I am listening to Austen scream and wretch through his first real time out right now, waiting for the magic word. An hour ago, that word would have been "sorry". He pinched my neck, hard—something he knows not to do—when I told him he couldn't have a second cookie, and when he refused to let go, I pried his fingers off. That's when he hit me.
Over the next 10 minutes I got avoidance, and then the toddler equivalent of a teenage "I'm SOR-RY!" in the form of a hard poke to the shoulder and then the chin. That's when Al and I agreed that he needed the time out. I'd have preferred not to use his crib as the time out area, since I don't want him to associate the place he sleeps with being punished, but when it came down to it, I couldn't think of anywhere else to put him that would communicate how serious we were (and that would keep him from tearing things up and/or just playing).
I can tell you that it fucking sucks to sit here listening to him scream and wretch and moan nononono, but I'm not going in there until he either gets control of himself or says the magic word—the word that would indicate that it's not all about him and the injustice of being plopped into his crib fully clothed, without any dinner or cuddling or singing. It's a word, unlike "sorry", that I know he knows how to say clearly and with full understanding of its meaning. (He usually expresses "sorry" by kissing or hugging, rather than saying the word.)
I hope I'm not waiting out here all night, and that he doesn't lose his voice from all the screaming before he has a chance to say it. I also wonder if he knows that it's in his power to end the ordeal right now. Come on, buddy, you can do it. All you have to say is "mommy."