The Orange Rhino Challenge Day

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This Thursday May 17th, 2012 is the 1st official “The Orange Rhino Challenge Day” one day where I encourage everyone to take a break from yelling at their kids. To try and go 24 hours without yelling at their kids. 

I know it sounds daunting. But I promise you, it is worth giving a try. How do I know? Because this Thursday, I, the Orange Rhino will be celebrating 100 DAYS without yelling at my kids. 100 Days of LOVING MORE. I have experienced firsthand how hard it is too change the nasty habit of yelling at my kids AND I have experienced just how awesome it is to no longer consider myself a yeller.

Here are the details of how you can participate:

1)      “Post” your name to show your participation on the morning of May 17th in one of four ways: Post at The Orange Rhino Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/TheOrangeRhino) , Comment on Thursday mornings Blog Post at www.TheOrangeRhino.com , Email me at theorangerhinochallenge@gmail.com, or Tweet me at ORchallenge. At the end of the day, Post AGAIN to say how the day went.

2)      Find Support and Give Support  throughout the day by logging on to your method of communication. Feel like yelling? Yell at me. Need advice on how to survive the day? Ask the community. Want encouragement? Seek it from us. This is a day for all parents who want to be Orange Rhinos, who want to be parents who have the energy and determination to forge ahead and parent with more composure and warmth and without the yelling!

3)      Get 3-5 friends to take this ONE DAY challenge with you. Why? Besides the fact that it will help you make it through the day if you text each other and support each other, instead of throwing a 100 day party for myself (and using the money I have saved from future therapy bills for my children!) I am going to DONATE $1.00 per person up to $200 to Habitat for Humanity for every person that participates. Why a charitable donation and why Habitat for Humanity? Well, truthfully, I feel like giving back. I’ve gotten so much out of this Challenge that it is time to give back. As for Habitat, well, if it weren’t for my being able to do home improvements to my house, I would never have had the Epiphany (http://theorangerhino.com/the-epiphany/) that started this Challenge in the first place.

4) Change your FB Profile picture to The Orange Rhino Challenge image to spread the word and to get people asking you about what you are doing further getting you support! It’s amazing how people rooting for you can really help. Go to the BUTTON picture in the right column of my blog and Save As. Then upload it to FB.

5)      Read the Following Posts about what defines yelling and some ways I have learned not to yell to help you (and go to www.TheOrangeRhino.com on Wednesday night for more useful posts…)

http://theorangerhino.com/the-challenge-details/ (definition of yelling per this challenge)
http://theorangerhino.com/you-never-know/ (inspiration to try)
http://theorangerhino.com/orange-rhino-mommy/ (my favorite source of help not yelling)
http://theorangerhino.com/three-fun-alternatives-to-yelling-at-my-kids/ (self explanatory!)
http://theorangerhino.com/sing-my-emotion/ (way not to yell, inspiration)
http://theorangerhino.com/why-the-big-tears/ (way not to yell, inspiration)

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I know not yelling even just for one day sounds laughable. Trust me, I know. I used to yell oh say once an hour, on a good day?! But 117+ days ago on Friday, January 20, 2012 after our handyman busted me yelling at my 4 boys, I had an epiphany; I yell at my kids much more than I like. The next day I committed to going 365 days without yelling. It has not been easy and that first day was BRUTAL. I felt beat up come 7:00. But I did it. I did it. And it felt so fantastic that I was thirsty for more. I knew it was going to take a lot of hard work to go 365 days but I also knew that my kids were worth it. They deserve a mom who loves more and yells less.

After many starts and re-starts I am excited to say that this Thursday I will celebrate 100 days without yelling at my kids.

100 days. I NEVER thought it would be possible. Never. I was (am?!) a yeller beyond belief. I yelled at big things (hitting each other, not listening, potty talk) and really little things (crumbs on the floor, legos dumped out, taking too long to eat). It was out of control, I was not the mom I wanted to be and my children were suffering as a result. Yet here I am, almost at 100 days and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than sharing this joy with others hence the creation of this day.

You see, as hard as it has been, not yelling at my kids has been the greatest gift. Read here to see how I felt after 10 days of not yelling: http://theorangerhino.com/can-you-feel-the-love/ I feel SO MUCH BETTER about myself as a parent and I know my kids feel so much better about me as a mom. It’s a win win. There is simply more love going around and I want everyone to experience what I am feeling.

I hear often from people that they too want to change, that they really wish they didn’t yell but that they truly don’t think they can change. So this is your chance. Just try it for a day. Commit to ONE DAY of not yelling. It will be a HARD day, I’m not gonna lie, BUT it will be worth it. After my first day I literally felt high on life and I floated around the house with excitement. Excitement for the future. For the future improvement in my relationship with my kids. The future improvement of me as a parent. The future improvement of having a quieter, calmer, more loving home.

So just try it. It took me just 1 day of not yelling at kids to realize that while hard, YES I COULD learn to not yell at them. And so you can you.

“You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

www.TheOrangeRhino.com
I can’t yell for 365 days…but I can still pick my nose! 

Red in the Face

97 days down, 268 to go!

Dear #2,

I swear. I didn’t mean to snap at you today.  It’s just that well, I am exhausted. Despite all my efforts to get some rest, to get some resemblance of energy back, I am wiped. I took a two hour nap yesterday and got 8 hours of sleep last night. I ate all my protein and vegetables today and even drank extra water. Oh, and I went for two walks to “revive” myself. Yet here I am exhausted and snappy. I’m doing my best to be nicer to you and your brothers, to be more patient. I promise.

I love you,
Mommy Orange Rhino

*

Ugh. Parental Exhaustion. I don’t need to tell you that raising kids is physically and mentally exhausting. The not sleeping through the night, or the sleeping through but being woken at 5 am. The going up and down stair to get dry clothes because milk “accidentally” spilled. The holding a teething baby all day. The going to and from appointments all day. The being on my feet all day making meals, cleaning up meals, making meals again. The physically breaking up fights over who gets what train.

And then there is the mentally exhausting part. The non-stop worrying about whether or not my child is normal. The non-stop thinking about how I can better help my son. The non-stop talking to myself to NOT YELL. The non-stop talking to MY BOYS to not yell. The non-stop re-directing of their not so good behavior to better behavior. It’s all exhausting. And lately, it’s taking a toll.

The combination of physical and mental parental exhaustion is squashing my ability to handle my darling four energetic, loud, loving boys with as much poise and grace as I wish. Sure, I didn’t yell today and that makes me happy. And yes, I only snapped and it was luckily a level 4 but still. That snap made me feel awful.

Here’s the Scene.

Party City at 11:35 am approximately 25 minutes before lunch time. Three children have just had two chicken nuggets each as their stomachs were growling in the car and I knew that DESPITE the snacks they had at 10:30 that they were not going to make it to 12:15 peacefully. So we hit Wendy’s drive-thru. Nuggets for them, super duper extra large as can be Diet Coke for myself.

Not five minutes into Party City #2 starts in. “I’m hungry. I’m hungry. I’m hungry”

Me: “No you’re not.” I snapped and then luckily caught myself before a tirade started. I continued calmer,

“You just had a snack. And you had a snack an hour ago. You can wait 30 minutes.”

#2: “No, I am REALLY really hungry.” His voice is getting louder and shriller, enough so that people are looking and #1 is starting to cover his ears.

I purposely ignore him and continue looking at baby shower favors because I am finding it uber important to pick the perfect pink container, and quite frankly not only do I not want to be bothered, but also I don’t believe him. #2 is known for crying wolf when it comes to being hungry. Plus, I’m also ignoring him because we are trying hard to not cave into his whining, which is his preferred method of communication.

But finally, something in his voice sounded serious. Like I needed to stop being pre-occupied with my errand and focus on my son. You know that urgency you hear in a child’s voice right before he is going to throw up? Or the one where he is about to pee in his pants, in the middle of Target? The one that makes you stop everything and RUN?! That is what his voice sounded like.

I turned around. Oh my poor, sweet thing.

He was RED and I mean RED in the face. He was clenching his fists, clenching his teeth and trying so hard not to scream, not to have a tantrum. His eyes were full of tears and more were spilling down his hot cheeks. Here he had been trying so hard to communicate to me what he needed and how did I reward his behavior?I snapped at him which I am pretty sure ignited the very angry, very exasperated RED face.

Oh sh*t I thought to myself, I’m a schmuck. I didn’t snap bad but still, I snapped unnecessarily. I mean look at that face. So upset. So sweet. So loveable. So not deserving of my snapping because of MY exhaustion. Only deserving of my patience and love.

I scooped him up and gave him a huge hug.

“I’m sorry sweetie. You really are hungry, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I was trying nicely to tell you but you wouldn’t listen.” Sob, sob.

Ugh. I felt AWFUL. Just awful.

And I blame my exhaustion. Truly. I don’t blame him for whining. That isn’t what made me snap. Sure, it irritated me, but it didn’t make me snap. I let myself snap. I am simply 110% completely wiped out, physically and mentally, and as a result am snapping more and having to work twice as hard not to yell which of course makes me even more wiped out which makes me snap more. Sigh. It’s a vicious cycle.

And one of the first things I learned on this challenge is that when I am wiped, all bets are off. I have less self control, I am more impatient, more easily annoyed, more of everything but more loving. So I have been making the choice to put some things on the back burner (like blogging and folding laundry) so that I can relax at night and go to bed earlier, all so that I can be a more pleasant parent tomorrow, you know, all so that I can be an Orange Rhino. Lets hope my plan works because this exhausted state of mine? It needs to improve, like, yesterday.

The mom I want to be, but Never will be

93 days down, 272 day to go!

Dear Jennifer,

I often feel inadequate as a mom and when I feel this way I  become preoccupied thinking about all the ways that I am not the mom I dream of being, all the ways that I am not the mom I used to be when I had just 1 child vs 4, all the ways that I am not the mom that I think I should be. This preoccupation takes over leaving me mentally unable to focus on my kids in the way they deserve. In other words, when I am in a twit over not being a good enough mom, I quickly become more impatient with my boys which most certainly doesn’t  make me be the mom I want to be. You asked me what some of my triggers are for yelling? Well this preoccupation with being inadequate? It’s one of my biggest triggers.

Thoughts?
The Orange Rhino

*

I want to be a mom who wakes up and has time to shower and make herself look not just presentable, but pretty. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never look pulled together with blown dry hair and fashion forward outfits because while I wish to look that way, it isn’t truly that important to me. I will always have my hair in a braid, a hole in my jeans, a two seasons ago shirt and a belt that is well, more than 2 seasons old. And that is OK. Because my kids think I am pretty just the way I am.

I want to be a mom who puts aside her to do list to get down and play on the floor with her boys. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never rough house with them or play freeze tag as much as they like because I much prefer, and take great joy, in watching them play and have fun with each other. And that is OK. Because I will still hug them, kiss them, and tell them how proud and happy I am to see them playing together.

I want to be a mom that knows how to make crazy Lego buildings, how to chase after Dragons, how to play Star Wars. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never build a Lego creation the way my husband does, I will never spontaneously chase after Dragons with a laser or think to build a fort. And that is OK. Because I will make ice cream cones out of play doh with my boys and chase after falling leaves and snowflakes with them.

I want to be a mom who feels like she knows how to be a mom to boys, who doesn’t think that if she had girls she would know how to be a better mother because she would know how to play tea and dolls and do all things girlie. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never be a mom who truly feels she knows how to be a mom to boys and I don’t think I would feel like I knew how to be a mom to girls either, because being a mom is not just about knowing what kind of activities my kids like to do, it is about knowing what makes my boys happy, what makes them sad, how I can help them, how I can protect them. It is a daily learning process and I’ll never know everything about being a mom. And that is OK. Because I do already know how to love my boys, that is one thing I don’t need to learn.

I want to be a mom that plans fun outings ahead of time, that plans playdates, that plans period. But I will never be that mom. I will most likely never plan ahead because it overwhelms me and because well, I am not good at managing my ­time. And that is OK. Because I love to stay home and just talk with my kids. I love to ask them questions about their day, to answer their questions, to hear their little conversations.

I want to be a mom that cooks well balanced meals that my pediatrician would approve of. Scratch that. I want to be a mom that cooks anything besides Macaroni and Cheese and Chicken Nuggets. But I will never be that mom. I will probably never consistently cook healthy meals like my mom and my Nana used to. And that is OK. Because someday I will learn how to cook beyond the basics and until then ’ll keep teaching my boys how to bake the “yummiest cookies ever,” remembering the key ingredients are always love and patience.

I want to be a mom that does cute arts and crafts projects more often and remembers to send them to the grandparents. I will never be that mom. I will most likely never do lots of arts and crafts projects that would make Martha Stewart proud because I am too scatterbrained to remember to buy the art materials in the first place. And that is OK. Because when my kids bring their art projects home, I praise them and hang them proudly up on the kitchen wall.

I want to be a mom that reads books more, practices ABC’s more, sings more, dances more, laughs more. I will never be that mom. I will most likely never be able to do all the extra’s because there aren’t enough hours in the day. And that is OK. Because I will do my best and I will enjoy the moments when I do read, dance, and laugh. And as long as my kids feel loved, and have learned what love is and how to love, I am okay if they learn their ABC’s late.

I want to be a mom who doesn’t feel inadequate. Who doesn’t look at her friends and strangers and say, wow, they are great moms, why aren’t I like them? But instead looks at them, and says wow, they are great moms and so am I.

So am I.

I am a good mom.

I might never be the mom I dream of being, but right now I can be the mom that I am. I might not be a lot of things I wish to be, but at the same time, I still am a lot of good things. I didn’t cook a perfectly balanced dinner tonight, but I did manage to not yell at my kids today and I am going to keep trying not to. I didn’t take my kids to the park yesterday, but I did talk with them while on a spontaneous family walk this morning.

You see, I find it so easy, too easy, to look in the mirror and see ALL the reasons why I am not a good mom, why I am not living up to my ridiculous ideal of what a mother should be. This Mother’s Day, as a gift to myself, I am going to look in the mirror and tell myself that I am a good mom, that I might not be the mom that I envision, but that I am still a good mom. And I hope you do the same.

Prioritize? How?

92 days down, 273 days to go!

Dear Orange Rhinos,

I am doing something entirely new tonight. Normally, I write a blog post, read it a few times, try to edit it, and then I post it with hopes that someone will read it. Tonight, I have stared at my Microsoft Word blank screen for nearly an hour now. I have so much I want to write about. So many emotions that I want to share. So many insights I want to share. So many struggles that I want to share…that I am paralyzed. Paralyzed with fear that what I write won’t sound right. Paralyzed with fear that what I write WILL sound right and that I won’t want to read what I wrote. So tonight, there is no Microsoft Word. Tonight I am treating this blog as it should be, a dear diary. I am writing completely off the cuff. Whatever comes out, comes out. Let’s just hope it is decent.


The Orange Rhino

*
Dear Diary,

Tonight during the “Time to Toot Your Rhino Horn” on Facebook two people spoke about wanting to cry. Well, I share that sentiment. I don’t know why but this week, I just can’t get my mojo going and I too just want to cry. It’s too much. It’s so much. My to-do list is never ending. I know that I am supposed to prioritize and focus on the most important items, but what do you do when it is all important? How do you decide then?

Any to-do having to do with my children is important. Any to-do having to do with keeping me happy so that I can be a happy mom, is important. Any to-do having to do with my friends and family, the ones who support me and love me, is important.

So here I am. With a to-do list of all important things, doing nothing. Because I suck at prioritizing. Is it that, or is that it is hard to prioritize friends, family, children and one self? Or is it that there truly aren’t enough hours in the day, no matter how good one is at prioritizing? I don’t know. I just know that right now, this week, I am so overwhelmed that I am walking around in circles, doing nothing which obviously isn’t helping the matter. And well, it’s not that I am doing nothing. It’s just that my days are so FULL that there is little time to get to anything BUT the basics. Like taking care of the kids. Like getting them to Speech and OT. Like keeping them from pummeling each other. Like changing diapers. Like keeping #4 from flying down the two stairs from the kitchen to the family room now that he is crawling.

My day is full of the basics. And I need to accept that. I need to learn to accept that if I just survive a day in the life of raising my boys, then the to-do list can wait.

But is that true? What about all the guilt I feel about the friends who I cannot seem to get around to emailing? The friendships that I know I have lost as a result of deciding to have a large family which keeps me so busy?

And what about me? It is important to me to exercise. It keeps me from yelling. It keeps me feeling good about myself. Do I just stop exercising to make more time for the other things, the 75% of the items on the to-do list have to do with doing things for the people I love? How do I chose one over the other? How do I say, #3 is more important than #4?

I know it is feasible to figure it out but I DON’T WANT TO. I don’t want to have to prioritize. I want to be able to do it all. 

Again, when everything is important, how do you decide what goes first? Simply put, I have to choose between my husband, myself, #1, #2, #3, #4, friends, and family. I hate having to choose. Because all these people matter to me. And right now, I feel like all these people are getting short changed.

My husband, also a lover of inspirational quotes (I think that is what brought us together), shared this quote with me from a book about I don’t know what. Better time management?

“don’t schedule your to-dos, schedule your priorities.”

Powerful idea, but again, how do I choose between all the people I love, who are ALL my priority, when the day is so short? Because there isn’t enough time in the day. And there never will be.

Well, I guess that is one benefit of The Orange Rhino Challenge. Not yelling impacts everyone. I don’t have to choose.

My husband, #1, #2, #3, #4, and I, we all win, we all benefit from my not yelling. And that is why this challenge is my #1 priority. It makes me a better mom, which in turn makes me kids happier, which in turn makes our days somewhat easier, which in turn makes me happier, which means I am a better wife, which means I feel better about myself, which in turn gives me the strength to not yell.

It’s a cycle. Not yelling at my kids sets off a cycle of goodness that goes all around. Here’s hoping I stay on this path…and here’s hoping that now that I have figured out priority #1 in my life right now, that I can figure out 2-10!

Forget 365 days.

90 days down, 275 to go!

Dear those who WANT to take the Orange Rhino Challenge, but are unsure…

When I started this little challenge of mine, a friend said he didn’t think he could go 10 days. I laughed and said yeah, I don’t think I could go 10 days either. I didn’t believe in myself. I was sure I would fail since I was a huge yeller at that point and I was MASSIVELY intimidated by the whole 365 day thing. That was January 24th ish. Fast forward to February 8th  ish. I started writing this to my friend:

“Holy sh*t! You were right, I couldn’t make it 10 days without yelling. I made it only 8 and then it took me 9 more friggin’ days to go one solid day again. But I don’t care, I finally made it through an entire day without yelling. And let me tell you, today was a sh*t show. It is a miracle I didn’t yell and that I made it from 5:30 am until 9:30 pm. 5 seconds before walking out the door the baby pooped. Everywhere. Once that diaper was clean and a new outfit put on him and me, #3 pooped. Everywhere. So it literally was a sh*t show. Even though we were late, I didn’t lose it. I’m so pumped. I’m back in the game and I’m feeling good. That 10 day bet? Kiss it good-bye. You’ll be bringing me beer. I am so gonna kick some Orange Rhino ass this time. Thanks in advance for the vote of confidence and the 6-pack you’ll be giving me. But seriously, should we be putting money on this instead of beer?”

The difference between January and February? Confidence. In January, I didn’t think I could go more than 10 days because I had no basis for comparison. I hoped I could, but I didn’t truly believe that I could. Come February, even though I struggled to get one new day under my belt, I KNEW that I could do it so I kept trying. I knew I was capable of not yelling because I had done it. I had gone 8 days. So now I believed in myself. It took 8 days of success for me to believe in myself that I could change. That I could become a non yeller. It took 8 days, not 365 days, to feel enough success, enough benefits, to keep going.

So if you are intimidated by my crazy 365 day goal with resetting to 0 if I yelled then adjust the rules for you. Adjust the rules so you can get some success under your belt and can begin to believe in yourself.

This Community is about inspiring each other to yell at our kids less and HELPING each other to yell less. It does not have to be all or nothing. Any improvement is progress. Any improvement is better for our kids. Any improvement will be appreciated by our kids. Any improvement is awesome and will keep you reaching for more.

I’ve come up with some easy ways to start The Orange Rhino Challenge so that you too can hopefully find success and believe in yourself, so that you can believe that you can learn not to yell.

Instead of starting trying to go 365 days straight…

1) Pick one problem time a day and conquer it (ie. bath time, meal time, homework time). When you conquer that, add another one, and then another one. Before you know it you’ll have 50% of the day not yelling and I am sure you’ll feel great. Mine was getting out the door for school. So I started singing and telling myself “in just 5 minutes, if you don’t yell, you’ll survive the day”. Break it down. It becomes less daunting.

2) Give yourself a short goal l did 365 days because I need all or nothing goals to be motivated (yes, I know, personal area of improvement!). Adjust it for yourself – maybe 3 days without yelling or 1 week or 10 days. I suggest at least 3 because you need a groove and after 3 days you’ll feel the difference and want to keep practicing. (Or so I hope!)

3) Track the # of Times a day you yell and try for a week to yell less and watch the number go down.

4) Commit to 365 (or any other motivational number) but lose the re-set If you yell, stay on the day you are at. Restart when you go a day again. Or, commit to 365 moments. Instead of not yelling for 365 days, keep track of when you don’t yell and try to get to 365. That would probably be a month for me. Or a day!

5) Make it Fun with Games Create an age appropriate game with your children. If you don’t yell in a particular moment, you get a point. If they listen when asked (ie. at a normal moment when you are going to yell), they get a point. At the end of the day whoever has the most points gets a reward, maybe an ice cream cone? Or maybe there is some silly trophy. Or maybe Orange Rhino Bingo. Create a card with 25 spaces. Randomly fill it with Mommy Didn’t Yell and Kids Listened. Whoever gets Bingo first, wins. I don’t know. The point here is to be creative, to make it FUN, and to involve your kids! Mine are my “yelling sensors” and since they are everywhere I am…they are reliable! They are my built in alarm system – always going off when I am starting to get cranky. Trust me, IT HELPS.

6) Have your kids “Grade You” Stealing this one from Tracy! Lose the numbers all together! At the end of the day (or at each meal so you have more opportunities!) ask your kids to give you a thumbs up or thumbs down, or a smiley face or not.

The bottom line is:

It’s not the numbers that counts. It’s the yelling less that counts. However you get there, you get there. Any moment when you chose not to yell is success.

Cheers,
The Orange Rhino

You never know…

89 days down, 277 to go!

Dear Hubby,

Thanks for sending me great inspirational quotes…they keep me going. That and the growing herd of Orange Rhinos out there!

xoxo,
Your lovely wife who deserves a great Mother’s Day gift, hint hint, maybe an Orange Rhino with hearts all over it?

Can this be for real? Read the entire post and see just how PERFECT this is! I discovered it after I wrote the post when searching for a picture of a herd of Rhinos....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I called my mom tonight and said “mom, tell me, how did I get this far? What’s the secret? Was I just not yelling that much to start with?” She of course assured me that yes, indeed, I was actually yelling that much.

“So what then?” I asked. “Have my kids miraculously become angels who never get on my nerves?” She of course assured me that no that certainly was not the case, but that my boys were terrific, just not angels all the time.

Okay, then maybe my life has just gotten easier and therefore I am less stressed and have more patience to not yell. I didn’t need her to tell me that wasn’t the case. I actually have more on my plate that causes stress than I did 89 days ago.

So what the heck is the answer?
Why have I been able to go 89 days without yelling?
I need to know so that I can keep going!!!

At first blush it is easy to say, oh, I’ve been creative and come up with lots of ways to either divert my kid’s behavior or to calm myself down. Like saying “ooga schmooga booga,taking pictures, screaming into a closet, drumming on a kitchen table, counting to ten. But that’s not the real secret. Those creative solutions would never be made possible if I hadn’t gained immense self control. If I hadn’t learned to STOP first and then think of an alternative to yelling.

So the question isn’t what are the tricks, but what got me to STOP and THINK. Coming up with tricks is easy – it’s the stopping that is hard.

As I sit here, I struggle to think of how I learned to STOP. Because trust me, self control? Not one of my stronger suits. At all. If I think something, I say it. If I want to eat something, I do. If I want to buy something, I will. So why now. What in god’s creation have I done to learn self control this go around?

Good ‘ole mom helped me answer that question…in her eyes,

I had a strong DESIRE to change.
I made that desire PUBLIC.
I became ACCOUNTABLE to all of you.
I asked for HELP from all of you.
I kept a DIARY of my yelling moments.
I involved my KIDS.
I dug deep to really truly figure out my TRIGGERS.
I acknowledged my triggers and ACCEPTED them.
And then, I PRACTICED.
And I liked the results.
So I practiced some more.
And I really liked the results. A LOT.
So I kept practicing because the results were totally worth the hard work.
And they still are.

But if I had stopped, if I had given up when I wanted to and then I never would have discovered the results. And TRUST ME, I wanted to quit and trust me once a week I STILL contemplate quitting because not yelling is hard, mentally exhausting work. But instead of quitting, I leaned on this community and I kept doing all the steps above. If I hadn’t done so, I can’t help but wonder…

Would I be enjoying the results?

Would I be feeling the joy of knowing I am taking one step towards being a better mother?

Would I be feeling more calm, less stressed, less ANGRY, less bitter?

Would I be feeling the love and support my boys give me when I don’t yell, but am really super close?

Would I be feeling more love for my boys?

I don’t know.

But I do know that all the hard work is worth it.

Several of you have asked me, is it worth it? How can I change? How can I do this? I want to do this? But I can’t seem to start…

“You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi 

All I can say is, JUST TRY. Try doing what I did and see if it works (especially the using the community part!!!) If I can learn to not yell, then you can. I didn’t just used to yell. I used to SCREAM. We’re talking level 7, raging screams 1-3x a day plus yelling at level 6. Sure, I had good days when I used the level 0 voice all day but I also had the really not so good days, or not so good moments. Never in a thousand years did I think I could go 89 days without yelling at my boys. I thought maybe 14. And when I yelled at Day 8 try 1, I thought, maybe 10 days. And here I am. At 89 days. Because I kept trying.

Because it simply was time I started yelling less and loving more. It was simply time to be an ORANGE RHINO. 

Just STOP!!!!

85 days down, 280 to go!

Dear #3,

I love you. I really do. I love you with all my heart. I love your crazy curly hair, I love your huge belly laugh, I love ridiculous facial expressions, I love your big hugs. I don’t however, love it when you scream. I don’t love it when you throw things. I don’t love it when you bang your head. In short, I love you, I don’t love your speech delay. In fact, I kind of hate it.

xoxo,
Mommy Orange Rhino

*

Way back when I posted “The Root of my Yelling” I shared this picture, sighting the reasons I am so impatient.

 

One driver was that well, kids can be annoying. And oh can they be. And under that I mentioned each child and their personal challenges. Well, dear wonderful #3 has a speech delay. And it sucks.

It sucks because I hear other moms gloating about how great their 18 month old is talking and I think, yeah, my 2.5 year old isn’t that far along. It sucks because I hear other 2.5 years olds talk, and communicate, and I think, yeah, I wish that was my son. Because if that was my son, then he wouldn’t be screaming in frustration. He wouldn’t be throwing things, in frustration. He wouldn’t be hitting himself, in frustration.

If my son didn’t have a speech delay, I feel like he would be happier. I know I would be. I know, how awful is it to say that? But it is the truth.

Because the screaming fits are unbearable. Watching him bang his head when we don’t him understand him? Unbearable. Getting hit in the head with a sippy cup because it is empty and he can’t explain the problem so he throws it? Unbearable.

Knowing that while we are making progress, we have hit a road block because of apparently another issue, even more unbearable.

Not only does #3 have a speech delay, but it seems he has some sensory issues as well. That problem probably reads like a foreign language to most of you. What the hell are “sensory issues?” Does that mean he is autistic? No. It just means he is over sensitive to senses. Okay, but what does that mean for #3?

In simple terms, for my dear #3, it means he won’t let anyone touch his face, or his tongue for that matter which makes speech therapy really challenging which in turn means the SCREAMING fits aren’t improving all that much. It means he is extra attached to certain objects because he likes how they feel and SCREAMS if anyone touches them. It means he can’t stand how socks feel, yet at the same time, has to always have shoes on and if one or the other doesn’t happen, he SCREAMS.

I can summarize #3 in one phrase: BIG laugh and BIG lungs. His laugh can lift you higher than high and his scream can put you lower than lower. Because when he screams, when he gets to that point, there is no stopping it. We can ignore it, we can politely remove him to the other room, we can say calmly “#3 use your words.” But half the time, no more, it doesn’t seem to stop the Screaming fit.

It’s infuriating. And it’s sad. Because I know he is just as infuriated. And probably sad too. That his brothers don’t always understand him. That he gets snapped at more than the others. That he experiences what he does.

And it just sucks. Not gonna lie. Not gonna sugar coat it. It sucks.

I know we are making progress. We are finally up to 4 word phrases! But there are times when I just lose my patience with the process. When I don’t want to have speech therapy 2x a week and now occupational therapy 2x a week. When I don’t want to clap my hands to each syllable as I talk. When I don’t want to walk around the house pointing to things trying to understand what he wants. When I don’t want to hear other kids has age talk because I find myself jealous. When I don’t want to pull over to the side of the road to get his slipper because it fell off and he is ballistic.

Because I had to do that today. For a slipper. And when I did, I did an oopsie snap.

“JUST STOP!”

And immediately he did. He stopped screaming and started looking sad. His eyes became still. His lips frowned. The hurt just radiated from him. It was awful. AWFUL awful awful. Because I love him so much and don’t want to snap at him for something that I know he is trying so hard to overcome. I immediately unbuckled him and held him.

He wrapped his little legs around my waste, his arms around my neck, and snuggled his head into my neck. I held him for 5 minutes. I closed my eyes and just told him over and over how much I love him. And thank God, he let me hold him. He let me love him. Because I needed him to know how much I love him and how awful I felt.

Fast forward an hour.

I am getting dressed. #3 looks at me and says,

“Mommy looks pretty.”

“Mommy is pretty.”

I burst into tears.

See, the thing about Speech Delays is that while they SUCK, they also have a fabulous way of making you appreciate the small things, like three word phrases. They make ordinary words never sound more beautiful.

Like at bedtime “Mommy, schnuggle me.”

He still has not unprompted said “Mommy, I love you.” And while I yearn to hear those words in his sweet little voice, I am not going to complain I haven’t heard them. Because when I do, I know it is going to be the most AMAZING feeling in the world. And until that moment, I am going to keeping using all the energy I can muster to be patient with him and not yell at him. Because guess what? Yelling at him when he’s frustrated instead of helping him learn how to communicate, will only set him back. And I love him too much to let that happen.