Some of you will remember that a couple of days ago I resolved to stop yelling at my three boys. I actually made it through a day and a half, before charming little Matthew pushed me over the edge today. I am here to make a full confession and rededicate myself to the no-yelling pledge – sort of.
It all started with a hectic morning. Both of the school-age boys were about 10 minutes behind schedule in getting ready for the bus. As an aside, I've never been able to figure out why the boys consume an entire lunch in the 7 minutes allotted to them at school, and they shovel dinner in their mouths before Jenn and I can even sit down, but breakfast can easily last 30 minutes. Josh can pour a bowl of cereal three times higher than the top of the bowl, spill milk with every bite, yet somehow scoop only one or two cereal pieces per spoonful. Matthew, on the other hand, simply wanders around the kitchen 17 times, talking the whole time, while wrapped in his sleeping blanket and wearing his pajamas. Charming but maddening.
While those scenes were playing out this morning, Jenn was upstairs getting ready for work, Colin was screaming for more food, and I inexplicably failed to load the coffee maker properly – which I discovered when the machine began spewing coffee grounds and boiling water across the countertop.
We eventually got through breakfast, but with the bus about three minutes away, both boys were still wandering around upstairs, beds not made, teeth not brushed, shoes not on, jackets still in the closet. Josh was at least near the bathroom, playing around with the toothpaste tube. I asked Matthew to get in there and brush his teeth.
He said, "in a minute ..." and I exploded.
As soon as I yelled, I remembered my pledge. I calmly told him to get in there and brush his teeth. He did so, they put on their shoes and coats, and we made it outside as the bus was driving through the neighborhood.
Here's what I noticed. After not yelling for a day and a half, my one-word scream was pretty damn effective. Matthew immediately responded to it. So maybe I won't eliminate all screaming, I'll just really, really, really cut back on it, to save it for I most need it. How's that for resolve – 48 hours later, and I'm already cracking.