Wednesday, February 08, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 39 Featuring Edible Mancala Stones

Working out in the morning is really working for us. I get out of the house and interact with adults and get the benefit of a workout, while the girls get outside time, friends, and some gross motor movement. Tabs is sleeping better. 

Today I was able to show love by doing something special with/for each daughter. Right when I was congratulating myself for being such a great mother, Alexa announced she had swallowed a mancala piece and needed to poop in a bag. 

"Ummm... Mancala pieces are nice and smooth. I think we'll risk it. Stop putting things in your mouth. Srsly." 

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 38 Featuring a Well-Traveled Penny

It was raining today so we skipped our walk outside. It's a good thing we did: After Drek got off to work and Ash got off to school Alexa announced dhe had to go poo-poo,

I wonder if you told teenagers that being a parent means holding open a ziplock back while your three-year-old poops into it, and then going through the poop to look for coins, if that would help drop the rates of teenage pregnancy.

The good news is there was a coin! A penny! Phew!

Despite a crappy start to the day (ha, HA!) the rest of the day went well. I read some books to Alexa, and I ended up taking her on a small date just to show her I love her.

Another successful parenting day!

Monday, February 06, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 37 Featuring Conquering by Love and Children's True Identity

Today I listened to to a talk by Elder Lynn G Robbins called The Righteous Judge. He talks a lot about parenting and gives some absolute gems of advice.  He says:

To discipline in the Lord’s way is to lovingly and patiently teach. 

 To effectively teach a child is the very essence of good parenting, and to lovingly discipline is the very essence of being a righteous judge. 

President Joseph F. Smith taught, “If children are defiant and difficult to control, be patient with them until you can conquer by love, … and you can then [mold] their characters as you please.” 

The Doctrine and Covenants gives us this well-known advice on discipline: “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; “By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— “Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love” (D&C 121:41–43). This scripture teaches us to reprove “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” not when moved upon by anger. The Holy Ghost and anger are incompatible because “he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger” (3 Nephi 11:29). 

The Spirit of the Lord is a spirit of kindness; it is a spirit of patience; it is a spirit of charity and love and forbearance and long suffering. … 

Love? Forbearance? Long suffering? Sounds like the job description of a parent.

But my favorite part was the last bit:

 Our Children’s True Identity 

 When the Savior visited the Nephites, He did something extraordinary with the children: 

 “And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude … , and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things. … “… And they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things” (3 Nephi 26:14, 16). 

 Perhaps more than opening the mouths of babes, the Lord was opening the eyes and ears of their astonished parents. Those parents had been granted the extraordinary gift of a glimpse into eternity and of beholding the true identity and premortal stature of their children. Would that not forever change the way the parents saw and treated their children? I like this variation of a quote attributed to Goethe: “The way you see [a child] is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is [who] they [will] become.” 

To remember a child’s true identity is a gift of foresight that divinely inspires the vision of a righteous judge.

As I listened to this talk it really resonated with me. What I am doing every day, hour after hour, is the most important thing I could do. I can and will do many, many other important things, but this is the MOST important.

Today was a good day! I made it through showing love, and having teaching moments instead of yelling moments.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 36 Featuring an Overabundance of Coins

I was irritable today. I tried to keep my temper in check, but there were a few times today when I said snapped back when I should have been kind and understanding.

As we were getting the kids ready for bed I picked Tabs up and laid her on her back to change her diaper. She opened her mouth and inside I saw a coin go to the back of her throat. I quickly turned her over and told her to spit it out. I did a quick finger sweep and out came a dime. Phew!

I finished changing her diaper and got her into pajamas. I went to find Alexa to get her into pajamas, She walked out of her room with a panicked look on her face and said "Mama! I swallowed a quarter!"

Where are all these coins coming from?! Did we harvest our money tree?

I called poison control for the second time in my life (same kid. Huh.) and they said not to panic but to have her poop into a ziplock bag so we could look for the coin. I told this to Drek, who nodded thoughtfully and then said "Yes, Also, I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow. I don't think I'll be home, whenever Alexa goes to bed. A lot of work. Very busy."

Being a parent is so glamorous.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 35 Featuring Safety Clauses

Today Alexa ran in front of me and into the parking lot. I yelled her name to get her to stop. I think that falls under the "Yelling in life threatening situations" clause. Her life wasn't in danger, but safety is not to be taken lightly.

In the evening I yelled Tab's name out of exasperation. Which did not fall under any clause. She just knows how to push my buttons.

Friday, February 03, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 34 Featuring Regret, Reactions, and Realizations.

Yesterday was a really busy day. I didn't have time to make dinner yesterday so we ate pizza for dinner.

Today I realized that although I don't have the mental clarity and energy I had in November, not eating sugar really has helped my mood.

Today I was irritable. I had no patience. I kept snapping. I didn't lose my temper, but I didn't really keep it, either. I raised my voice out of frustration, something I haven't done in several days. For the past several days when a problem arises, I'm able to stay calm and try different methods to avoid yelling turn the situation into a teaching experience, where my children learn something positive. Today I simply reacted. There was no problem solving, no effort to teach, just the desire to control.

It was just pizza! It wasn't even a case of Thin Mints! It wasn't a dessert, it was just white flour and added sugar. Sigh.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 33 Featuring Exercise, Sunshine, and Social Interaction.

In an attempt to gain more energy and mental clarity, I'm going to move on from nutrition and add exercise. After Ash was born I trained for a half marathon and discovered a love of running. I love to be outside, running through space, left alone with my own thoughts. I'm able to process emotions, come up with solutions, and find peace that I keep with me throughout my day. 

The reason I have not been running, or even exercising, is one: children, and two: I don't have energy to exercise, I don't sleep through the night!  It's a catch 22. 

So yesterday and today after dropping Ash off at school, I took Alexa and Tabs out running on our double jogging stroller. It's nothing like when I was training for a half Marathon. First of all, I am not alone. I have two kids with me. Also I'm walking with several other women who also have children. It's not the solace I want, but it's something. It's progress. It's me being outside and getting some sunlight. 

I'm hoping it will help with my mood. As of late, I've been in a depression I can't seem to shake. I feel like I'm just going through the motions. Hopefully this will help. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 32 Featuring Progress, Girl Scout Cookies, and Homeless Teenagers

Today is one month since I started the No Yelling Challenge. It's also been one month since I went off sugar (despite a few slip-ups).

I'm feeling good about the No Yelling Challenge. I feel I've made some real progress! I feel I've learned some valuable things. I feel like I've grown as a person and hopefully that will translate into being a better mother. I'm still working on it. I've messed up a lot, but that's ok, I've succeeded a lot too. Progress has been made, and my goal is continue making progress.

I'm not feeling so great about no sugar. Why am I not feeling as awesome as I was in November? If  I don't get all the amazing benefits of no sugar, I'm not really sure it's worth it. Girl Scout Cookie Season has started and I want a Thin Mint! Ok, that was a lie. I don't want a Thin Mint, I would like to eat an entire case of Thin Mints. With milk. So yummy.

Today I left Drek to put the two oldest kids to bed and took Tabs to a church women's activity. We were helping a charity that works with homeless teenagers. We collected clothes, made hats and scarves (I knitted a scarf!) and made lots and lots of burritos. Serving these homeless teenagers made me reflect on how they came to be homeless. It also made me wonder about my precious little children. What if they become homeless teenagers? What choices do they made that the result is being homeless? Is it really their choice? Or the choice of their parents? I'm sure every situation is different and there isn't a simple answer in any situation. But thinking about it did bring me to the oversimplified yet profound conclusion that we need more love. more love for our parents, more love for our children, more love for ourselves. We need more love for strangers and more love for those around us. It won't solve homelessness, but it would make the world a better place.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 31 Featuring Hair Bands, Looking for the Good, and Positive Reinforcement.

Another day with no yelling! I think I am improving!

I read about the rubber band method of parenting and today I wore several hair bands on my wrist. I looked for Alexis and Ash doing good. Whenever I observed them listening, playing well together, cleaning up a mess, serving others, saying something nice...any act that is good, I praised them. The ideas is positive reinforcement.  Whenever I praised them, I moved a hair band to the other wrist. My task was to get all the hair bands to my other wrist.

This is positive reinforcement for the children, which has been shown to be a powerful learning tool. This is also me looking for the good in my kids. When I look for good, I see good! I focus on the good and suddenly my outlook is positive and optimistic instead of stuck in a hole.

I completed my task: it was actually quite easy to find my children doing good. My kids really are great kids. I liked doing this today. I will try again tomorrow!

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 30 Featuring Sleeping Myths and Relationships

Tabs is seventeen months old today.

I think "children sleeping through the night" is a myth. Does ANYONE have children that sleep through the night every night?  Sometimes we might go a few days 2/3 of our kids sleeping through the night. Maybe even a whole week. But even our seven year old has nightmares and turns on her light at 1am to read for a few hours.

Thanks to Drek taking Tabs at night, she no longer wakes up at 2 am thinking it's morning. She sleeps for several long hours, waking at 3, or sometimes even 4am. She cries to be fed, but Drek won't give her to me (and I won't take her) until 5am. Sometimes she cried continually, sometimes she dozes for twenty minutes before crying sessions.

One time she slept until 6am. How do we get that again?

But today went well despite the lack of a solid block of sleep. I'm focusing on relationships: everyday I try to do something to build a relationship with each member of my family. Today they were small things: A back rub, a short but sweet conversation, lots of kisses and snuggles. The more they feel I love them, the better they will listen to me and the more I will hesitate to yell. That's the theory anyway.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 29 Featuring Questions

My kids are really great kids. They are creative, intelligent, funny and endlessly entertaining. They all love to learn and want to experience life to the fullest. I am so grateful for them and the joy they bring me.

I had a short tempter today. I don't think I yelled, but sometimes I am confused as to what counts as yelling. I did raise my voice, but that was to talk over loud commotion, not in anger. I did lose my temper a few times, but instead of yelling I threw a small tantrum, does that count?

Sometimes in my mind I conjure up mother who never raises her voice above a certain decibel and has perfect self control. She is always acts warmly and considered the lesson that needs taught over the incessant situation. Sometimes I wasn't to be that mother, and other times I question soberness of that women - is she chronically on pot?

Does living a life with no yelling equal a life without passion?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 28 Featuring Some Eerie Foreshadowing

Some days you just can't yell, so you laugh instead.

I'm running on little sleep and frustration that my no-sugar efforts have thus far gone unrewarded. Where is my mental clarity? Where is my extra energy? Where is my memory? I've bee depriving myself of brownies and ice cream for twenty eight days now, I better see some increased patience, dangit!

Today was a super busy day with a big family trip. Those always seem like such good ideas in theory, but when you finally finish and get back in the car you wonder if all those wonderful childhood memories are really worth all the effort. Still, the kids did have fun and I got a lot of pictures, so we'll call it was a memory building experience for the kids and a character building experience for parents.

We drove the hour back and stopped at the church. Inside the bathroom we changed into church clothes and attended a baptism. Drek wrote about the event later:

Our daughter managed to get her head stuck in a chair for a couple minutes, but the speaker pretended not to notice and bravely soldiered on with his talk while I yanked on my daughter's head and my wife pulled on the chair. We finally managed to extract her head from the chair and the baptism proceeded as planned. My memories from my own mission are that Satan really comes down hard as a baptism approaches, but that was just petty. We'll see if  [the man getting baptized] is still friends with us this afternoon. Ironically, mere hours earlier, my wife had been describing a scene from "Waiting for Snow in Havana" where the author also got his head stuck in a pew when he was a little boy, during their Catholic mass. It's nice to see that public embarrassment spans all religions and ethnicities and is one more thing we have in common.

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 27 Featuring a Girl Scout trip, a Grocery Shopping Adventure, and a Potluck Dance Party

I'm considering today one giant leap forward.

First off, it was a stressful day from sunrise to well after sunset. A lot needed to get done and the schedule was packed.

Second, I had children coming out of my ears today. Today was a Girl Scout field trip so in addition to my three, I had nine extra children, all of which seem to have ten times the energy I have with have the attention span.  At one point with the Girl Scouts I became frustrated but instead of yelling my voice dropped to a whisper. I didn't even have to think about it before hand, it was just a reaction. THAT IS HUGE!!

After Girl Scouts ended I spent several hours babysitting more children while I still had things to accomplish, including grocery shopping. While grocery shopping with five small children I was not only able to get a chaotic and disruptive situation under control quickly, I did it by explaining my expectations in a whisper. The kids responded so well that I bought them cheetos as a reward. Not as a bribe, or as a way to control them, but because not only met but also exceeded the expectations I laid out for them and I wanted to spontaneously reward good behavior.

Third, it was a really late night. We had a church potluck and dance party and stayed there dancing until a full hour past the children's bedtime. By the time we got them in the car, two out of three were crying. Drek and I chose to see the humour, and joined in the cacophony, encouraging our oldest to contribute. We all howled in harmony. The family that cries together . . . um, avoids yelling?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 26 Featuring Bendable Cards and Snap Reactions

After picking up Ash from school today I took all three girls grocery shopping. In anticipation of this always stressful event (kids and grocery shopping do not mix well) I gave myself a pep-talks and announced more than once that Today Is A No Yelling Day.

After getting all three kids out of the car and into the cart I made sure I had my card, which Alexa immediately asked to hold. I handed it to her, she took it, then bent it in half.

"NO!" I yelled, snatching it away. Sigh. Deep breathe. "Alexa, I'm sorry I yelled. I was afraid the card would break. If the card breaks, we can't get food today. Please don't bed cards."

Alexa nodded. I reached back in the car and grabbed another card, which is one of those useless reward cards from random business that I seem to accumulate despite my efforts to the contrary. "This one you can keep." I said.

Happy child, lesson learned, disaster averted. So how to I get my snap reactions to align with my goals?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 25 Featuring Lunar New Year, Lion Dancers, and Librarians

I made it another day without yelling, but I did lose a child today.

We went to a Lunar New Year celebration at a library. It was an awesome event that ended in the Chinese New Year Lions coming in and dancing. The kids loved it and so did I.

Space was limited. All the chairs were claimed, so the kids were sitting on the floor in front to see. I sat with Alexa for a while, but then was told to move to make room for the lion dancers. I put Alexa in a good spot, then moved to the side so I could watch the dace. A few minutes later I saw a librarian approach Drek, and both of them moved quickly to the back.

I knew exactly what had happened. I jumped up and followed them back to a tearful Alexa, who had gone looking for me and ended up lost and crying, only to be found by a kind mother who brought her to the librarian. Thankfully, the librarian associated Drek with Alexa and was able to find him.

So, a successful day at goal keeping, not so successful in parenting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 24 Featuring Baby Poop

I was successful today! No yelling and I spent some quality time with each of my wonderful kids.

Tabs is just starting out with potty training and today we had a poopy accident. I took her to the tub and washed off her little bum-bum. Alexa came to see what I was doing and gasped.

"Mama! You are touching baby poop!"

"Yep. I'm cleaning Tabs up."

"But you are TOUCHING the baby poop."



I sighed. "Because that's what's mama's do."

"Mama's touch baby poop?!" And she broke into laughter which ended in her chanting "Mama's touch baby poop, Mama's touch baby poop." Over and over around the house.

What has led me this to this? Sigh.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 23 Featuring the All Knowing Glenda The Good Witch and Choose Love

I had a great start to the day. I woke up after sleeping all night (!) and had energy. I'm almost recovered from my sickness. I can face the day!

I started out by announcing aloud today would be ano-yelling, no-sugar day. This is when I noticed my voice was half-gone. Huh. A horse voice might make yelling difficult. How promising.

Next, I snuggled with Alexa. I gave her a back rub and lots of kisses. I held Ash's hand during family scriptures.

After Ash was off to school, Drek was off to work and Tabs was down for her nap Alexa and I played "Wizard of Oz", her favorite game. She was Glenda, I was Dorothy.  In the middle of it she announced to me "I know ALL, Mama. The whole world. I know all. She might have been in character, but I don't think so.

Several stressful situation arose today, but I am happy to report I whispered through every one of them. I thought, for one exciting second, that whispering instead of yelling was becoming a habit, but then I realized it was more likely that my horse voice just makes is seem that way.

So whispering might not be a habit yet, but I'll get there. I did use every situation today as a teaching moment, and I am proud of myself. I did some good parenting today.

I'm ever more proud of myself because at about noon, I was hit with depression. Not sure why, but there it was. I still kept my cool and had some great teaching moments.

I came across this article with steps to take when trying to stop the habit of yelling. There were two steps I really loved: The first one is "Realize that your #1 job as a parent (after safety) is to manage your own emotions."
That struck truth with me. I really think that if I can manage my own emotions and can communicate clearly and effectively that my kids will too just because kids are such good mimics.

The second one is "Find your own wisdom. . . . imagine there's an angel on your shoulder who sees things objectively and wants what's best for everyone in the situation. This is your own personal parenting coach. What does she say? Can she give you a mantra to see things differently, like:  "Choose love.""

I love it. "Choose love." I'm going to make that my mantra.

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.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 15 Featuring a Pit

Back in the pit of depression.

Why am I doing this, again? Not the no yelling thing, the whole kids thing. I used to love being a mother. I thought it was challenging , but fun. I thought it was difficult, but worth it. I can't remember the last time I felt that way. Now it's just hard.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 14 Featuring Talking to Yourself Creates Success

Last night Drek and I put the kids to bed, then got a babysitter to come and sit in our living room while we sneaked out for an hour to go to an open house good-bye party for one of my dear friends.

They had treats there. I ate them. Because I am an addict.

This morning I was really surprised I gave in an ate sugar. It wasn't even chocolate! What in the world was I thinking? Why would I break my goal like that?

I think it's because I've lost focus of my priorities. Getting up in the morning and saying aloud "Today is a No Sugar Day" really helped me back in November. I said it my husband, I announced to my kids, I texted my friends and asked them to hold me accountable. Now, it's just another thing I'm working on.

I think applying the same thing to yelling will also help a lot. Today I think I yelled...I'm really not sure because I didn't lose my temper, and it wasn't done in anger, but I think I did raise my voice a few time, again because I think I'm losing focus of my priorities.

So tomorrow I will start the day by announcing to the mirror, or to my family, or to whomever or whatever is listening that  Today is a No Yelling and No Sugar Day.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 13

Today was better! Once again Tabs woke up at 2, but she was only up for 30 minutes or so. I'm hoping she'll get better.

I woke up with some energy, which is great. I'm still on the mind fog, but I'm hopeful I'm coming out of sugar withdrawals. I feel like I can see light at the end of a dark tunnel.

A study of long therm effects of yelling on adolescence is giving me motivation to try harder.

The study was in 10 public middle schools in eastern Pennsylvania over a two-year period, working with 967 adolescents, most from middle-class families, and their parents.

The study showed a few very interesting things. First, rather than minimizing problematic behavior in adolescents, the use of harsh verbal discipline may in fact aggravate it.  Harsh verbal discipline occurred more frequently in instances in which the child exhibited problem behaviors, and these same problem behaviors in turn were more likely to continue when adolescents received verbal discipline. “It’s a vicious circle,” The author of the study stated “Problem behaviors from children create the desire to give harsh verbal discipline, but that discipline may push adolescents toward those same problem behaviors.”

This reinforced something I had already read: Yelling at children teaches them to yell. Yelling is an ineffective form of communication. The parent yells, the child yells, neither communicate and the situation just gets worse and worse.

Second, the negative effects of verbal discipline (increased levels of depressive symptoms, more likely to demonstrate behavioral problems such as vandalism or antisocial and aggressive behavior.) were comparable to the effects shown over the same period of time in other studies that focused on physical discipline. So even though I think it's better to yell than to hit, the long-term effects aren't so different.

And third,  the researchers also found that love, emotional support, and affection between parents and adolescents did not lessen the effects of the verbal discipline, and neither did the strength of the parent-child bond. So if I only yell once a day, or even once a week, and shower my children with love every other time, they's still have the damaging effects of yelling.

So, what I gathered from this study is that It's not ok for me to yell at my kids.  It isn't productive. It doesn't result it better behavior, it results in worse behavior. It teaches them ineffective communication and stunts them learning how to communicate in a healthy way. There are no excuses for yelling.

The researchers of the study said a much better approach than yelling is for parents to communicate with their adolescence on an equal level, explaining their worries and rationale to them. I think that to a point, that will also help with children. If I try to communicate with my children, they will try to communicate with me. If we are communicating, we can problem solve.  The best book I have read on communicating with children is How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish. I feel this book opened up a whole new world to me and it's something every parent would benefit from reading at least once a year. In fact, after reading this study, I think I'm going to try and read a chapter of it a few times a week, just to keep in my mind how to teach and learn effective communication, since the study points out that that is critical to healthy, well behaved children. Hopefully that will help me to stop yelling.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 12

Once again Tabs was up at 2am and would not go back to sleep. Once again I woke up depressed.

Today I tried to get myself out of my depression. I tried to play with my kids, I tried to smile, i tried to be grateful. It didn't work.

Today we went grocery shopping. A few months ago the store had a sale on gift cards and we bought a few. I took the never before used gift card to the store with me. While I was pulling Alexa and Tabs out of the car and looking for my shopping list and grabbing my shopping bags Alexa found a gift card on the ground and handed it to me. I praised her, thanking for finding it and thinking how awful it would have been if I had lost it.

When we got checked out I handed her the gift card. It had a quarter of the amount that was supposed to be on it. When she said it would only cover have the bill panic rose in me. It then occurred to me that maybe that wasn't my gift card. I dug in my pocket and pulled out another gift card. I handed it to her and sure enough, that one had the correct amount. I realized that I had just used someone else's gift card to pay for my groceries. I thought of asking the clerk to reverse it and put it back on the gift card, but the store was really busy, my line was long, and the clerk was young and inexperienced. I rationalized that a gift card was like cash, and I would never be able to find the owner. We finished loading groceries into the cart and I started to walk away,

I felt awful. I had been depressed all day, but this was different. I rationalized that I should feel grateful. We had gotten half of our groceries paid for! God was trying to tell me he loved me! But it didn't feel like a blessing. I stood at the front of the store and looked around at the busy clerks, the long lines, and the crowds of people. I glanced around for a manager, but couldn't see one, and Tabs had started crying. Alexa was anxious to get going and was starting to wander off. I was busy, I had my hands full, and the store didn't want to be bothered.


I sighed. I went to the nearest check-out stand and asked the busy cashier if there was a manager I could talk to. She informed me she was the manager. While she checked out someone else's groceries, I told her what had happened and asked if I could put the amount back on the gift card. She said she could, and that they could track to whom the gift card belonged my the gift card number.

So I took and extra 5 minutes out of my day to do that.

On the way to the car I explained to Alexa that she had been someone's angel; that she had found the gift card that someone had lost and because of her, they would get it back.

I was still dead tired, but no longer depressed. I yelled a few times, but I was able to tell myself that I needed to keep trying.  I think in that case, service was helpful. Next time I'm depressed I'll try doing some small service to see if it will help.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 11

Today was a miserable, miserable day.

Tabs is not sleeping. For the past several nights she wakes up about midnight and goes back to sleep, but then wakes up at 2 and does not go back to sleep.

At 3am I lost all patience with her. I yelled, I name called. Drek came in and took for the rest of the night.

In the morning I woke up depressed. I'm so dead tired. I'm frustrated that I'm STILL going through sugar withdrawals. I know that usually it takes two weeks to go through sugar withdrawals, but last time it only took me 8 days, so I'm very impatient.

I was upset that I yelled at a baby. I was upset that I'm not getting any better at not yelling, and in fact, getting worse. I felt like my goal of not yelling was an impossible task that I had given myself to torture myself. I had no hope, and no desire to even try.

I yelled a lot today. It wasn't angry yelling, or lost-my-temper yelling, just yelling to get a point across, yelling to end the conversation, yelling for the sake of yelling.

A total fail.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 10

Tabs is not great at sleeping through the night. She's really awful, actually. Sometimes it's fine and I stumble through it, and sometimes it's assuredly NOT fine.

Last night she was awful and so this morning I woke up feeling ornery. I knew right away is going to be a tough today, so I rolled right out of bed onto my knees and said a prayer asking for help.

I felt better while I was praying, but it did nothing to lift my black mood. During breakfast I had to hold my tongue and breathe several times. I said another prayer asking for peace, but my mood remained unchanged. I thought about Balgram's comment of lifting her mood by forcing a smile, singing a happy song, or counting good things. I tried to think if one would help. Immediately I thought of being grateful, so I started telling my kids that I was grateful for them, for their dad, for our house, for breakfast, and said several prayers of thanks in my head. It helped. We did our morning chores and got Ash off to school with no yelling or angry speaking.

 The day was still rough. I'm having serious sugar withdrawals this time. I ended up taking a nap just to make it though the day.

After the kids went to bed I went out to my once-a-month book club. I had a great time, but I stupidly ate sugar. I made it through the day without yelling, but I did mess up and each sugar.

Monday, January 09, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 9

Why am I still having sugar withdrawals? Hasn't it already been forever? Why I am so dead tired? I was over the exhaustion by day 9 last time. Of course, last time I hadn't eaten an entire king-size candy bar by myself just before I detoxed. But it was an Oreo candy bar! And it was covered in British chocolate! I don't regret it.

Ok, maybe a little.

I am tired and cranky and don't want anyone or anything to touch me.

Today was just a giant test of my patience. I tried so hard to be calm, kind and respectful. I mostly succeeded. Right before lunch Drek realized I was about to explode and carefully tried to defuse me. Other than that little episode I think I did a good job. Today I didn't yell and I didn't speak with anger.

Mostly I tried to avoid talking in general.

I'm really holding on the memory of how awesome I felt in November when I was off all sugar. I remember feeling so patient and alert and full of energy. I keep thinking that as soon as I feel that way again, this goal to go a year with no yelling will be so much easier. I just have to make it a few more days.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 8

Yesterday was my fist stressful day of the year. My schedule was packed: In the morning I had to get all three girls dressed in Sunday best , hair brushed and styled and shoes on their feet so we could attend a baptism at 10am. Everything went well for that part of the morning.

Ash and I had tickets to attend a showing of The Nutcracker an hour away. Several mothers and daughters from Ash's Girl Scout Troop were also going. One of the moms contacted me at the baptism and said she had hurt her back and asked if I could take her daughter. I said yes, as long as they were at the house at 11am, as then was when we needed to leave. We rushed back from the baptism, dropped Alexa and Tabs off with Drek, changed clothes, and jumped back in the car. We were ready to go at 11. The girl didn't show up until 11:10. We hurriedly transferred her car seat over, buckled her up, and we were off!

Three minutes later I realized our car was completely out of gas. What a responsible adult I am.  I pulled into a gas station and put my credit card into the machine. The machine beeped and the message "card expired" flashed on the screen. I had never seen that message before. What could it mean? I tried again and the same thing happend. I looked ta my card. The expiration date was dec of 2016. Ah, my card had expired. That is what the message means. I reached in the car and looked though my wallet. I had no debit card, no other credit card, and no cash. All of these were supposed to be in my wallet. Every single one was gone, I had taken them out at various points and hadn't returned them. Such a responsible adult.

I sighed in frustration and climbed into the car. Right before I closed the door, the gas station worker stood in front of my car and announced "Your card has expired."

I paused, confused at why he was telling me this, and why he had come out of the gas station to announce this to me. "Thanks, I know." I answered angrily. I shut the door and drove off, become more and more angry as I drove home.

When I yell at my children I immediately regret it. Sometimes it takes me a minute to calm down from my anger, but I'm always immediately sorry when I am mean to my children.

But to this stranger, whom I didn't yell at, but did speak to with anger, I only got more and more angry. The entire three minutes home I thought of all the mean things I should have said to him. We pulled into the driveway, I transferred the girls to Drek's car, I ran inside, grabbed the keys to Drek's car and off we went again. It was only then that I realized I had spoken with anger and broken my resolution. I also realized how strange it was that I was angry with him at all. I was frustrated, stressed and embarrassed, and reacted with anger.

In the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (if you have not read this book it needs to jump to the top of your to-read list immediately.)  an American who survived a Japanese POW camp said that afterward he never got angry because he just didn't see anything that was worth getting angry over. I wish I could find the exact quote, but that was the idea. Anyway, I thought of that. Why in the world was I angry? Was that really worth breaking my goal over?

I changed my attitude, said something to make the girls laugh and felt my anger melt away.

Three minutes into our drive I realized I didn't have my phone. I had no way to navigate to the theater. I turned the car around again and drove home, frantically searching and feeling more and more stressed, upset, and like a failure.

I finally found my phone, and were finally able to leave at 11:30.

Yes, we were late, but again, was that really worth being angry over? Is being late really worth getting upset over?

There were a few other very stressful thing that happened yesterday, including a stressful dinner out in public with just me wrangling not 3 but 4 children who were bursting with energy and not wanting to listen, but I am happy to report that I stayed patient, calm, and respectful through it all. It is possible,  If I could only keep that up.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 7

Yesterday was a good day.

The book Mission For Mother by G. Hugh Allred talks about how when children act out it is because they are trying to find their place in the family. They are trying to figure out where they belong. The book says the best way to stop children from acting out is to spend time with them.

So Drek and I scheduled "date night" with our kids. We did this during the fall with great success, it just fell a little bit on our priorities. If we did it the way we should, every Friday Drek would take one daughter out on a date, while I took the other daughter out on a date. The next week we would switch daughters. It's a way for us to spend one-on-time with our kids and have positive interactions together.

For those confused by the math, yes, we do have three daughters. Tabs is little enough that she tags along on one of the dates.

Drek took Ash to see the new Disney movie in the movie theater and I took Alexa to get frozen yogurt. Alexa and I ended our date by singing "Let It Go" and dancing around the house.  We were silly just to be silly.

It was fun to spend time with her and to just be silly with her. I hope she remembers her mother like that instead of as a scary yelling monster.

Friday, January 06, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 6

This sugar withdrawal is brutal. I really had too much sugar in December.

Yesterday started off with Alexa hitting. It really bothers me when she hits because she is so articulate. Her speech is advanced for her age and she communicates exceptionally well. I think that this should mean her behavior should also be advanced, but that's not the case. Just like any 3 year old, she hits when she gets frustrated.  I deal with it by calmly explaining that she needs to use her words.

She kept hitting. At different times during the day she hit her sisters. I did time outs, I explained, I hugged, I lectured. And then, I yelled. Basically, I became frustrated and yelled just like she became frustrated and hit. I have the same maturity as a three year old. Yelling at her made her cry and made me feel terrible. Ash whispered that I wasn't supposed to yell anymore, which made me feel worse.

I apologized to them both, then talked to Alexa about how both of us had made a sad choice. I told her next time I would make a happy choice and hope she would too.

In thinking about writing this blog post, I've thought a lot about what to about Alexa's hitting. She hit her older sister just a few hours after that, so yelling did nothing. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that she just might need more touch. The book Touch talks about how toddlers and preschools can hit each other and themselves simply because they aren't getting touched enough. In the book it talks about a study done by Tiffany Field: "The American parents watched and touched their children less than French parents. The American children played with their parents less, talked with and touched their parents less, and were more aggressive toward their parents than French children. During peer interactions, the American children also showed less touching of their peers, but more grabbing of their pers' toys, more aggression toward peers, and more fussing."

Last night I cuddled with Alexa and rubbed her back. This morning I did it again. I'm hoping consistently giving her small massages and continually giving her positive attention will help curb her hitting. The great thing is that instead of just getting frustrated, I have a plan of attack. We'll see if it works, but just having a plan will help me control my temper.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 5

I lasted 4 days. That's 3 days longer than I thought I could go, so, yay?

I'm detoxing from sugar. I was so tired yesterday, so unmotivated, but tried to be productive anyway. We're babysitting a pair of guinea pigs and as a project I cut out a little hut for them out of a sturdy cardboard box and let the girls decorate it. I told them they could use Sharpies for the project.

Sharpies are a big deal in our house. Only Mama and Daddy can use Sharpies. The children are not allowed to touch them. I explained that this was a one-time exception, and that they were to use the Sharpies to color the box. I told them they could ONLY use the Sharpies for the box. They were not allowed to color on anything else. I went over this several times in several different ways.

While they colored I cleaned the kitchen. They stated to fight, so I used all my awesome techniques learned from Siblings Without Rivalry to get them to work it out. I patting myself on the back for not yelling, even though I was so tired, when I turned to pick something up. I looked back to the table and Alexa was coloring the table with the Sharpies.

"No!" I yelled.

I yelled.

Exasperated. exhausted, and feeling guilty that I yelled, I whispered to Alexa to not color on the table. Then I sat down with them and watched until they were done.

Two hours later we were in the bedroom. Ash and Alexa are running around, jumping on and off beds, screaming, chasing, and having a great time. Tabs was also having a great time, until suddenly she wasn't. I went over to see what was wrong. She signed "potty" and as I slipped off her pants (She's potty training so no diaper) realized she had both pooped and peed in her pants. I left the pants on the floor and took her to the potty. I came back into the room just in time to see Alexa jump off the bed, fall, and land face first...yeah, you know.

"NOOOOO!!!!!" I yelled.

I believe crap is an appropriate expletive.

So while I'm getting Tabs and Alexa into a bath and trying to comfort poor distraught Alexa, Ash jumps off the bed and hurts her leg. You have not seen drama until you see Ash get the slightest minor injury.

It was a few minutes after that had been dealt with and settled down that I handed Ash the phone and had her call Daddy to come home 30 minutes early.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

A Year Of No Yelling Day 4

Yesterday we had friends over all day, the amazing type of friends where there are little to no fights to break up all day, so while I was with my children all day, I actually had minimal interaction with them. It was a fun, pleasant day. While putting them to bed I gave them extra nose kisses and snuggles. I tried to treasure each one for a few seconds.

I attribute this to a talk I had just finished reading in which it says: "Heavenly Father sees His children, created in His eternal image, with magnificent and glorious potential...We want to use the light of the gospel to see others as the Savior does—with compassion, hope, and charity."

I did run into a question: Does calling count as yelling? When I needed my kids to come in to the kitchen, I called their names. Is that yelling? My voice was raised, but there was no anger at all. Does it count? If yes, how do I get them to come without calling? We had a dinner bell in my house growing up. Maybe I'll buy a dinner bell...

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

A Year Of No Yelling Day 3

Yesterday was another low-stress day. We're still on winter vacation. We had no where to go today and nothing that HAD to get done. So we hung out in the morning until I got frustrated stepping over piles of...What is all this stuff?! in the hallway and had the girls clean their room.

Ash is at this magical age where I can ask her to do something simple and she does it. If she wants to. Alexa is 3. Sometimes she pretends she can't hear you. Sometimes she cries. Sometimes she hits. Sometimes she just wants help.
Tabs is destructo baby 3.0 and loves to mess up whatever you have just cleaned. Her favorite is to dump our a box of toys her sisters have just cleaned up.

I started out cheerful and happy, playing and eye-spy game to get them to clean. That deteriorated quickly into a game of me calmly repeating myself over and over. And then I was about to yell, but remembered, closed my mouth, took a deep breathe, and whispered instead.

I read somewhere that children can easily develop a filter for yelling; when you yell, they tune you out.  I'm currently reading a book called Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages by LR Knost in which is says "Yelling silences your message. Speak quietly so your children hear your words instead of just your voice."

So I started to whisper. The effect was interesting; my kids stopped what they were doing and strained to hear what I was saying. They were trying to listen to me! Amazing!

Several hours and a playdate later we did our before-dinner chores. My kids do this every single day, so they know what to do. Ash has it down, and every day I find it miraculous that she goes and does her chores. Alexa, on the other hand...

"What's your chore, Alexa?"  (It's always set the table)
"What's your chore?"
"Set the table?"
"Yes! Hooray! Go get the plates....go get the plates. Alexa, the plates are in the cupboard. Walk to the cupboard. Alexa, Alexa, focus. Walk to the cupboard and get the plates.  Great! Now put one plate at each spot. Alexa, put the plates in the right place. Alexa, look at the plates. Put them in the right spot, please. Alexa. Alexa. Please turn off the TV. What are you supposed to be doing? Please put the plates in the right spot." continued for five more minutes.

 I asked my husband at what point yelling is my only option. He patted my back.

 Alexa is three and full of imagination. While she was supposed to be putting the plates in the right spot, she ran back to her room and put her pajama pants on, both legs through the same pant hole.  "I'm a mermaid princess!" She announced.

This is where my yelling instinct kicked in. Miraculously, instead of giving in, a spark of light pierced my anger. I remembered my goal, and remembered that she, after all, is only three. I grabbed spoon from her fairy tea-set. It is shaped like a flower/magic wand. I sung a silly song and tapped her "mermaid tail" and announced in my best impression of Glenda the Good Witch that she was turned into a human princess for one hour." I then helped her get both legs into different pant holes. I used that same Glenda voice to direct her back to the kitchen, I where I told her to put the plates in the right spot.  She listened! She pretended she was a princess setting the table.

Ash noticed, too. "Why is mama using the silly voice?" she asked her dad.
"She's trying not to yell" he answered.

And so we go through dinner time chores. And somehow, day 3 ended with no yelling and hopefully a few lessons learned.

Monday, January 02, 2017

A Year of No Yelling Day 2

Yesterday I didn't yell at my kids once. This is huge. It was also a low-stress day.

I told my children my goal. I asked them to try an be respectful (whatever that means) and said that if they thought I might yell, to please send me to time-out. We had a great conversation about using time-outs to cool down and how we need to problem solve.

I love the idea that I'm teaching my children instead of controlling them. I love the idea that by working on my temper, it will help them with theirs.

Jim Hutt, Ph.D., creator of; says "[yelling is] not a good strategy for getting good behavior. Yelling is scary, so it activates a child's emotional "fight or flight" response while shutting down his logical thinking. "If I yell at a kid, he's going to stop processing information, and if I want him to learn why his behavior is inappropriate, I need him to be able to understand what I'm saying, When parents raise their voice, all it teaches kids is to do the same when they're upset. "If we hit, they hit; if we yell, they learn to yell. If we are calm, they learn how to be calm,"

After all that success, the night was rough. My 16 month old has no sleep schedule. She's been erratic since she was born. I've tried to work with her natural rhythms, but I suspect she has none. About a year ago I forced a nap time on her to limited success. Several months ago we switched to a morning nap, which works a lot better as far as routine, her morning behavior, and getting her to take a nap.  It falls apart after that: because she naps so early in the morning, she sometimes falls asleep in the car in the afternoon. if she does, her mood is better in the evening, but it also means she might not go to bed, or that she'll wake up in the middle of the night and think it's playtime. If she doesn't fall asleep, she'll be cranky in the evening and become to intolerable that I'll put her to bed an hour early, which means he'll wake up in the middle of the night and think it's playtime. I'm really not sure how to fix this.

Last night she woke up at 2am. We tossed and turned. I broke down and nursed her (theoretically she's been night weaned for three months), I hushed, I soothed, I cuddled, I ignored, I used stern words. At 4am I was done. She is 16 months old, why is she still sleeping like a newborn? I swaddled her tightly and spoke in an angry, sleep-deprived, hushed whisper/hiss. "GO TO SLEEP NOW" I had my arm over her so she couldn't move. She screamed for two minutes then fell asleep. I was up for another hour feeling guilty.

 Clearly, this is going to a problem in the future. I need to figure out a better way to deal with it.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

A Year of No Yelling

Happy New Year! I'm grateful for 2017 and the fresh start it brings! This year  I want my resolution to be huge and life-changing. I thought about if for several weeks before deciding on my goal:

Go an entire year without yelling

In October that goal would have seemed completely unattainable, In November I learned so much about goal setting, self control and how much better I feel off of sugar and I feel that now I have the tools to undertake such a monolithic task. 

I have 3 children, ages 7, 3 and 16 months. It seems they only listen to me when I yell. I don't yell all day, but I definitely yell everyday. Am I going to reach Jan 1 2018  and think how great I was to not yell for a whole year? Goodness no. I know I will mess up. I know I will lose my temper. I know I will forget my goal for a few seconds and resort to instinct. I also know that I will keep trying. 

The rules: 

I can be stern, strict, and firm. 

I can't yell or speak with anger at all, to anyone. 

Exception: Life-threatening situations such as the house being on fire. 

How I am going to accomplish this goal: 

I'm going to use this blog to chronicle my journey. a record of how and why I succeed and how and why I fail, will help me improve. 
I'll research ideas about parenting and studies on the consequences of yelling. Continuing to learn will keep me motivated.
By making my goal public I'm holding myself accountable. Please feel free to ask my how I'm progressing. 

I'm going off sugar again. To be honest, the least two weeks in December I ate giant mountains of sugar. It was delicious. It was also a great eye-opener: headaches, tiredness, crankiness, all could have been avoided by avoiding sugar. I can do better! I can feel better! I can BE better! Starting today, I'm not eating sugar until Valentines Day. I know that this will increase my patience, clear up my mind and help me focus on what is really important. 

I'm going to asking for help from my Higher Power. Putting it in a brutal way; yelling is an addiction of mine. It's how I deal stress, frustration, anger, and depression. The vital step in breaking any addition is getting help from your higher power. I intend to spend time every morning and every night on my knees, begging for help.  I know my Heavenly Father will help me in this task, because these are His children I am raising. I also feel that the idea for my no-yelling adventure came from Him. He wants me to do this, and if he asks me to do something, he will make it possible to accomplish it. 

So, here we go. I just need to start, right? This overwhelming journey can be taken one step at a time.