387 days of loving more!
Since my boys are up at the crack of dawn, well, really before the crack of the crack of dawn, come 6:45 we are all ready to get out of the house and I am ready for them each to be buckled into a car seat unable to touch each other. So every morning in the winter I buckle them all up and we drive to McDonald’s for mama’s piece of mind and…caffeine. Much to my son’s delight, we always stop to watch a commuter train pass and lately get to see the sunrise. It’s actually my favorite 20 minutes of the day. Except when, well, my 18 month old starts screaming.
Like this morning. Us “older folk” were all happily chatting about the weather, what the clouds were telling us and then were grooving to “Thriftshop.” It was fabulous until sweet #4 started screaming. Oh. My. Gosh. It didn’t stop for 10 minutes!
Yes, my son is officially in what I so lovingly call “The Yelling Phase.” It’s the period of time where one of my boys really, really wants to talk but doesn’t have the words yet so instead of talking or jabbering he just screams. And screams and screams until I figure out what area he is pointing at. And screams and screams when I figure out the area he is pointing at but not which of the 25 items in that area he wants.
Yeah, that phase. There is nothing fun about it.
There is nothing fun about being stuck in a car and hearing him scream endlessly because he wants water but can’t say I’m thirsty or water. There is nothing fun about being at the dinner table and having him start to scream and then his brothers joining in because they think it’s funny. There is nothing fun about watching his little face start to look all exasperated as he so desperately tries to communicate. And there is nothing fun about worrying that he does indeed have a speech delay because if he does, well when combined with his seizure activity, it’s a situation I just don’t want.
So yeah, the “Yelling Phase” we are currently in, isn’t so fun. In fact it’s annoying, sometimes saddening, and often times out right infuriating especially if one screaming fit finishes and another one starts oh say, fifteen minutes later?
Within minutes of coming in from our “not-as-peaceful-as-planned” drive, #4 started screaming at me because I took out Rice Chex instead of Corn Chex (how dare I?) #1, #2, and #3 all started screaming at me to make him stop because it was never ending (trust me, I wanted to scream too.) I calmly said to them:
“Guys. Chill out. You used to yell too but I taught you how to use your words. You taught yourself how to use words. #4 will learn. He doesn’t want to be screaming, trust me. He just wants to talk; he just wants to be understood.”
“You mean he wants to be an Orange Rhino?” #3 said while get this, giving me a huge smile and a wink! A wink. I loved it!!!
Oh I laughed so hard! But it got me thinking.
This past year wasn’t the first time I learned not to yell; I had done it about 34 years earlier!
Yes, I too was a baby at some point. I too screamed as babies do, before I knew how to communicate otherwise. And as I grew, I learned to talk more and yell less. And eventually as I became a young adult and definitely before kids, I learned to not yell at all.
And then I had kids and I quickly found that I had no real idea what I was doing. I had no real idea how to successfully get them to listen. I had no real idea how to get them to understand the “lessons” I was teaching. I had no real idea how to communicate to them, or my husband or even myself, all the stress I was feeling trying to figure out this parenting thing while also navigating all the other responsibilities that came with being an adult. And well, it all got to me and got me yelling again…because I didn’t know otherwise.
In many ways, I was a baby again, right along side all four of my babies.
I screamed out of frustration, desperation, confusion, sadness, hunger, and because I didn’t know how to communicate successfully. I too was stuck in a “yelling phase” and just like my son is now, I so very much wanted to get out and move on but didn’t know how.
The good news? Phases are just that, phases. They are indeed temporary and with the help of many a supportive Orange Rhino, I got unstuck from my own “Yelling Phase.”
The other good news? My son will get unstuck too. And along the way I will have fun listening to every new word that suddenly squeaks out. And I will have fun watching his face light up with joy and pride as he realizes he can talk, just like how I filled with joy and pride every time I realized I could not yell.
(And the last bit of good news? I really, truly, believe you can get unstuck; that you can turn your current yelling situation into just a phase and not a lifelong style. Not just because years ago you already learned to not yell, but also because you too have many supportive Orange Rhinos rooting for you. Like 3,431 of them. How cool is that? You are so not alone! You can do this!)