345 days without yelling, 20 days of loving more to go!
Dear Parenting Magazine,
Hold the press! Don’t run that article, I lied. My son DOES listen to me. And not only does he listen to me, but he gets it. He totally gets The Orange Rhino Challenge, he gets the not yelling thing. Oh, this year has not been for naught. Woot!!
The Orange Rhino
Is there a real article coming out? No. That’s just a dream of mine.
Does my son sometimes not listen to me? Yes. That’s reality. He’s a kid. Wait, he’s a person. I don’t always listen either you know.
But has he been paying attention, has he been taking in all this Orange Rhino stuff, has he watched me learn to handle anger more calmly, has he listened to me at least some? OH YES. How do I know? Check out this sweet little story from yesterday. I am smiling ear to ear just thinking of it. And maybe stamping my rhino feet in excitement too.
It was bedtime. I had settled one half of my fraternity into sweet slumber and headed towards #1’s room to give him a gentle heads up that lights out was coming. He started to get all huffy puffy. I knew what was coming. A big ‘ole holler. An “I hate bedtime! I never get enough time with you! I don’t want to go to bed yet!!!!! ARGHHHHH!”
I inhaled. I waited and waited and waited. The yell never came. Huh? Then I saw him grab a book, squint at me and start to take aim. Oh, maybe it was coming? Maybe the book was gonna get tossed at me in disgust? Nope.
“Mommy” he grimaced.
“I’m angry. Really angry with you. And I really want to yell. But I won’t. Because I love you.”
HELLO LITTLE ORANGE RHINO!
I love you too! And I am so proud of you! This small exchange was such a huge accomplishment for both of us, especially for him. My darling #1 is beautifully emotional and is working on reigning in the emotions that sometimes turn ugly. This was the first time he actually succeeded at doing so. Oh, this was such a win. Such a win. I was grinning when I started writing this and now tears are falling. I am just so very proud of him.
You know, there have been so many times on this journey that I wished I started my challenge earlier. If only I think. If only I started four years ago then I wouldn’t have taught my boys to yell at me, to yell at each other. If only I learned to say out loud “I will stay calm” years ago then I wouldn’t be plagued with the thought “it’s too late, I already taught them to yell, I can’t undo it.”
But clearly, it isn’t. It isn’t too late. And I should know this. Because I have taught myself to change. It wasn’t too late for me, it isn’t too late for him, for any of my boys. I can help them change today, this moment, any moment I choose. I can continue to teach by example. And I most certainly will.
And I will most certainly continue talking out loud as an alternative to not yelling.
I will continue to say:
“I love you, I don’t want to yell.”
“I need your help, can you please help me clean up so I don’t lose my cool?”
And I will continue talking to myself, which by the way I do OFTEN. I talk to myself so much that my head spins but it has helped me through so many tough moments when I have wanted to yell. So many. I say,
“I will not yell. I will not yell. I will be calm.”
“I can do this.”
“I’m exhausted, but I will not yell.” And
“Hey Orange Rhino, enough already. Stop being a crabby biatch.” (That’s a personal favorite. HA!)
Oh, there is so much I will continue doing when this year is over. But mostly, I will continue believing that I can not yell. I will continue believing that it is not too late to teach my children to not yell. My son chose love last night over anger and as the one on the receiving end of that love, I can say it felt great. So yeah, I will also continue believing that LOVE TRUMPS ANGER.