I woke up this morning and I decided I won't yell at my kids today. Seems easy enough, right?
Wrong. You see, although my husband may disagree with you, I tend to be a fairly patient person. I'm extremely patient when it comes to other peoples' children and only slightly less patient when it comes to my own but I'm allowed to feel this way since I grew them, endured the awkward and uncomfortably long ten month gestation period with them and had them cut from me using frighteningly sharp objects. Twice, mind you.
I try not to yell often but I yell because I can often predict what is about to happen. I yell so as to avoid the prediction from becoming real life. Take for instance, example A:
Carter has an affinity for filling the dog's water bowl each day. He likes to think he's completing his "chores" and I like to think he's doing one less thing that I would have to do that day and so it's a win-win. Sometimes Sheepie doesn't feel like drinking the water right away and Carter considers this a personal affront. He is so offended that he often feels the need to carry the water bowl around the house after the dog, commanding him to "Drink, Sheepie!"
I'm sure you can see where this is going. Time and again I tell Carter that he can't carry the full bowl of water around the house. In my patient mom-voice I explain how it's too heavy and too full and it will spill and then it will be a mess and someone could slip and break an arm and then we have to go to the hospital where it's not a scary place but it's not somewhere we want to be on a Tuesday morning before Kelly & Michael. You know, all of that cause and effect nonsense that I'm supposed to impart on them.
In all of his independent three-year old glory, he practically flips me off as he continues to carry the bowl around the house. Lo and behold, what happens but on the third pass around the kitchen the water bowl tips, slips and falls to the floor spilling half of a Brita pitcher's worth of water all over the place.
I ball my fists. I take deeps breaths. But I just finished cleaning the kitchen and I'm exhausted. And I politely asked Carter not to do this very thing 57 times.
And so it happens. I raise my voice and yell, "I TOLD YOU SO!" as if that's really going to prove something. As if that's really going to make the water clean itself up.
But that's not the only time I yell. I yell when the boys are chasing each other around the house. I yell after timeouts have been wasted and polite reprimands fall on deaf little ears. I yell when the toddler throws the carefully folded laundry out of the basket onto the bedroom floor. I yell when he feeds his lunch to the dog and when the baby is perched precariously on a toy because he saw his brother climb the same way just minutes ago.
Most of the time I yell because I don't know what else to do and sometimes it just makes me feel better. I need to yell less.
So today? Today I'm not going to yell. I'm going to ball my fists and take deep breaths and even let myself out onto the deck if I need to but no matter what happens, I will not yell.