DOWN from 3.

Anonymous | 12:42 PM

Don't question it! For some reason it works here, too, and has for 3+ years. Even though nothing has ever come after the "3", and I've never clarified what would come after the "3". The numbers are, apparently, enough.

Binky | 3:04 PM

If that works for my daughter, I'll be indebted to you. Because I would not have thought of it myself. Why do I need everything spelled out for me?!?!

Anonymous | 5:41 PM

My 7 mo old twins will yell when I feed them at the same time because (a. it isn't coming fast enough & b. the other baby is getting fed). So I count spoonfulls. 3 each. And they will wait patiently while I say. 1, 2, 3. I guess it puts some perameters on how long they need to wait. But they can count to 3 at 7 months for sure.

Laura McIntyre | 3:04 AM

LOL Thats cute, i just make everything into a race with my toddlers and it works wonders