Can you feel the love?

10 days down, 355 to go!

Dear Day 10,

Who-wah! I came, I saw, I kicked you’re a*s and it feels good! So unbelievably good. Not just because I am now in the double digits world of this Challenge but also because #1 and #2 worked phenomenally hard today to make me fail and I prevailed. I look forward to seeing you next time but preferably a little fatter, you know, with another 0 at the end.

See ya!

The Orange Rhino


(Warning:  Potentially cheesy  blog ahead. Or Inspiring. Your call.)

I did it! I made it 10 days without yelling! It feels so incredible to be in the double digits world of this challenge and to have surpassed my last record. I feel like maybe, just maybe, I actually have a chance of making it to triple digits. I know that is getting ahead of myself but I have to believe that I can do this. That is the secret. Believing in yourself. In myself.  Some of my friends have said that they could never be an “Orange Rhino” that they could never not yell. In those 9 days after I first failed, I just kept saying I can’t do this. And guess what, I sure as heck couldn’t.

But this go round, once I got day one, and then day two, and then day three under my belt, I knew I could do it because I kept  saying I could. Every day got easier and easier. Every day the insatiable desire to NOT YELL and to find my firm, patient voice grew stronger. Every day I found more peaceful and enjoyable than the last.

And as I look at the accomplishment of a mere 10 DAYS without yelling I can say with certainty the following:

  1. My kids are happier and more affectionate
  2. I am happier and more affectionate
  3. We are having more fun together
  4. They are listening to me more and better
  5. I am listening to them more and better
  6. I am laughing more, enjoying them more

And that is just after 10 days. Imagine what 100 might feel like???

I know. You don’t believe me. But it’s true. And I am fairly certain it is the lack of yelling. I mean we all know that yelling creates tense environments. But I didn’t think that not yelling would not only take away the negativity but also adds all the positives galore I listed above. I have no scientific proof that the not yelling is causing the changes in our house but I can say this. With everything that has happened in the last 10 days, this house should be absolutely bursting at the seams with stress. In the old world Pre-Challenge, I would be screaming everyday from the stress, at least once.  I am getting much much less sleep than before. The kids are sleeping like crap. Everyone has been sick and to boot #3 has been to two new doctors and they still have no clue what is wrong with him oh and #1, despite being more affectionate has equally been more difficult. BUT. But but but…….overall I have to report that this house feels different.

Can you feel the love tonight? (thanks Elton John, don’t know why that just popped into my head!)

I can. And it feels friggin’ great.

My husband just asked me how my day was. And for the FIRST time in AGES I actually answered “Awesome.”

Not good. Not bad. Awesome.

And it was. Why? Did the kids behave perfectly today? Hell no. In fact #1 and #2 were holy terrors. But I didn’t lose it so we got back on track much faster. The little outbursts stayed as little outbursts and we moved on. If I had yelled, the little outburst would have gone on and on and on.

It was simply awesome for so many reasons. Too many for me to write eloquently so bullet points it is!

1)      I didn’t yell and made it to double digits (can I get a double fist pump for support?!). I really am proud of myself because today was HARD. #1 woke up with an antagonistic attitude the size of Canada. Is that even big enough? #2 woke up with a burr in his a*s and was trying his darndest to piss everyone off. #3 woke up sick which means whining all day. And well #4 woke up happy –  1 out of 4 ain’t bad! But I only got 4 hours of sleep last night because my dear husband was coughing AL L. Night. Long. He is lucky he wasn’t  booted to the couch. All the cards were against me today. But I did it. Sorry to be so cocky, but I am so proud. This is huge for me. They say you have to do a new habit for 30 days to make a change. I’m 1/3 of the way there!

2)      When I wanted to throw the towel in at 8:51 when #2 had just purposely  tripped #1 (yes it was intentional, the sparkle in his eye said it all) I posted on FB that “Day 10 was looking to be a pipe dream” and I got support to keep going. And it helped. You ladies are awesome.

3)      When I was about to lose it with #1 for not wanting to zip his jacket (really? Really Orange Rhino that would have been a WASTE of 10 days!) he looked at me and said “ORANGE RHINO, mommy, ORANGE RHINO” and it worked. He was so right. I stopped. We laughed and then had a great family walk playing the Orange Rhino game (I pretend to yell, they yell Orange Rhino back. They love it!) Pre-Challenge, I would have kept fighting with him over the stupid zipper. This way was much better!

4)      When I was about to lose it with #1 again (sense the theme today?!) for biting his brother and throwing a drum stick at my head oh and then throwing a box of legos, I didn’t! I calmly walked him to his room and told him he needed to settle down.

5)      When #2 took a toy from #3 without asking and they both started fighting over it all while #1 was banging on his bedroom door and the baby was screaming for dinner, I didn’t Scream “everyone be quiet!” Yes, this is what I normally would have done. It was just so overwhelming  – all the noise and chaos.

6)      The most important perhaps. I actually REALLY enjoyed hanging with my kids today. I generally have such a hard time being a Stay at Home mom and “playing.” I can be so uptight and struggle to let go and have fun. (I bet all of you out there who know me are laughing your arses off at that line!) But, I actually smiled today…numerous times! Like when I was pretending to rock my 5 year old like a baby and burp him and #2 said, “Well now he has to poop on you because that is what babies do.”

Not yelling simply has me more relaxed. I am handling the hard moments better and they are ending shorter. And I am enjoying the good moments more and they are lasting longer.

This Challenge seems to be doing me some good.

I mean really, given the outcome thus far, what’s not to love?

Bring it on Day 9!

8 days down, 357 to go!

Dear Day 8,
Tomorrow, you will be a thing of the past. I have no intentions of seeing you again on this journey. I have now TWICE made it to 8 days and that is enough. So, tomorrow, I am going to not yell and I’m going to make it 9 days. You, day 8, will become an achievement, not a goal. I have a hunch it will be hard, though. It’s only 10:33 and the baby has woken up crying 4 times from his cold/earache? which means I have a long night ahead and therefore an even longer day ahead tomorrow. So please, can you put a good word into Day 9 for me? Let her (she will be more understanding than a he, I think) know that I need lots of strength and will power?

Thanks for understanding,


The Orange Rhino


I would write more today but alas, my poor sweet baby cries again.

So instead of a long entry,  in honor of President’s month, I will share a quote I stumbled upon. Where you ask? In one of the thousand books my mother-in-law has bought from Hallmark that decorate my bathroom courtesy of my husband. Yes, I sit and read while on the toilet. Not like men do. But in my own way. When my husband is home, sometimes I “go” to the bathroom. Code. I run and hide and lock the door for 5 minutes. It’s great.

Here it is:

“Nothing gives one so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”

~ Thomas Jefferson

That is my inspiration for tomorrow. I will remain cool under all circumstances four boys under 5 can throw my way. And that is a HECK of a lot of circumstances I assure you.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

7 Days down, 358 to Go!

Dear My One and Only Love,

It’s Valentine’s Day and we’re apart. You’re there, I’m here. I had grand plans of having chocolate covered strawberries (or nachos!) sent to your hotel room but couldn’t figure out how to make an international call. And then I had grand plans of asking someone in your office to do it for me but instead spent the morning getting distracted by one thing after another.

First, I  had the joy of cleaning up your son’s pee off of the bathroom floor and wall. I didn’t know that pee could come out at a 45 degree angle, did you? Well it can. And it did. Everywhere. I think it is time to potty train #3. Ugh. So not ready for that.

Well after that I tried to make heart pancakes for the boys and for your dad’s birthday. That was an epic failure. I was so distracted by #4 crying incessantly (he has a 102 fever) that when the batter looked a little lumpy, I added buttermilk. Turns out, I had forgotten the 3 eggs, not the buttermilk. Lets just say the pancakes tasted, um, a little interesting today.

Next up I took #3 to speech and then #1 to Reading Class and then it was time to decorate Valentine’s cookies and before I knew it was the dinner, bath, and bed. And I didn’t talk to you once. Or even send you chocolate covered strawberries.

Or even tell you that I love you.

So I’ve decided that I am dedicating this blog to you.

A week ago I wrote the following. It has yet to be posted since I’m backblogged, but now seems fitting to share with you.

*     *     *     *     *

Me reading a Blog entry to my husband.

“I ask again, non-existent Orange Rhino followers, will you help me? I know I *should* be able to do this on my own. But its hard. I need the support. I need to feel successful again. I need to find faith in myself. I don’t know where or how my confidence got lost, but it’s gone. And quite frankly, I miss the person that it belonged too. All that’s left is a shell of that person. And I’m pretty sure my husband misses her too. And I guarantee the boys would love to meet her.”

Husband: “Um, that’s really dark sounding. Are you having a mid-thirties crisis? Isn’t writing supposed to make you feel better? Isn’t this supposed to be a positive experience?”

Me: “It is. I have all the feelings inside of me. They aren’t knew. They’ve been with me forever (or so it seems). I don’t tell them to anyone. So they just bottle up. But in writing, I’m letting them out. Which feels great.”

Him: “Um, okay. So you don’t tell these deep dark feelings to anyone, but, let me see if I can get this right, you are going to share them with the world?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s right.”

Him:“That’s interesting. Good luck with that. I mean, I support you fully.”

Interesting? That’s hardly the word. How about screwed up? Backwards? Ironic? Silly? Risky? Potentially mortifying?

Yeah, it’s all those things and more. But it is just so much easier to tell my feelings to strangers. Don’t know why, it just is. Me and intimacy? We don’t have such an intimate relationship, it’s more like we’re distant relatives who get together once a year at the Thanksgiving table and pretend to have something to talk about. Ha. Me and writing? Much more intimate. I can tell my computer anything and she just lets me. She doesn’t talk back, she doesn’t try to tell me how to feel or what to do or that I am crazy. I think I’m in love with her….

But I do love my husband too, of course. He is crazy supportive of this little endeavor. He is always supportive of me and I am so lucky. I just need to tell him more.

*     *     *     *     *

So dear husband, since I can’t tell you now, I am telling the world (well my 7 readers). I love you. I don’t tell you that enough. Nearly enough. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it weren’t for your support, for your love note telling me I had 1 day down and 364 to go. You push me when I am ready to quit. You tell me I can do it when I am sure I can’t. You love me when I’m not at my most “loveable” which I know has been a lot lately.

When I met you, you made me want to lose weight. Not because you said I was overweight, but because I knew I was going to marry you. I knew I wanted to have a family with you and love you as long as we both shall live. So I knew, if I wanted these things, I needed to get healthy, and I did. You were my inspiration. And now, you are my inspiration again. You work so hard and sacrifice so much to be a good husband and a good father. You know kind of like a good bowl of Fettucine Alfredo 😉 You hardly ever yell. You have the type of patience I dream of. You engage with the boys on a level so unfamiliar to me. You enjoy the moment in a way I am incapable of. You do all of this, and more, despite not having time for yourself and having lots of stress in your life. I am going to kick this challenge’s a*s because when I do, I am certain I will come out being more like you.

I so often hide behind the words of greeting cards at Holidays. I claim that they are written perfectly, that they say exactly what I feel. And so often they do. And so I just sign my name without saying what I feel. You deserve more. I love you. You make me a better person. Every since the day I met you, you’ve made me a better person. You show me how to be a better person, both by example and in how you love me, how you encourage me, how you support me.

I know right now you’re thinking “…go to bed! It’s late you need to take care of yourself.” I know that. But I promised myself that as my Valentine’s gift to you I would tell you exactly how I feel and how appreciated and loved you are.


The Orange Rhino.

P.S. Made it through another day! 7 days down. Phew! Seeing as I will be going off of 6 hours sleep tomorrow, please pray for me that I make it through day 8!!! xoxo

What a Release, I mean Relief!

4 days down, 361 to go!

Dear Rice Krispies,

I am kind of feeling like you guys right now. Any minute I am going to Snap! Crackle! And POP! It’s amazing how your jingle really quite accurately describes how the whole yelling thing goes down. First it’s an innocent Snap. Then I Crack and let out a nasty snap and before I know it, BAM, the POP comes. I’ve already had a playdate with Snap today and no offense Crackle and POP but I really don’t want to play with you today. I’m on Day 4 and I really want to move on to day 5 tomorrow.

No hard feelings?

The Orange Rhino


I am SO on edge today. I just feel the impatience and stress bubbling up under my skin waiting to come out. I feel like any second I am going to scream at someone for no good reason. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my husband woke up cranky and started picking at everything I said the minute he got out of bed. That ALWAYS puts me in a mood, shocking, I know. Or maybe it’s that my in-laws have been here for a few days and while they are very helpful, they also bring an extra level of energy and chit-chat to the house. So there has been NO silence in my house for 5 days.

And I need silence to re-charge. Just a few minutes during the day is all I ask. Ok, that’s a lie. I need at least 30 minutes to remain a normal, loving person and 60 minutes to be extra loving!

And I need at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep which I am so not getting. This is probably the biggest culprit of my bad mood. I am simply not sleeping well at all. I am stressed about balancing this project vs. my job as a mom vs. my job as a housekeeper vs. my job as a self-keeper.  I really want to commit to this project but I am finding that it is taking away much needed time from the other aspects of my life. I simply have so many things on my mind that I want to let out and release. The minute I start writing my fingers just fly and my head starts going in a thousand different directions, wanting to discuss every question, challenge, antidote, fear that I’ve been storing inside for years on end.

With every additional child, there is simply less time in the day to chat with friends and family uninterrupted. So all my feelings are just left bottled up leaving me one really on edge mamma! I could probably type for days and still not have released all my unresolved mommy issues like the whole stay at home vs. work thing, the no more babies discussion, or the I’ve become a bad friend because I have so many kids thing and let’s not forget the I’m just not a good enough mom thing.

But I don’t have days on end to write, or talk.

To release.

And so I yell. Because all the stress of keeping these unresolved issues in my head + my never ending to-do-list leaves me so irritable that the smallest, most ridiculous thing makes me snap. Like #1 talking in an annoying baby voice or #2 insisting he can’t put his shoes on, when he can, or #3 dumping out all the toy baskets. Really? These things are really worth yelling about? They are so not….

I need a place, a way, to release all the stress without Yelling.

The way I see it, maybe I can devote an hour, MAX, to the blog a day. Not nearly the amount of time I want to. Every entry I feel I never write what I want or explain it the way I want.  And then I think it’s not worth posting. Well, who cares. Somehow the writing, no matter how good or bad is keeping me from cracking. It is becoming my much needed release.

How do I know?

I survived the day without yelling. This is personally a really huge accomplishment. HUGE. Anytime I feel as on edge as I did today, I totally lose it and enter Yelling Level 6 at least once, if not twice. So the fact that I didn’t – that I actually stopped and took those much needed deep breaths first – is an improvement. Something here is working. What a release. LOL. I mean relief! Hmmm, coincidence these two words sound identical? I think not.

Pee + Toothpaste + Legos = ?

Day 1, Take 8…

Dear Pee, Toothpaste, and Legos,
You tried your hardest to make me kiss Day 1, Take 8 goodbye. It was an impressive performance and I certainly wanted to yell at you all for tempting me. But I somehow manage to beat you…only to lose it shortly thereafter. Sigh. I can’t even remember why I lost it. Double Sigh. So I am back to Day 1, AGAIN. Triple Sigh.

The Orange Rhino


It’s 6:30 in the morning and this is how my diaperless, not-potty-trained 2 ½ year old greets me:

“I peed”

“Um, where?”

“No idea.”

“Well where did you take your diaper off?”

“No idea”

“Can you help me find your pee?”

“Um, no thank you.”

Yes, starting my day on a pee scavenger hunt is JUST how I envisioned the start to my umpteenth attempt to go a day without yelling. If I were a two year where would I pee? In the corner of mommy’s closet where I go to poop in my diaper? Nope. Under daddy’s desk where I also hide to poop? Nope. Oh DUH, I would probably pee where my older brothers do – in the potty! So that’s where I went looking.

I didn’t have to look too hard – the pee was EVERYWHERE and was slowly seeping into every crack in the tile floor and making its way to my bare feet. In fact, the pee was everywhere except in the potty! And it was the first pee since bedtime so not only was there lots of it, but it also smelled righteous! But I was really impressed that #3 tried to go in the potty. Less impressed with the mess but what could I do? I couldn’t yell, so I just laughed. And then thought to myself “sh*t he is clearly getting ready for potty training. I however am so NOT ready for potty training….”

Then I looked up at the counter by the sink. Funny, I didn’t remember having a neon blue counter top. Turned out, my three year old thought it necessary to squeeze out an ENTIRE tube of toothpaste in attempt to get one drop on his toothbrush and then he tried to clean it up himself. Cleaning up being defined as smearing it all around. Again, not so impressed with the mess, but impressed with the attempt to do his morning chores by himself. Again, I couldn’t yell “what the h*ll were you thinking? Why didn’t you ask for help?!” Sh*t. This is HARD.

I made it out of the bathroom without stepping on pee or yelling. Onwards and upwards, into my 5 year old’s room. “OUCH! What the…?!”

“Sorry mom, watch out for the lego.”

The lego? Try LEGOS. They are everywhere; hundreds of little legos with sharp corners waiting to attack my feet.

“Sorry mom¸ I needed to find that one small piece and well….”

“What you needed to dump out all three bins to find it? It’s like…” My voice was starting to rise, my tone was starting to change…I was going to that not-so-happy-almost-screaming-place.

“Orange Rhino Mommy. Orange Rhino.”

Well, done my son. Well done. Thanks for the reminder.

And then we hugged and sang kumbaya and I parented perfectly the rest of the day and we all lived happily every after. The end.


Not 45 minutes later I found myself yelling at #1 and I can’t even tell you why. Um, maybe because he was being fresh? Or because he wouldn’t eat breakfast (again?). Or he wouldn’t get his shoes on? I can’t even remember. Do you know what that tells me? That not only did I enter the raging, irrational mode that I am so not proud of, but also that he clearly did nothing worthy of remembering. Which means one thing: he probably didn’t deserve to be yelled at. I’m sorry buddy. I do love you. And I know I hurt your feelings – you told me so. I’m sorry. Mommy was cranky and took it out on you. Bad mommy.

You know, ever since I started this little challenge, I’ve realized that more often than not, my kiddos never really deserve to be yelled at. I am disappointed in myself for losing it for apparently no good reason, but, and this is a big BUT, I am so relieved that at least I didn’t yell earlier in the day too; because those situations certainly weren’t worthy of yelling.

The pee on the floor? #3 was just trying to be a big boy like his brothers. Can’t fault that.

The toothpaste on the counter? #2 was just trying to please me – especially the cleaning up part. Can’t fault that.

The legos on the floor? #1 was just trying to build something really cool. Can’t fault him for not knowing I was coming into his room at that moment.

And BESIDES, pee, toothpaste, and Legos can ALL be cleaned up. Pee + Toothpaste + Legos = No big deal.

BUT yelling at those moments? That would have been a big deal. Massive crying would have ensued (which is ALWAYS a great way to start the day…) and I would have sent negative – and ridiculous – messages. Please don’t try to go pee in the potty. Please don’t brush your teeth and certainly please don’t try to clean up your mess. Please don’t be creative.

Yeah, those would have been some really stellar parenting lessons.

I am a work in progress.  Tomorrow will be better. At least now I’ll know where to look for the pee.

Things that make me go AHHHH!!!!

Day 1, Take 7, 365 days to go, again

Dear C+C Music Factory,

Oh it’s been a while! All due respect to your song but things don’t make me go “hmmmm” they make me go AHHHHH! I’m trying so desperately hard to figure out the things that make me go “AHHHHH” so I can just go “hmmm” instead. Hope  I figure this out soon because this is DAY 1 TAKE 7. Enough already.


The Orange Rhino (for a little musical flashback!)


The Things that make me go AHHHH!

Oh where should the list start. Well the last 90 minutes is a perfect summary of the majority of things..

  1. That my two year old starts the day whining even after a great night’s sleep, for the 9th day in a row.
  2. That when I go to the bathroom there is pee on the seat, pee on the floor, pee everywhere and the bathroom smells disgusting.
  3. That my five year old, despite also having a good night’s sleep, couldn’t keep it together for 20 minutes and is already picking on his 3 year old brother.
  4. That my three year old can’t figure it out for the life of him that he should stop kicking his 5 year old brother repeatedly.
  5. That my two year is still whining, 90 minutes later. But now he is pulling on my pants, wanting me to change his diaper, to find his measuring tape and his hammer, to put the baby down now. Does he not see that I am feeding the baby?
  6. That as I finally finish feeding my dear baby and he lovingly spits up all over both of us so now we smell like regurgitated cat vomit because he is on the hypoallergenic formula. Just lovely.
  7. That as I finally get to change my 2 year old’s diaper, my 5 year old and 3 year old are playing “Superbowl” and tackled each other into the granite fireplace and are both bawling.
  8. Did I mention that now the baby is whining because he needs to burp again. You know that whine the “ehhhh ehhhh ehhhh ehhhh.” The one that is like fingernails on a chaulkboard but worse and it doesn’t stop?!
  9. That it isn’t even 8:30???


HOLY SH*T! What a sh*t show this morning was. An absolute sh*t show. And just when I was starting to lose it my three year old redeemed himself. ORANGE RHINO!!!! Orange Rhino mommy. Yes sir. Thank you for the reminder. You saved me from myself.

But even though you saved me sweet little boy, and I am relieved that I have not lost it and stand a chance at making it through the day not yelling, I can’t help but wonder, what the heck am I doing? Why have I taken on this ridiculous challenge?

Yes this blog is for me, the challenge is for me and my family, but part of me really wants it to take off. I want to have a following. Why? Because I want to have support but also, and more so, I want to see an Orange Rhino community develop that supports everyone struggle  to stop yelling and struggling with parenthood. And I am so afraid, not just of failing the challenge, but of disappointing those who I love, those who are supporting me and those dreams I have of finding a way to support others.

Every day I go up and down. Up and down. One minute I am ecstatic to be doing this project. It feels right. I feel passionate about it. And then the self doubt starts in. The self doubt that is always present. Everything I do, I question myself. Why can’t I just have faith in myself, like I used to when I was young? What happened to me? When did I get lost? Did I get lost when I became a wife? When I became a mom? I don’t know. I just know the confidence I once had in myself is gone.

Just now I stopped typing to think, a whopping 5 seconds and WHAM. The oppressing feeling of self doubt hits hard. “This is silly Orange Rhino. You’re wasting your time. Stop this project now. Focus on something else. Why are you bothering? You won’t be able to do it. You’re fooling yourself. After all, you’re on Day 1. AGAIN! For the 7th time!!!” Oh so of course the other side of my brain tries to kick in to motivate me, but it only motivates me with negative thoughts “You can’t stop now. All you have done since you graduated college is dream of things you want to do.  AND YOU NEVER DO ANY OF THEM. And if you start, you stop. You quit. You are a quitter.”

And then that list of things I’ve never done only got worse when I became a stay at home mom. “You’re home now. You’re not making money. You’re not paying for childcare so you darn well better be a great, not good, but a great mom. You should do this and that and that and this. Why aren’t you doing any of those things?”

Yes, this is how I think and talk to myself. And that is why, if I can find the strength I NEED to do this project. I need to follow through on something, for me. So I am happier with myself and therefore a happier person and by default a better mom. And this is the perfect project if I can find the much needed resolve to do it. This project will not only make me feel better about myself but it also gives my boys a most wonderful gift: a happier, more loving, less yelling mom. It’s a win win. If I can just do it.

I ask again, non-existent Orange Rhino followers, will you help me? I know I *should* be able to do this on my own. But it’s hard. I need the support. I need to find faith in myself, that I can do something if I put my mind to it. I don’t know where or how my confidence got lost, but it’s gone. And quite frankly, I miss the person that it belonged too. All that’s left is a shell of that person. And I’m pretty sure my husband misses her too. And I guarantee the boys would love to meet her and I would love them to meet her and experience what it means to believe in yourself….

(P.S. I am back dating this post. Know that I feel MUCH BETTER now. I was just hormonal that week, I think…)

The Orange Rhino Game

Day 1, Take 6 (sigh)

Dear #1, #2, #3, and #4 (husband too I guess!)

I know that sometimes, well okay much more than I and you, would like, that I yell too much and too loudly. I always feel so guilty afterwards and ashamed…because I love you so. So I’ve decided to change. I’m going to work really, really, really hard to stop yelling altogether but I’m going to need your help. Ok? Can you do that? Can you help me?


Mommy Orange Rhino


As I am starting to yell at my cantankerous 2 year old I stop myself. Why am I yelling? Because I am tired. Because his whining is obnoxious. Because I am frustrated my husband is working and it’s a Sunday a day I look forward to help from him. Because my 5 year old wouldn’t leave me along for 10  minutes to do something I wanted. (So selfish of me, I know). I’m yelling because as wonderful as they are, my lovely children can be really tiring. But they can also be really wonderful. And honest.

“So #1, how am I doing with not yelling?”

“Terrible. Absolutely terrible. You just yelled at me the other day. And the other minute.”

Yeah, that’s pretty much an accurate summary.  I have no idea what has transpired since last week. Last week I went a whole 8 days. And I felt so good. So so good. To all you non-yellers out there, I know you are laughing thinking to yourself, 8 days is nothing. That is so easy. But to me, it was difficult. At first. That first day was EXHAUSTING. I remember coming up to bed after the day was over and saying to my husband:

“WOW I feel great from not yelling but damn, I am tired.”

It took every bone in my body to keep it together. To find my inner pre-school teacher voice that speaks quietly and lovely and still gets respect and response. But somehow I did it. ALL WEEK LONG I did it. Every day I went without yelling I felt more invigorated and it got easier. And it felt so utterly amazing. I felt an energy I haven’t felt in years. I was bouncing of the walls with adrenaline and excitement.

I felt so powerful and in control which as a mom, is something you often DON’T feel. Ironically, I felt WAY more powerful and in control than when I yell….

And yet, as my 5 year old pointed out just now, I am sucking at the whole not yelling thing. So we created a game to help mommy out.Anytime the boys sense that I am getting cranky and am about to lose it, they need to say ORANGE RHINO. It’s our little secret code. I love that they will help hold me accountable, because really they should. It’s not fair that I expect them to use indoor voices and talk to each other with respect and love when I don’t hold myself to the same standard.

As I write this I hear my husband ROARING at the three older boys…Now tears from one. Oh and now a  little voice “ORANGE RHINO daddy” ORANGE RHINO. So innocently my husband asks, what does that mean?  My 3 year old answers “It means you can’t yell at us. It’s not nice.” WOW. They actually listened to me. And better yet, they get it. Very cool.

So now we have our own secret game. I really hope it helps keep me in line. Really really hope it helps.

Mostly because I’m ready to give up. I’m totally overwhelmed by all the things in my life that I have pushed aside this week because I’ve wanted to write instead. The laundry. The piles of mess that scream  to be picked up. The doctors’ appointments I need to make. The closet organization that needs to happen. The list goes on and on. Everywhere I turn in the house there is something I need to do but just don’t want to. And what’s it been worth not doing it? Nothing. I still have yelled every day and haven’t been able to get back on the “good” streak. I keep telling myself that the sacrifices I am making today, this week, are nothing compared to the benefits that that will come from not yelling.

Uh oh, I’m getting all cranky and worked up.

Orange Rhino mommy, Orange Rhino!



Poop and Self Awareness are cool. Soap Suds are not.

Day 2, Take 2

Dear Self Awareness,
You are what I need to help get me through this Challenge. If I can just figure out why I yell, what my triggers are, then maybe I’ll be able to stop! So please, come fill my head with lots of deep thoughts and insights and more so, the ability to admit to myself the truth about why I yell.

See you very soon I hope,
The Orange Rhino


I should not be writing right now but if I don’t, I’m going to lose it. The baby is sick and had me up all night (again!) so I’m tired. Which means one thing. It is only 6 am and the boys already have the upper hand! My oldest two woke before their “yellow suns” and started playing at 6 – instead of staying in rooms quietly until 630. Now, at first blush you say wow that’s great  – they played together and you got to stay in bed an extra half hour. Yes this is all very true and very much a miracle. But when they are cooped up together for that long – even if willingly – my 5 yr old gets all keyed up and inevitably will start picking on his brother.

Sure enough … ”#2 is a baby butt, #2 is a baby butt #2 is a baby butt.” #2 comes running in bawling. Cue baby to start crying and 2 year old to start banging obnoxiously on his door to come get him all at the same time. Ah the beautiful symphony of noises that fills my home so early in the morning. And now you know why I set my alarm and try to get up before them. So that I can be PREPARED for the onslaught.

So today, instead of yelling I picked up my computer and starting typing the frustration out hoping that it would calm my nerves down and bring me some relief. Anything. Bring me anything just so that I don’t scream!

Enter #1 and #2. “Mommy, Mommy you have to come see #2’s poop! It’s so cool looking.”

And all is well with the world. Poops are cool and now the baby is laughing at himself. Nothing like a good laugh to re-set my stay-cool button.


Um yeah, that was an EPIC FAIL. My stay-cool button must have malfunctioned because not 2 minutes later I kissed Day 2, Take 2 of not yelling good-bye! Shortly after pressing “Save” it donned on me that it was TOO Quiet. Rule of Thumb: If you have 4 boys under 5, or maybe just any number of kids, period, if it is TOO quiet, be afraid. Be very very afraid.
I anxiously walked out of my room. Lo and behold…there were SOAP SUDS EVERYWHERE! My oldest two, who were supposed to be brushing their teeth, were actually cleaning the sink and counter with hand soap which we all know, gets nice and sudsy and goes everywhere when you use the whole gosh darn bottle. Lovely. Just lovely.  Before I knew it, I had snapped. Rather loudly. “What the heck happened? Who made this mess? Who’s going to clean it up?” And then came the Roar. “Get in here NOW!!!!!” This was definitely a Level 5 Snap per the Challenge Details turned Level 6 Yell. #1’s hysterical response amid tears:

“But mommy, we were just doing our morning chores.”

He was right. I’ve taught them to wipe down the counter after brushing their teeth and that is exactly what they were doing. Wiping down the counter. Helping ME. How did I show my appreciation? My excitement for them taking initiative? I snapped at them. As #3 would say, “not nice!” As I would say, not cool and totally unnecessary.

ORANGE RHINO REVELATION: I snapped at them for so called “bad behavior” before even stopping to realize that they were JUST TRYING TO BE GOOD, trying to surprise me by pleasing me.

It seems I have a nasty little habit of seeing something the kids are doing that is good in nature but an inconvenience to me and yelling at them for it. This morning it was the soap suds.  At dinner it was #2 taking out the milk carton to help and me yelling  because I was afraid he’d spill it. He of course said “but mommy, I am just trying to help you.” Sigh. At bedtime, it was #3 taking off the baby’s diaper and me snapping because I was certain my baby would feel the fresh air and pee everywhere – which of course is precisely what he did.

Forget my “stay-cool” button, where is my STOP button? The one that helps me stop, survey the scene, and then talk not yell? Can I get one at Staples?

This should read "Emergency. STOP. Think before you Yell. Chances are, it's unnecessary." Where can I get one? Can I hardwire it to my brain??!

No seriously though, if I had just stopped for a mere second in these situations and realized the goodness that was going on, instead of charging, it could have been an awesome moment.

So now I am back to 0. AGAIN. How is it that I went 8 straight days and now I can’t go 36 hours? And let me tell you, those 8 days. They were fantastic. I felt invigorated. I felt empowered. I felt proud. I felt gosh darn good. I need to get back on track ASAP.

Enter my imaginary Orange Rhino friends. Where art thou? I need you! This blog is my place to record my success and struggles and hopefully find the support to change this habit for life. So please non-existent Orange Rhino friends, find me and help me keep my stay-cool button functioning!

“Raising” my Voice

Day 1, Take 3

Dear New Voice,

It’s so nice to meet you! You’re not nearly as lovely and powerful as the pre-school teacher’s voice but you certainly are much better than my normal scream. You actually sound calm and understandable and almost persuasive. Please, will you stay a long while?

Keep  in touch,

The Orange Rhino


YES! I did it!!!

I made it through this day without yelling. That puts me at 1 day down, 364 to go. Well, I’ve already been there done that and made it to 8 days but this time will be different. It HAS to be! The first 8 days were a great learning experience. A real eye opener. I would say 95% of the time that I’m yelling at the boys it is because of me being tired, me bring over bearing, me being uptight, me being a nudge. So  most of the time, not only is the yelling not warranted, it’s not needed. It is definitely time for a change!

I keep telling people from different parts of my life about my Challenge in hopes that when I bump into them they will ask me about the challenge and will keep me on task! I need as many little voices in my head reminding me to not yell as possible.

So that when #2 grabs #3’s hair and starts to pull him across the room at bath time, like tonight, I don’t scream. Or when #1 kicks me in the back accidently (or not) to take my attention away from the baby, I don’t scream. Or when #3 starts whining at 6am and doesn’t stop all day….

Oh, and did I mention that I am exhausted today, more than ever because #1 came into my bed at 1100 shaking from a nightmare; #3 woke at 430 screaming because of a cold, and #4 woke at 530 screaming because of his cold, waking  all of us up. Today, was needless to say, NOT a good day. I was down all day and couldn’t snap out of it. I promised myself I would get to sleep by 10:00. It’s 9:55 and I still have to go pump, ie. moo like a cow.

Even though today utterly sucked, I survived. I did it. I kept it together and didn’t yell at breakfast when the yogurt smeared all over #3 because he outright refused to wear a bib. I didn’t yell at the kids to hurry up on the way to swim class when they were hemming and hawing. I didn’t yell when I put my 3 yr old to bed early because of aforementioned hair pulling and all he did was start crying hysterically and screaming at me.

Somewhere, tonight, I found a new voice.

Not a loud one that does nothing, but a strong firm voice. “#3, it is bed time. You pulled your brother’s hair which is not acceptable. You are exhausted and need to go to sleep. I love you very much. Good night.” And the weirdest thing happened….

I walked away with a new sense of accomplishment and power. And he stopped wailing…without me having to yell at him.

Seems like I am “raising” my voice, but in an acceptable way. I am teaching it how to grow up and be nicer. Kind of like raising kids. Just what I need. Ha.