Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 22 Featuring Shoes

Today I am recovering from my sickness. I felt better today but wanted to rest. I spent all day in my pajamas.

 I realize that because this blog is about me yelling I'm only sharing negative experiences with my children. The whole picture would show that my kids are awesome people. This morning I had a chance to hang out with my two oldest daughters. They are smart, funny and I love being around them.

In the afternoon Drek took the two oldest to church while Tabs and I stayed home. Tabs was all over me today. She wanted to be on my lap touching me all day. It was a lot, but we got through it. We played a few games and i taught her the sign for "shoes".

We had a delightful dinner and some behavioral issues after dinner, but I remained calm and loving and everything went great. A successful day. Too bad all days can't be pajama days.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 21 Featuring Our Local Women's March

Yeah, this is pneumonia.

But who has time for recovery? Drek took the kids this morning while I got in an morning nap. As soon as they came home I dressed the girls as warmly as I could and we all hopped back in the car to attend the our local Million Women March.

It was awesome. Although I agreed with the values of the organizers, I was afraid the actual people would turn it into an angry protest. That morning Drek and I reconsidered attending because the news was reporting as an Anti-Trump march, which was not our intention. However, after thinking back to what I knew of the early women's movement I came to the conclusion that it has never been completely unified, and that everyone there would have their own reasons for being there, that everyone would have different issues, and that is ok. Women are people. People are all different, unique and beautiful. It would be just fine if I didn't agree with everyone there, just as long as everyone there has a peaceful intention.

The people there were amazing. They were welcoming, inclusive, accepting,  cheerful, hopeful and peaceful. The atmosphere was that of togetherness and optimism. The girls and I joined in a march with a flood of people. There was such a range of people: lots of children, baby carries and strollers, lots of grandmas, different cultures, different races, different religions. There were hundreds of different signs supporting various causes, just as there were thousands of different people supporting various beliefs. But everyone came together to stand together, to support each other, and to help each other.

I was really excited to be apart of such a huge and diverse crowd. I was thrilled to have my girls be a part of that. As I looked at the different signs marching with us ("Love not hate makes America great", "together in peace" and "love trumps hate") I thought how important it is that I send those messages to my children everyday. I need to teach them peace, love, and cooperation. I can't do that with yelling. Marching in a rally is fun and exciting, but my children will learn more from my everyday actions than a few clever signs.

We got home and I immediately collapsed on the bed. I need sleep.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 20 - Featuring Verbal Abuse and Outdoor Screaming

The tickle in my throat has moved down into my chest. What is this? A chest cold? I hope it's not pneumonia again.

Today I was tired and cranky. A storm hit and it rained buckets all day. I just wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep. But of course I had things to do, places to go and children to care for. 

I crossed a line today. So far this year, when I've yelled, the mistake has been the volume of my voice. I'll say a child's name, or the word "no!", which is just fine to say, just not that loud. Today I said something that was both an inappropriate volume and had inappropriate content 

Along with my kids, I babysat two other kids today. I took them to the library so they could play in our library's awesome playroom and read some books. After spending an hour we rushed across the parking lot in the pouring rain with me encouraging everyone to quickly get in the car. The kids ran to one side of the van while I ran to the other. I put Tabs in her carseat and looked over to make sure the kids were getting in the van. What I saw made my blood boil: Ash had gotten in the van, sat in the captain's chair, and had her legs stretched out to the back of the front seat, blocking the three other girls from getting the van. They stood outside in the rain, getting drenched. 

"Ash!" I screamed. "Let them in right now. What in the world is wrong with you?! I have never seen anything so selfish. I should throw you out in the rain and make you walk home." 

Yeah, I know. Horrible. She's just seven years old. In that moment she needed to be taught that her actions were unacceptable. She needed to be taught that while she thought she was being funny, what was really happening was 3 small children were stuck in the rain and cold. She wasn't thinking of others when she needed to put them first.  She needed her point of view to be shifted and the consequences of her actions explained. 

Instead, all that happened was that she was verbally attacked. She won't remember any valuable lesson or perspective shift. If I'm lucky, she'll remember that her mother lost her temper. If not, She'll remember that she is selfish. 

As I drove home, mulling over my appalling behavior, I can see why yelling just produces more bad behavior. If she learned the lesson that she was selfish, she will start to act selfish. A terrible cycle I started. 

When we got home, the girls got into an argument that resulted in Alexa letting out a shrill scream. Instead of reacting with anger, I calmly told Alexa that she could not scream inside, and to please go scream outside. She paused, and I pointed to the door. She went out the front door, screamed again, then came back inside. Three minutes later she scremaed again and I calmly repeated myself. This time she just opened the front door, leaned out, and gave a half-hearted scream before closing the door and coming back inside. She played well the rest of the day. 

So on the one had, horrible fail. On the other, a small victory. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 19 Featuring a Theory About a Pendulum Effect

An interesting observation: despite my failings, I do yell less. My children, however, now yell more.

I was told before starting this experiment that my children might become more sensitive. It was explained to me that if I gave them room to be themselves, free from the fear of being yelled at, they would go through a phase where they would be more dramatic, have more meltdowns and throw more tantrums.

I am now confirming this.

I asked a friend why this was and she said it was simply them exploring boundaries. She said changes in relationships often result in a pendulum effect: with roles being reversed back and forth, swinging from one extreme to the other, with the pendulum eventually coming to a peaceful rest in the middle.

Oddly, my children throwing tantrums does not push any of my buttons. I'm ok with dramatics, meltdowns and tantrums. I can handle those. It's constant and unrelenting whining or crying that really bothers me.

Today was a good day. I'm really tired and I think I'm getting sick, but today I stayed cheerful and calm.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 18 Featuring a Three Year Old Reminding an Adult to Use Time Outs

I'm sleeping in a different room while Drek sleep trains Tabs. Last night I slept well except for the tickle in the back of my throat; it kept waking me up. I'm hoping it doesn't get worse.

Today went well. I'm the Troop Leader for Ash's Girl Scout Troop and today we did training for cookie season. Everything went great until we got home. Because of Girl Scouts we arrived home just a half an hour before Drek was due to arrive home and the house was (as always) a disaster. I turned on the music for the girls to do their chores and things were going along with the usual frustrations. I was trying to have the kitchen clean by the time Drek came home and was stressing about it when Tabs got ahold of a ceramic mug and dropped it on the floor. It shattered and for some reason I thought this an excuse to yell at her. I angrily shouted her name, to which she responded with surprise and then tears. I quickly picked her up and started to sweep the kitchen. Alexa quietly informed me that I wasn't supposed to yell and that I needed a time out. 

I agreed with her, but could't take a time out because I had glass to clean up from the kitchen before I could finish cleaning it. 

It's not the first time a glass dish has been broken in our kitchen and it won't be the last. It really isn't a big deal to me and I never want my kids to think that a dish is more important than them. I'll try again tomorrow.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 17 Featuring Skywalker Gibbons AKA Star Wars Monkeys and Dracorex Hogwartsia AKA Harry Potter Dinosaurs

Some success today!

I had a bit more energy today although my mind is still enshrouded in fog. I've had a tickle in the back of my throat for the last week. I'm hoping I'll fight off whatever it is instead of succumbing to it. Maybe that's where all my energy  going.

I tried to be loving and kind today and had sucess! I spent a few minutes one-on-one with each child with the goal to make them laugh. We had a fun time together today.

The house was in shambles right before Drek came home and I needed their help in cleaning up the huge mess they had made in their rooms. Thanks to recording what sets me off I now know that cleaning with my children is stressful for me. So I came up with a creative way for them to clean:

I told Ash she was a scientist who was trying to study a rare animal. The animal's natural habitat is clean, so the animal will only stay in a place that is clean. She and I raced to clean our rooms (or labs) and when the animal (Daddy) came it would go to the cleaner room/lab. If it picked her room/lab, she could study it and since she was the first scientist to study it, she could name it.  It gave us a chance to talk about Skywalker Gibbons and the Hogwarts Dinosaur, Dracorex Hogwartsia.

I told Alexa there was a unicorn coming! Unicorns like clean places. She and I raced to clean our rooms (or castles) and when the unicorn (Daddy) came it would go to the cleaner room/castle.

It worked out surprisingly well. I kept Tabs in my room while I cleaned in relative peace and the girls worked hard to clean their room. When Daddy came home we informed him he was a unicorn/unnamed animal and the girls thought that was so funny.

Of course, the kitchen was a disaster, but you can't win them all.

After the girls went to bed Drek and I left them with a babysitter so we could go to a ballroom dance class! It was wonderful to be alone together and so much fun to be doing something as fun as a ballroom dance class! It was just a one-time class, but it was so spend some time together.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 16 Featuring A Successful Nursery Day and a Theory about Sugar and Depression

Yesterday worked out. I'm a Nursery Leader (toddlers ages 18 months-3 years) in my ward, so I spent the day preparing for and the being at nursery. It's the smallest nursery I've ever been in; just ten kids, so it's not very stressful and every week I find myself delighted by something. Those little kids are just so cute!

I tried to be patient and kind with my kids and it went well. I made it through the day without yelling! 

After the kids went to bed  Drek and I talked a lot, so I feel like we have some plans to make the future better. 

First, I need more sleep. I'm moving out of the bedroom for the next week. Drek is going to take Tabs and train her to sleep in a pack and play. Hopefully it will only take a week. Hopefully it will stick. 

Second, I really do need more me time. This last week I've been great on giving the kids individual attention and making them feel loved, but I really don't focus on giving myself alone time. We're making plans to change that. 

Today was better. I'm very, very tired today (Tabs was just awful last night, I suppose she knows it's her last night of freedom) but I'm not depressed, just tired. I did yell once, it was a warning "No!" which seems to be a weakness of mine. I'll have to think about how to control my volume when issuing warnings.  This article has some really helpful parenting strategies, including getting physically close to your children and talking softly so they have to really listen to hear you. 

I've realized a pattern: I eat sugar, and in two days I'm depressed. I'm not sure if this is (A)  a coincidence (B) an emotional reaction my breaking my goals or (C) a physical reaction to sugar. In the case of the latter two, It's just more motivation to avoid sugar.