I knew it was going to be a rough day when it started before we could even make it down the stairs to breakfast.

“Noooo!!!!!” Lucy screamed.

“Mom! Lucy pushed me!” Julia snitched.

I was already battle-worn as the night before ended with a naked Lucy, fueled by sisterly motivation, waggling her butt at me from the top of the playset and refusing to come down followed by a Level 6 Mommy Meltdown that inspired Dave to actually get up, clap his hands and shout, “Okay, BEDTIME GIRLS!!!!”

By 9:15 a.m., Lucy was in time out for ripping the pages from Julia’s library book.

I let her sit for the usual two minutes then approached to talk about what she had done. But she refused to talk. In fact, she refused to even make eye contact, rolling her eyes up in her head when I asked her to look at me. So I told her, “Well, then you can stay in time out until you’re ready to talk to me,” while I reconsidered my stance on storing kids in the closet.

The child sat in time out for 45 minutes, people. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES.

And this is how that 45 minutes went:

Me: “Lucy, are you ready to talk?”

Lucy: “NO I NOT!!!”

Twice she thought she’d try talking with me and that went something like this:

Me: “Lucy, did you rip Julia’s library book?”

Lucy: “Yes.”

Me: “Are we allowed to rip books?”

Lucy: “No.”

Me: “That’s right. Ripping books is NOT okay. So, are you going to rip books again?”

Lucy: “Yes!” arms raised in a V.

Add in an offensively satisfied Julia lingering about the scene peppering us with commentary and you’ve got the makings of an inevitable nuclear explosion.

Though every fiber in my body told me it was probably the wrong choice, we went to playgroup that afternoon. It was an act of hope. Or desperation. Surprisingly, it defused the situation. The kids played pretty hard and no one was hit or bitten. I sat in a near-catatonic state on my friend’s back patio which helped me regain enough will to go on the rest of the day.

And so, we are all still alive. No one is residing in the closet. And some days, you call this success in parenting.