MegaLoud: A Day With No Yelling, Part 2


Tired of yelling at my children; basically letting them turn me into Momma Monster, I decided to see if I could get through a day without losing my cool. As described in Part 1, my childrens’ ridiculous behavior often leads me to exhibit my own ridiculous behavior. Call it “going crazy,” “losing it,” or “acting like a fool,” I thought it needed to change. How can I teach my kids to deal with stress and frustration properly if such things drove me to throw an adult-sized, toddler-worthy tantrum? Could I possibly change this behavior and go a whole day without yelling?

Short answer, YES! I did it! I can’t say it was easy, but it helped that my hubby woke up on the wrong side of the nursery rocking chair (where he “napped” with baby at 5am), which left him the irritable Daddy Monster, yelling in the early morning hours. It is surprisingly easy to keep my cool when I witness someone else acting the fool. Calm down, I think to myself, upon hearing him act the way I usually do. I kept this in mind during times when I would usually blow up.

Paige, being especially Impish

When tempted to freak out, I would instead bring my child (ok, usually Paige the Imp) close and whisper to her about her behavior. I noticed myself getting more quiet, as opposed to louder. It helped that my Dad didn’t think I could make it past 2pm. My folks actually stopped by around then and, strangely enough, this was when I almost lost it. After repeatedly asking Paige to put away a toy that baby wanted, but could not have, and her repeatedly ignoring my request, I felt my blood begin to boil. I needed to prove to my Dad, as well as to myself, that I could do this, I was able to keep my rage in check.

So, yes, I made it the whole day and didn’t lose my cool. The next question is, how long will this last? Hmmmm. After getting up with baby every two hours (again) last night, coupled with the kids stuck in the house on a rainy weekend, I honestly don’t know if I’ll make it to lunch. I’m going to remind myself, when the steam begins to pour from my ears, to set a good example and, maybe more importantly, not let them see me act the fool. I do want them to take me seriously, after all!

MegaLoud: A Day With No Yelling, Part 1


Bad habits are hard to break. I know; I’ve broken some (like smoking and drinking soda) and practice, still more (namely, yelling and nagging at my family members).  Yes, I yell at my children. I hate that I do this. One thing about bad habits is that you KNOW they’re bad, but you can’t seem to stop. I yell because I am trying to express how angry and frustrated I am. In the heat of the moment, I don’t see any other alternative.

Silly, exuberant, Paige

The anger and frustration is generally directed at my 7 1/2 year old, Paige. She’s the kind of child you might label, challenging. She knows exactly which buttons to push to make me crazy. By “crazy,” I mean red faced, steam coming from my ears, yelling, and door slamming. She refuses to listen to me with regard to. . . anything and everything. She refuses to eat any dinner, at least every other night. She neglects brushing her teeth, then lies about it. She plays too rough with the baby, despite constant reminders. Anything I ask her to do, she responds to by calmly explaining why she’s NOT going to do it. This makes me crazy.

Can you guess which one earned the nickname, “The Imp,” from my sister?

There is actually a second part to how she gets to me. Discipline is all but impossible with her. Nothing seems to get the message through to her. Time-outs (our old stand-by) don’t work (sometimes, she volunteers), and neither does being sent to her room. I’ve taken away countless toys and clothes (I have 2 garbage bags FULL in my closet), I’ve grounded her, and spanked her. I’ve forced her to eat, as well as sent her to bed with no dinner. She just doesn’t care. She’ll just smile and help load toys into the plastic bag, because she doesn’t want to put them away. We’ve tried reward charts and chore charts; bribes and allowance. Nothing seems to have any impact on her behavior. This also makes me crazy.

A quiet moment between Paige and Sophie

Until now, making me “crazy” had one sure result: my yelling, slamming doors, and generally throwing a fit. I’m sure I look ridiculous. I would be mortified if my friends, family, and neighbors saw my behavior. I hate feeling so angry and I hate acting so outrageously. I always start out with good intentions, and with a calm demeanor, but my fuse is short. It doesn’t take long for me to go 0 – 60. I just need to CALM DOWN! I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish this, and I’ve already spoiled the experiment for TODAY. Starting TOMORROW, I’m not going to yell and I’m not going to slam anything. I’m just going to go cold turkey. Any mental preparations I’ve made in the past have not helped. So, please stand by and find out if I can make it one whole day without yelling. It’ll be a Saturday, so all three kids, my husband, and the dogs will be here to present challenges to my resolve. Wish me luck!

MegaRant


Just needing to rant today. I’m losing my mind between the constant night-waking and the unpredictable nap “schedule.” It’s so frustrating when people tell me “she should be on a schedule by now,” and “she’s too old to be waking up so much.” What am I supposed to do with that? I do relay this information to baby, but for some reason, she does not change her behavior.

So, am I supposed to let her “cry it out?” Should I stop rocking and nursing her to sleep? I’m SO at a loss, here.

Aside

MegaMixed Messages


As parents, we all want to do what’s best for our babies. Many do what I do and look online and in books for the answers to parenting questions. It is a quick and convenient way to find advice but, many times, the advice is so widely varied, that we end up more confused than when we started. It’s funny to me that, as different as all the views are, people often swear by their words as the “right way.” We may lean toward the attitudes of our family and friends but, even those I’m close to have very different opinions than mine.

So how do we decipher the best-for-me answer?  Does it help to get MORE information? In trying to figure out how on earth to get my baby to sleep, I’ve read several books and have been to many websites. I often feel I have only really succeeded in feeling guilty for failing all the different methods I have tried to utilize.

Really, what I have done is armed myself with an arsenal of ammo for my bag of tricks. I tend to prefer to be consistent, but Sophia is completely unpredictable; sometimes it helps to be able to change things up, when the going gets tough. For example, Sophia “usually” takes a nice, long 2 hour nap around 9:30 in the morning. Afterward, she’ll take another nap of an hour or so in the early afternoon. If she skips or shortens her morning nap (like, only 20 minutes), then I might try to get some catch-up sleep for her by attempting to put her down every 1 1/2 – 2 hours that she’s awake – as advocated by some sleep-trainers.  If did this technique with her everyday – which I did for a while – she would take cat naps all day. When I did this, I felt tied down to the rocking chair ALL DAY. However, it helps on off days.

There are so many mixed messages out there, regarding parenting techniques. It may get confusing and frustrating to figure out what to do but, tempered with your personal experience and opinion, these can be a great tool. The key is to keep an open mind and to know yourself and your child well. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I know to gather my tools and use my own judgement, before buying into the first thing I read about or to rely on only one “expert’s” view.