including me, if I do say so myself.
So, can I have some, too? This will be longish, so skip to the bolded stuff if you are in a hurry.
Linus is almost 3 (his birthday is in July). Deirdre is 16 months. They are only about 5 pounds different, but he is much taller. Lately he pushes her down all the time. Mostly out of what seems like random neutral impulses, but sometimes out of anger and meanness (like when they're fighting over a toy) and sometimes she's just a scapegoat: he's pissed off about something else entirely and charges her. Most of the time he pushes her from the front (shoves her chest/belly) or the side (shoves a shoulder); sometimes, though, he charges after her from behind, catches her around the neck or shoulders, and pulls her down.
This is several times a day, all day, every day. They also play together (toddler parallel play and lately a good bit of cooperative play), and hug and kiss and cuddle each other, and she follows him around a lot. And whatever precipitates the shoving, even anger, is really fleeting, since he's a toddler with the emotional attention span of a cabbage moth. So keeping them separate is neither attractive nor necessary, and as I'm home alone with them most of the time, it's also not really logistically likely.
I've been giving him 2 minute time-outs. They are having zero effect on Linus. And, because he won't comply if we don't sit sentry, Deirdre is making a weird connection: sometimes Linus pushes her and her reaction is to laugh delightedly and run to the corner. She thinks Keep Linus in the Corner is a game.
Sometimes, her reaction is no reaction. At 16 months, she still falls down randomly a lot anyway, so she doesn't even notice, really. Other times, of course, she cries because he hurts her or scares her or makes her sad. But that's definitely the minority of the time.
SO. Here's where I need advice
. I think he's too young to really get the connection of time-out with this particular behavior, since it's so impulsive. I don't think he can weigh the possibility of a punishment in the quarter of a second it takes him to decide to do it. I ALWAYS address it when he does it, and explain why/how it's wrong on a case by case basis (you need to use words/share/touch gently) and the immediate consequence (she is sad/you could hurt her/you did hurt her/she is scared). But I'm thinking I might skip the time-out except in the case of intentional meanness-
-like when he's pissed off at his Legos and goes and shoves her because he's frustrated and she's a handy target. And re-categorize the rest of the more benign stuff as normal toddler pecking order stuff. Especially when she doesn't care otherwise.
Is that wise experienced parenting, or is it just stupid? Do I need to be consistent, and call all pushing the baby same? Mandatory sentencing, or judicial prerogative?