The Orange Rhino Game

376 days of loving more!
Here is an oldie that I swear by. In the early days my boys loved playing “The Orange Rhino” game and it helped me many a time. Still does! 

Originally Published February 2, 2012
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 a start to feel the desire 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 darn, am I tired.”

It took every bone in my body to keep it together that first day. 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 I often DON’T feel. Ironically, I felt WAY more powerful and in control not yelling than yelling….

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!

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