How’s That No Yelling Thing Working Out for You?

So it’s been almost one month since I took my Lenten oath of not yelling…mainly at my kids. Forty days of keeping a perfectly calm tone and not screaming like a maniac.

I know.

What was I thinking?

Could it actually be done or would I crack under the pressure of a sassy-mouthed little girl who insists that she has nothing to wear when, in fact, I actually did all of the laundry and put it away?

So this is what I can tell you.

Has it been easy? No way!

Have I almost lost my cool? Of course!

Did I have to leave the room a few times so I wouldn’t yell? Absolutely!

Has it been worth it? Yes. Really, I’m not lying.

Although lightning wouldn’t strike me if I did let out a howl or two, or at least I hope it wouldn’t, I’ve really tried to stick true to my word. I guess it’s Catholic school guilt that’s still lingering!

I want to show my kids that when mommy says she’s going to do (or not do something in this case) she means it. I also think not yelling has benefited my blood pressure and all-around mental status!

Not yelling has meant finding new ways of problem-solving. Instead of screaming when my daughter knocks over the entire container of Nesquik on the floor that I vacuumed less than two hours ago, I simply tell her not to worry about it, but also give her the broom to sweep it up.

The yelling mommy would have lost her cool and went on a rant about how no one looks at what they’re doing and I’m not the maid, yada, yada, yada. In reality, it’s just an accidental spill that can be cleaned up in minutes. Without yelling, the mess still gets cleaned up and no one feels bad or has veins popping out of their head.

Mission accomplished.

When my daughter wants to wear a shirt to school that’s too small for her, the yelling mommy would lose it while visions of the teenage years would give me heart palpitations. The Lenten, non-yelling mommy, says what she thinks is appropriate and then dishes out a consequence in a calm voice. “If you choose to wear that, then you can’t go to the birthday party this weekend.”

Hmmm…and what do you think she chooses? I’ll take the appropriate clothes and the birthday party mommy.

Yep, that’s what I thought. After this scenario, the shirt in question mysteriously disappears, never to cause problems again.

By not resorting to yelling I’m finding other ways to get my point across without acting like a maniac. “Maniac mommy” is not a good look for me nor is it one I really want to be embedded in my daughters’ brains as part of their childhood.

The real test is going to be not yelling once Lent is over. There will be no real guilt holding me back. Hopefully, I won’t relapse, lol. I think everyone likes non-yelling mommy a lot better, myself included.


What the Fork? Who Has a Potty Mouth?

It’s the moment any parent dreads. The moment when your child learns how to say a swear word. He or she may not be able to say their name all that well, but they sure know how to say “fork” like it’s second nature. Of course you laugh at first because you have no idea that the word or words are about to come out of that little mouth. But, after the shock, awe, and a few giggles you really need to squash it like a bug. But, what if you do and it still happens…repeatedly?

If you haven’t been able to guess, my little princess angels have learned some rather unlady like words. Does it make me a bad parent? No. Please say, no. It all started when I was driving one day and some jerk cut me off. Instead of calling him a jerk or something else that didn’t start with an “F”, I chose some other words that are not exactly in the Bible, if you know what I mean. All of a sudden, I hear an echo like there’s some kind of parakeet in the car. But, she wasn’t saying, “polly want a cracker?” Instead, she repeated my profanity in the sweetest little voice…and then laughed. She knew it was bad. She knew she shouldn’t say it. But, she did. Ooopsy…mommy made a boo boo.

I could lie and say that was the only time she ever said it. My two-year-old says it on occasion. My four-year-old, not so much. It’s the little one who has a little truck driver mouth. Of course I yell, of course I punish, but yet those words have not been erased from her ever growing vocabulary. Oopsy! All I can say is at least she uses it when it’s appropriate…like when the Target lady wouldn’t give her her toothpaste after she asked a few times. Thankfully the lady didn’t get what she was saying, but I knew all to well, and so did my little potty mouth toddler. Of course I yelled at her outside and told her I would run over her favorite teddy bear if she said it again. Of course she stopped saying it…for awhile. Of course she still says it now. Sigh.

So, what’s a mom to do besides watch every word that comes out of her mouth to make sure they are all “G” rated? I’m still working on that one. For right now I’m hoping this is just a phase. Really, I am.


Dear Terrible Two’s,

Dear Terrible Two’s,

So, you’re back. I’m about excited over your return as I am about watching a “Caillou” marathon. I was warned about you the first time around and to be honest, you didn’t really live up to your name. But, this time, I think you’re coming after me with a vengeance. Not cool two’s, not cool at all.

I’ve been keeping my eye on you over the past few months as you tried to sneak earlier than you were supposed to. You really don’t have any respect for rules, do you? I can tell. You just do what you want, when you want, and always have a good scream to go along with it. You are annoying two’s.

You also don’t ever seem to have your “listening ears” on. Do you know what the word “no” means? It is the opposite of yes. It is derived from the letters “N” and “O” and is usually followed by the words, “didn’t you hear me the first time?” I say it a lot, but you don’t listen. Although, you do like to say plenty, just for sugar and giggles and to get me going. I’m not laughing two’s. Not at all.

I’m also not getting a kick out of you lying on the floor, kicking and screaming because you can’t have ice cream for breakfast. I know I am the worst mother in the world. But, guess what? I don’t care two’s. You can kick and scream all you want but I always win on this one. You would think you would have learned your lesson seeing that I have never let you have your way on this one. Who’s the smarter one now two’s?

But, I will admit, you have gotten the best of me on more than one occasion. Thanks to you, I have become a pro at steering a shopping cart full of groceries with one hand, while holding your nasty self with my other hand. I know, sitting in a cart being wheeled around and not having to do a thing is barbaric. I can’t even imagine what I would do. Oh wait, yes I do…I would chill the fudge out and enjoy the ride. But not you two’s, not you.

Last, but certainly not least, I LOVE how you sit so well in your car seat and never fight me when it is time to buckle up. It’s not like we have appointments or places to go. I have all day long to wait until you feel like sitting down and buckling. So annoying two’s, so annoying.

So, you may have won a few rounds thus far, but I’m onto your game two’s and I’m ready for the ride. I’ve got my wine, my Starbucks and my Adam Levine on “The Voice” to get me through and keep my sanity. You can kick and scream all you want, but this momma isn’t buying what you’re selling.

The Mothership

p.s. I’m counting down until the “Terrific Three’s” come along…lol

She Bit Her Sister…Now What?

   I’ll admit, being an only child, I’m new to this sibling rivalry game. Sure I saw it play out on “The Brady Bunch” with Marcia and Jan, but I never had a “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” of my own. So, now that I have two little girls, I’m beginning to see what having a sibling is all about. Although they are only three and one, they are already fighting. It’s not only a battle of babble and words, it’s also getting physical.Gone are the days when the little one is strapped in, contently bouncing in her chair. She’s ready to rumble for toys and no one is getting in her way. Forget about pushing and shoving, my little one has a new weapon of choice…her teeth.

   There may only be four of those little suckers, but they are sure sharp and they mean business. Her sister learned that one the hard way. Big Sis was playing with a toy that Little Sis desperately needed to have at that very second in time. There was some yelling and some pushing. Instead of playing referee, I decided to sit on the sidelines. I can only blow the whistle so many times in one day! After a few minutes, little sister decided there was only one thing left to do. Yep, the teeth came out and we had our first bite. But, the funny thing (if you want to call it that) is that that  there were no real teeth marks, just lots of tears and screaming. “She bit me, she bit me”. That’s all that could be heard in my house. Great, just great.

   At first my little one thought they were still playing, but when I started to roar, she knew play time was over. I told her she couldn’t do that anymore. Cue the water works. Great, two crying children, every mother’s dream! After taking the toy away so no one could play with it, some calm was restored, but not for long. It was soon time to move on to the next toy and the next battle.

   I know this is only the beginning, but I am quickly learning sibling rivalry can be fierce, and sometimes dangerous. I can only imagine what’s going to happen once the rest of the little one’s teeth comes in. Until then, it’s game on.


Leashes…Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

   Before I had a child, I thought leashes were only for dogs, other small animals, and at times, husbands (just kidding, ha ha). But now, I’ve been exposed to a whole new world…leashes for children. We all know how hard it can be to keep kids from running around all over the place when you’re in a store trying to shop. There’s only so many times you can say “no”, “get over here”, “don’t touch.” It also gets annoying if you have to go and chase them down as you’re rummaging through a clothing rack to find a size medium (not everyone is small or large people, they need to make more mediums…but I digress).
  There are a few solutions to this problem, A). Put them in a shopping cart if it’s a store that has one. B). Bring a stroller. C.) Leave them at home. “C” would be the best solution, but it’s just not practical. You can’t drop off your kid every time you have to run an errand. There’s also D.) Try to control them the best you can and deal with the outcome…or my least favorite E.) Put them on a leash.
  My husband and I were shopping recently and saw one woman who opted for choice “E.” From the looks of him, I’d say the child was about four years old. The mom was holding the leash which attached to an ever so stylish teddy bear backpack and harness. By adding the teddy bear, I guess it’s supposed to make the kid feel as if it’s fun to get walked like a dog.
  She was walking her child through the parking lot just as if she was walking her Doberman. I joked to my husband that I knew we forgot something at home. I looked down and was so thankful my daughter fell asleep. We opted for choice “B” that day. By the grace of God, our little one passed out in the stroller and we were able to do what we had to do.(Trust me this was just a fluke.)
   Getting back to the leash lady,  I have to say the little boy didn’t seem to mind. He surely didn’t go anywhere his mother didn’t want him to go. It just looked so wrong to me to put a harness on a child and control his every move. I know a lot of people may disagree with me and think the leash is the best route and convenient. But, I think kids need to learn that in the real world, you need to control yourself. Adults don’t walk each with leashes, and parents shouldn’t walk their kids with one either.
   I compare this concept to the “cry rooms” in churches. One of the churches I used to go to has a cry room. I used to take me daughter in there so we wouldn’t disturb the other parishioners. The only person I ended up disturbing was myself. My daughter thought it was happy hour and went to socialize with everyone in there. There was no way I could possibly pray, except to hope mass would be over soon. Other kids were doing the same thing though. It was like a daycare, with some Alleluias thrown in every now and again. Even the parents were chit chatting. Now we go to a church without a cry room and she behaves 100 percent better because she knows she has to. Sure she turns around and waves to people and makes some noise. But 90 percent of the time, she’s occupied by the toys I bring and the simple surroundings. I think the same thing is true when it comes to leashes. Teach kids that they have to behave without a leash and they’ll learn that’s what people in the real leash-free world do. You can’t put a leash on them forever, so what happens when they outgrow them? Do you teach them self-control at that age? So many questions, but one simple answer…save the leash for Fido.

Time Out

 I love timeouts. Not for my daughter, but for me, and not in the context of getting punished or anything like that. Just a good old time out for relaxing. Which, by the way, needs to happen more often I’ve decided. Easy you say. Wrong I say. But that’s what weekends are for, you say. Not always, I say. That’s what extra days off are for, I say. I finally had one that wasn’t taken over by a “to do” list. The only thing “to do” was to go to the beach. Mission Accomplished.

  It may sound dumb, but the beach day was just what I needed. I packed up my daughter and all our paraphernalia and off we were. I used to go to the beach with just a chair and one bag. Now there’s a chair, a beach bag, a diaper bag, a bag of beach toys, and a cooler for those GoGurts. That may not sound relaxing, but I’m getting there.
  Once we got everything settled and met up with our friends, my daughter and I were in our glory. She played with those sand toys for nearly four hours! She didn’t even know I existed, until she wanted to walk to the water. I really couldn’t believe it. Usually she gets bored with a toy in no time. Her obession with the sand allowed me to get some sun, chat it up, and just relax. There were no dishes in the sink calling my name or crumbs whispering to get picked up. There was just the sound of ocean and the breeze. I definetly like those sounds so much better.
  Listening to the those sounds and pretty much doing nothing took up most of the day. My daughter didn’t want to go home and neither did I. But when we did leave, my head felt a lot clearer on the ride home. I felt refreshed, My daughter felt tired, she fell asleep in two-point-two seconds! I wasn’t agitated and didn’t feel like I was going to scream like a raging female dog (which is usually the case these days, but I’m blaming the pregnancy hormones!). I simply felt calm. Time for another time out!

Front Seat Rider

   I really thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Nope, I did see a woman holding a baby in the front seat of a minivan while approaching the toll booth to go over the George Washington Bridge. There was tons of traffic. People switching lanes everywhere, horns beeping, hand gestures flying. In the middle of all this chaos, that little baby unprotected in the front seat of that minivan.  In fact, everyone in the SUV along with me saw it too and had the same reaction I did. What was she thinking?
   When you become a parent, you take on a major responsibility whether you want it or not, and whether you’re ready for it or not. You are now responsible for another life. Period. That means it’s your job to protect that little person and be there for them in every way that you can. In my opinion, protecting them is not putting them in the front seat of your minvan with no seatbelt and no protection.
   We all know kids are supposed to ride in the backseat (or atleast most of us know that). The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends children stay rear facing in the back seat of the car until they’re two or until they’ve met the height or weight requirements of the car seat. Many states also have laws. Interestingly enough, I went to look up the laws in New Jersey, which is where we were when we witnessed this front seat ride that almost made me have a heart attack. Wouldn’t you know, New Jersey, like many states, requires kids up to age 8 or 80 pounds ride in the back, unless the car has no rear seat. Trust me there was plenty of rear seats in that minivan.
   I would love to know what that woman was thinking. She was no spring chicken, so I would assume she was familiar with the law, or atleast with common sense. Was she the mom? Did she bring the baby in the front because he or she was crying, hungry, lonely, what? Couldn’t have she just gone in the back with the baby? Why didn’t the driver say something? I don’t know. I’ll never know. What I do know is that I said a little prayer for that baby. I hope that minivan got to its destination safely so that little baby wasn’t the victim of someone’s stupidity.