12 days down, 353 to go!
While it was all fun and games hanging out with you these last four nights so that I could “launch” my blog about Not Yelling, it came very close to being counterproductive. Whenever I hang with you, I am WIPED out the next day, the day after and the day after that. And when I am WIPED, I am so much more inclined to yell. And today was no different, actually it was worse. Because last night you introduced me to your friend 1 am and his friend tequila. I certainly haven’t flirted with them in over 15 years. Why I thought it necessary to do so to celebrate my birthday…when I never really drink…and when now I have 4 kids who get up at 6am is beyond me! But alas, I did.
And guess what, against all odds, I made it through today…with a raging headache, 20 hours of sleep collectively over the last four nights, and 4 cranky over-tired-because-of-baby-sitter-last-night children all WITHOUT yelling. I’m still in shock. But don’t get any ideas, just because today went well doesn’t mean we’ll be hanging out anytime soon. If I want to do well on this challenge, I need my sleep. Speaking of, it’s 8:11.
The Orange Rhino
Seriously, I’m in shock. Shock, shock, shock. I truly am a yeller. And yet here I am, having gone 12 days without yelling. I just can’t believe it. I truly didn’t think I had it in me. I kind of just assumed I was a Yeller, that it was ingrained in me, a behavior that I couldn’t change. But I am ecstatic to be wrong…this little chat from today is why:
Me: “#1 (5 years old), so how is mommy doing now with the no yelling thing?”
#1: “Great. You’re doing great mommy.”
Me: “Who do you like more, Mommy or Mommy Orange Rhino?”
#1: “Mommy Orange Rhino. She’s not mean. She doesn’t hurt my feelings and say not nice things.”
Me: “Oh. Anything else?”
#1: “Yeah. Mommy Orange Rhino is the bestest.”
He then gave me a huge hug and a kiss. I kid you not.
Just thinking about that conversation again blows me away. I don’t know what has me more in shock – the unsolicited hug or the 12 days of not yelling. You see, my son is not one to offer up free hugs and kisses (he just doesn’t like all the physical contact). So for him to suddenly be giving me random hugs and kisses? Well, let’s just say that it made me cry then and its making me cry now. That’s a pretty damn good sign that this silly project of mine is very well worth my effort. He is totally worth my effort. I’ve lost a lot of sleep and dropped the ball on a lot these last few weeks so I could get this Blog going. But guess what? A random hug from my son telling me I’m the bestest? Totally worth every lost hour of sleep.
Some change is happening in this household, something good. I’m going to embrace it and keep finding all the strength I have to not yell. Even if it means sometimes (like tonight!) ignoring the dishes, the piles that need picking up, the bills that need paying, and everything else on my to-do list just so that I can go to bed early and get the rest I need to succeed in this challenge. But if I don’t get the sleep I need, because that is how life goes sometimes, at least now I know that even if I am exhausted, I CAN control my voice. I CAN not yell. It’s my choice.
After #1 told me I was the Bestest he disappeared. The house was too quiet. He came back find me and told me he had brushed his teeth. Oh? In the middle of the day? Without being asked? I didn’t say anything, I just waited.Then he looked up, looked me in the eyes and said:
“Mommy, I had 4 of daddy’s valentines chocolates you gave him. And I didn’t ask. But I did brush my teeth. And they were really good. Are you mad?”
Was I mad? Yeah, a little. Eating that many chocolates is generally not good for my son’s ability to stay calm but how could I be mad since he told me and was so honest? And for the record, he was very hesitant to tell me. No problem telling me he brushed his teeth, but clearly very worried to tell me about the chocolates. It’s like he expected me to yell at him. Sigh. Can I really blame him?
BEFORE, I would have yelled at him and lectured him on not asking for permission and sugar isn’t good for you and blah, blah, blah. And he wouldn’t have heard a word I said. This time, when I talked to him about it, he actually listened.
Again, the theme of the day. Shock. I’m absolutely shocked.
And so, I’m still choosing to not yell. I’ll take hugs and kisses and honesty over yelling any day of the week.