We Yell, We Cry….. Part 1

Saturday was a really sucky parenting day. The kind of day that had me just sitting there, completely defeated, like a child whose mom has just told them they’re not going to the amusement park tomorrow after all.

The day started off ok. I got up just after 7:00am (which is sleeping in for me) and I got the kids out of the house on time for the skating lessons scheduled for 9:30am. That’s when it started. The bickering, the insistent bickering, the “he touched me”, the “he started it”, the “she always get her way”. All this noise is happening behind me while I’m driving and I was doing well. I had decided to stay out of it. I decided to let them work it out. I took deep breaths and just kept driving.

After skating we had only half an hour to be home before we were off to guitar lessons.  I gave the kids some clear instructions (at least I thought they were clear)  “When we get home, don’ t bother taking off your shoes, you can have free time to watch TV, play video games, or go outside if you want.  Please make sure the guitar is downstairs by the door so that we can leave in exactly half an hour. I need to do our meal plan for the week and the grocery list.”

We got inside and I went straight to the computer, created the meal plan, made the grocery list and download my coupons.  BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! (I use the stove timer to keep me on track and the beeping meant the half hour had passed and we had 15 minutes to get to guitar lessons) I closed the laptop and bellowed “Time to go!”  The Life was the only one ready to go, Baby Girl had taken off her shoes and had set herself up to colour, she was terribly upset that it was time to go and couldn’t finish her picture. The whinnying started and then the crying. I was able to talk her down, get her shoes on and to the door in record time.  The Plan was outside playing basketball, the guitar was nowhere to be found.” Where’s the guitar?” I asked (I don’t know why I ask these stupid questions, I knew there was only one place the guitar could be. It was upstairs in his room.)” Hum..? The guitar…? What…?”  This has become his go to response when he’s trying to buy time to think of some B.S to feed me. I.e. Hum..? homework …? What… ?, Hum..? Shower…? what..? This time I put my whispering technique into action. I keep trying to yell less and I have found that whispering sometimes has the same effect.

I dropped The Plan off at guitar lessons 8 minutes late and headed to the grocery store right next door with baby Girl and The Life.  I was happy to have scored a “Parents With Children” parking spot ( it’s all about the small wins) but before I really got to bask in my parking spot win I found myself in an argument with Baby Girl in regards to why she shouldn’t bring in her pink princess cup to the grocery store. Where the cup came from? I don’t know. But there it was, and she wanted to bring it into the store.  All of you moms know that a five year old bringing something into the grocery store can only have one of 2 outcomes:

  1. The cup will be lost and there will be crying
  2. The child will grow tired of holding the cup and you will end up carrying it or worse you will put it in your purse where it will remain until the end of time

This time I put my natural consequences tactic into effect. The concept is you let them do what they want, and then allow them to suffer the consequences and so I explained there was a good chance the cup would be lost and that I would not be carrying the cup if she grew tired of it. She chose to bring the cup anyway.

We got to the grocery store and not ten minutes had gone by and already the following had happened:

  1. Baby Girl and The Life had a heated argument over who would put the cucumbers in the cart
  2. Baby Girl and The Life had a heated argument over who would put the pears in the bag
  3. Bay Girl and the Life had a heated argument over whose fault it was that there were 7 pears on the floor
  4. Baby girl knocked over an apple display which sent me chasing apples in the aisle
  5. An old lady paid the price for my natural consequences technique when I gave in a let Baby Girl push the cart.

I kept it together though, I really did. Yes there was some speaking through clenched teeth, but overall I really did remain composed.

The Plan joined us after his guitar lessons “Do I have to stay here? How much more do you have to buy? Can I wait in the car? “This is where I started to lose it. Not so much outwardly but I did feel something snap inside me.

We were able to finish the shopping and make it back to the car without much further incident, until of course all the bags were in the car and baby girl asks “Where is my cup?” AUGHHGHGHGHG. The cup was gone. She blamed The Life because she remembered him having it by the pears, but after sending the boys back inside to look around, the cup was nowhere to be found. The crying started, not the regular I’m sad, I scraped my knee crying but the “I’m mad and I want the world to hear it” crying with the intermittent whining and the boogers and the name calling targeted at her brothers.

This time I snapped. I had everyone in the car; I finished putting on my seat belt and snapped. At the top of my lungs I told her how I had warned her this would happen, how she should trust me, how she shouldn’t blame others and I went on and on and on and on.

To be continued………….

Grandpa and the War of 1812

Last Month I wrote about some of my favorite family quotes in Why a Unicorn is Better Than a Pony and so I have decided to start a reoccurring Blog post made up of Quotes of the Month. My kids are always saying all kinds of things that I think are worth noting somewhere and once in a while I’ll even catch myself saying something to the kids that sound absolutely ridiculous.
So here we are. Below you will find the top quotes said by my family in the month of July.

1. We’re not wrestling. We’re hugging on the floor- The Plan_ in response to my ”STOP WRESTLING!” when I heard a commotion upstairs.
2. “Is that the war grandpa fought in?” – The Life_ as my husband talked to the boys about the war of 1812
3. “If you make me yell at you I’m going to kill you!” _ Me to the boys as they were getting “restless” in a hotel room we had been stuck in all day and I was ten days into my Orange Rhino Challenge.

This next one a small excerpt of a conversation between The Plan and The Life at the dinner table when the topic turned to how babies are made:

The Life – “So do they have to take their clothes off?”
The Plan – “This is what I don’t get. They don’t have to but they choooose to.
Technically they only have to take off their pants.

Join me again next month when one of my kids will say “blahblah blahblah blah
blah blah” (anyone out there know where that’s from?)

Turns Out I’m the Problem

It has been 7 days since I last raised my voice (in anger) to any of my kids. It turns out that they are perfect little angels and that I am the one with the problem. Who would have thought? All this time I’ve been placing the blame on them. THEY are driving me crazy. THEY are too loud. THEY are too demanding. THEY never do what they are told. THEY complain about everything.

Turns out that THEY are not the problem at all. THEY are kids. Perfect, fragile, kids. I, LibertyDee, I am the problem.

It’s only been seven days but what I have learned in that short time about the kids and more importantly about myself is tremendous. Let me break it down:

What I have learned about my kids:

  1. They will get in the car if I get in and turn it on.
  2. Just because they roll their eyes doesn’t mean they are not going to help anyway.
  3. They will yell less at each other if I am not yelling at them.
  4. They are willing to listen and are even more attentive when I explain something in a normal tone.
  5. They really, truly appreciate that I’m trying not to yell. My boys actually thanked me!

What I have learned about myself

  1. I’m a control freak. I didn’t know this about myself but when I have caught myself getting angry with the kids it has been because I’m not getting what I want, when I want it, how I want it.
  2. I’m more likely to snap when I’m tired. I find the most challenging times have been right after dinner when all I really want is some peace and quiet but there’s none in sight.
  3.  I am capable of dealing with issues without raising my voice.
  4.  Being respected and being feared are two very different things. By yelling I am teaching the kids to fear me.
  5. Yelling had become habit. I was yelling without even thinking about it. Now that I am aware of it, it seems unreasonable to raise my voice in the daily scenarios I find myself in with the kids.

As you can see from the list above, They did not need to change, it was not them that was the problem, it was I who needed to make a change and it was I who was the problem.

I know that this does not mean that I have been miraculously cured from yelling and that this doesn’t mean that I will never raise my voice ever again. But if I can do it for seven days why not do it for seven more?

Nothing-you-do-for

I’m Being Tested – The Orange Rhino

I came across the Orange Rhino Challenge and decided to join in on the “fun”.

The Challenge is to not yell at the kids for 365 days. Crazy I know. I’m a yeller. Actually I come from a long line of yellers. Yelling is in my genes. This might come as surprise to some people who know me because I tend to come across as a pretty calm and collected person and I am. Just not with my kids. My kids have a way of knowing exactly how to push my buttons and I lose my patience on a regular basis.

I have taken the challenge in a bid to become a better mom and a better person overall. The yelling never feels good and in reality, whatever the kids are doing or not doing for that matter, is not because they can’t hear me. So in really, yelling is not logical.

I woke up on my first official first day of not yelling and did a little affirmation ” Today, I will be patient. I will not yell at my kids and less yelling equals more love” I even called in a special favour ” Dear God, please shower me with patience today”

I think asking God for help was my mistake though. I don’t remember where it was, but I remember seeing it or reading it somewhere that when you ask God for things he cannot simply give them to you but what he can do is give you opportunities to practice. So on this very day when I asked for patience I think he heard me and showered my with opportunities to practice patience through the following tests:

Let me set the stage. I am supposed to leave the house at 7:30am so that I can drop the kids off and catch a train at 8:05. In reality, I never catch that train. I always end up catching the very last train that leaves at 8:20am.

Test #1 @ 6:50am – I had left a hamper full of clean, folded clothes in the boys bedroom and gone to get dressed in my own room. I heard some arguing (which I ignored) and then a “MOM, MOM, MOM”. I ran over because it sounded terribly urgent. When I got there I found that the boys had managed to empty the hamper (one was blaming the other) and then had stuffed everything back in. They were now arguing because The Life had not helped stuff place things back and The Plan had threatened to punch The Life in the face.

Test #2 7:10am  – It has been very hot around here so I have been dressing my baby girl in her summer dresses to keep her as cool as I can. On this day, she decided she wanted to wear a long sleeve shirt and her winter boots.   I pleaded with her to let me get her dress on but she crossed her arms in front of her and wouldn’t budge.

Test#3 7:30am– I finally bribed Baby Girl into putting the dress on by offering her a freezie but then I tried to brush her hair. How can a girl who is so concerned about what she wears be happy to leave the house with a bird’s nest on her head. I ended up having to chase her around the dining table with a brush in my hand while she ran with both hands over her head singing ” No, no, no don’t brush my beautiful hair”

Test#4 7:50am  As I’m leaving the house The Life says he has to go get something from upstairs and he promises to be just 1 minute. I tell him I’ll wait in the car. I gather our things, walk to the car, buckle Baby Girl into her seat, promise The Plan that he will not die of heat if he gets into the car while we wait for The Life, and tune the radio to my favorite radio station. Still no sign of  The Life.

Test #5 8:00am – The Life is finally in the car as I’m pulling out of the driveway I notice that he has left the front door wide open. AUGHHH!

Test # 6 8:15am – As I’m leaving Baby Girl’s daycare I realize my wallet is not is not in the car. I was positive I had left it in the car the night before and forgotten to go back and get it.  I tell the boys to get out of the car and help me look for it.  The Plan starts complaining about how hot it is and how he doesn’t want to get out of the car.

Test #7 8:25 am- (yup my train is far gone, I’ll have to take a bus) We are back home to find my wallet. I stress the importance that they help me look everywhere. The Plan runs upstairs, The Life goes over to the computer area. (all good signs) The Life stands in front of the computer for a minute or two then turns to me and says ” I can’t find it anywhere”.  The Plan runs down the stairs and says ” Where do you want me to look?” Too which I respond ” So you didn’t see it upstairs?” He reaches into his pocket, pulls out some candy and says ” I haven’t looked. I went to get my Push Pop!”

I did finally find my wallet (in the car) and dropped the boys off with my mom, and got in to work just after 10:00am. But I didn’t yell. Not once. It was nice to do that final 10 minute drive to the station feeling good that I had held my composure instead of feeling guilty about whatever I had yelled about that morning.  I have now officially completed three days of no yelling  and at 8:00am of Day 4 I’m still doing well. Don’t think that  just because it ‘s early doesn’t mean I haven’t been tested. Please refer to above.