After my last update, I got a lot of email and comments from many who were concerned as to "how" we were going to be disciplining Jenelle. Many could not understand why it was necessary. Believe me, we realize she has no ability to communicate with us (which could be most of our problem) and that she is mentally retarded. If anyone knows Jenelle well - it would be us! Trust me, we are going to approach this delicately.
On the drive home from UCLA on Monday, Brett and I decided that when Jenelle started crying for no apparent reason (like she usually does in the evenings) that we would put her in her bed for a "time out" each time. This would provide a safe way to keep her by herself. When placing her in her bed, we would explain that she is getting a "time out" for crying (or throwing a tantrum or whatever fits.)
Tuesday night when I got home from work, Jack and Brett were playing a game, and there was no Jenelle to be found. I looked at Brett and said, "Where is Jenelle?" and he smiled and said, "In time out!" When I found her in her room, she was sitting quietly in her bed and looked up at me and smiled. I brought her back out to the living room and she was perfectly happy until we started eating dinner (a favorite time for her to cry out.) As she started crying, I made sure she was OK (checking her diaper, etc.) and then took her to her room for time out. I explained that she was getting a "time out" for throwing a tantrum. After 5 minutes, I retrieved her from the room, and the rest of the evening was fine.
So, the first day went well and to me, it sounds like she is getting the idea. And as cruel as it sounds (if she were a typical child) it has been less stress on us as well.
The saddest thing happened after I put her to bed Tuesday night. We went through our usual routine; dressing, setting up her IV pump, turn out the lights and turn on the music, etc. I was on the computer for a few minutes, intending to check in on her to see if she was asleep, and all of a sudden, I heard her crying. I ran into her room, and she was face down in bed just sobbing. I picked her up and couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I said, "Jenelle, you aren't in "time out" - it's night night time!"... And you know what, she looked at me and smiled a little. I gave her a hug and put her back to bed, reassuring her that is was time to go to sleep. I left again and 5 minutes later she was out!
I'm not sure why she was crying in bed, but it broke my heart a little to think that she could have thought she was in time out without needing it! Also, it makes me thing that she truly understands us more than we know. So, rewarding her good behavior is easy, but I think this "time out" thing will work as long as we talk her through it! I think she has the capability to understand and hopefully "time out" will soon be something we don't need.
Wednesday night was much better. There were no episodes of "crying", but Jenelle did move a lot. As I put her to bed, I reassured her that she had been a good girl this evening, and that it was time for sleep. I think she knows the difference.