Word Winding

attempting to spin cacophony into sanity

Archive for the tag “yelling”

Orange Updated

So after two weeks of prompts to track, analyze, and derail yelling via the Orange Rhino project, I have come to a surprising conclusion.

I don’t yell that much.

When I do yell at Owlet, it is almost always when she is behaving roughly toward me or Platypup, or making him cry in some other way.


I am still finding this process valuable. I may have a handle on keeping the volume down, but I still feel plenty angry more often than I’d like. The other day we were prompted to define the aspects of a trigger that can and cannot be changed. Here’s mine:

“I cannot change the fact that my daughter sometimes makes her brother cry or is too rough with me, but I have a lot of options for (1) trying to keep a better eye on things during tired/grumpy/stressful moments, (2) responding as gently as I can while still maintaining safety, and most importantly (3) seeing all the wonderful things she does do, including being gentle most of the time.”

Plus, lately Owlet has been impersonating my child-self. I will say something to stop or otherwise correct her at a normal speaking volume and she will loudly proclaim, “you yelled at me!” At first my response was always, “no, I wasn’t loud at all,” but then I remembered having felt exactly the same way. To an adult, yelling = loud. End of story. But to a kid? It’s all about tone.

Anyway, it is apparently goal-setting time. Mama Rhino has decreed it. (Well, she decreed it yesterday, but hey, I’m not too badly behind.) Further, she says we are more likely to achieve our aims if we make them public. Of course, I immediately thought of you.

So here they are. We were guided toward setting some sort of time limit or other achievable number, but that’s just not how I roll.

(1) stop yelling, except in truly dangerous situations.

(2) stop complaining, out loud or to myself. Find ways to rephrase if it needs to be said, and strive to let it go if it doesn’t.

(3) stop verbally correcting behavior as much as possible. Whenever relevant, focus instead on becoming a more effective demonstrator.

(4) every morning, make tea and instead of immediately checking email, bustling around, or worst, setting it down in “a safe place” and drinking its sad lukewarm oversteeped murk hours later, spare a moment to fill up with love for two amazing kids and their heckuva dad while savoring it.

(5) stretch ye olde weake memory! Every night, review the high points of the day, ideally in conversation. Is there really a reason to tally life with sorrows, disappointments, and frustrations rather than, well, not doing that?


Dances with Crayons

Holding a miscellaneous container full of something, Owlet waits to catch my eye.

Then she dumps it on the floor.

Aaaaugh! I am weary of being bad cop, good cop, anything cop mom. Having to select a response (or non-response) to upended containers is among my least favorite of parenting activities. Give me the poopy diaper any day.

I read peaceful parenting articles and blogs and Facebook comment threads like it’s my job, because, well, it is my job, and I’ve had a lot less training for it than for my “real” job. I’ve read lots of really excellent suggestions for dealing with the above situation. Sometimes I role-play them in my head while falling asleep, drowsily convincing myself it will work tomorrow.

I have tried all of the following strategies, arranged for your convenience in order according to how well I think they work, from makes-me-feel-like-an-ogre to makes-me-feel-like-a-fairy-princess:

– Yelling. (Not intentionally, but yes, I have tried it. Multiple times. Sorry, innocent Platypup, whose ear is usually too close to my big fat mouth. Sorry, my dear Owlet. I do earnestly apologize afterward, and usually bring it up again at bedtime in a calm, cozy way, but I know I just need to stop doing it, already.)

– Demanding that she clean up by herself. (Sure mom. Nice try.)

– Asking her to clean up with me, with blatantly forced cheer. (This one works just fine if it was an accident, but otherwise not so much.)

– Cleaning it up myself while explaining what we do and do not do with our crayons, breakfast cereal, etc. (Success in that the mess gets cleaned up, but still sort of hairy around the ears in an ogrish way.)

– Cleaning it up myself while maintaining as little expression or interaction as possible. (Same as the previous example, but maybe the ear hair isn’t quite so long and luxurious.)

– Cleaning it up myself and attempting to make it look like the most fun thing in the world. (IF –big if — I’m able to pull this one off, it is fantastic. I am, sadly, not often able to muster up the appropriate mood. But it’s worth it and I should keep trying.)

– Making a game around cleaning it up that is simply irresistible. (Same as previous with extra fairy dust.)

– Say something simple, like “Crayons are for drawing, not throwing” as gently as possible and then step away from whatever I was doing and pull her in for a hug. Do a quick check to make sure she doesn’t need to eat or use the bathroom, and find out what she would like to do together. Casually mention that talking to Mommy about what you need is usually more effective than throwing things. Then, if it seems possible, work the picking-up into the game plan as Step One — “Great, first we’ll just clean this mess quickly and then we’ll do that thing you want to do” — or, if it seems like immediate bonding is required first, make picking-up Step Two — “Sure, we can do that now. After we finish we’ll tackle this mess.” (This one always works, complete with wand and sparkly wings. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible due to baby brothers, time sensitive cooking moments, etc. But I think it is more possible than I’m willing to see in the moment. Gotta make this the standard response whenever feasible.)

I’d love to learn from you other Fairy Princess/Ogre types out there. Anything that does or doesn’t work for you?

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