A No Yelling Pledge

You may remember that I’m revamping my parenting around here. We stopped using physical discipline in our repertoire this spring. I’m also working on no yelling. This is SO HARD. I want to blame my upbringing, the only modeling I had, my naturally loud voice, the general chaos around me, the fallacy some kids just need yelled at because they tune everything else out, anything I could blame for my yelling.

But really, the fault behind my yelling problem lies with me.

Last month I felt embarrassed by the (albeit definitely not acceptable) actions of one of my children in a public setting and I berated that child all. the. way. home. from. town. It was terrible. I would tell myself to shut up and I would, and then I would start spewing verbal bile right out again. That day I promised that I would never do that again. I set small goals for myself.

Just get through the day. Just get through another day. I read encouraging blogs. (The Orange Rhino and Dulce de Leche are two of them). I prayed. I journaled. I explored my childhood hurts more. I had a plan. I was accountable to people. Suddenly it was a week, and I hadn’t yelled. I may have talked sharply. I may have raised my voice a bit. I may have gotten frustrated and irritated and lots of other “ateds” but I didn’t yell. I am giving myself grace. A lot of grace. This is a new skill. My family is detoxing from the authoritarian parenting we’ve been doing for 9 year.

Then another week. I was feeling like this was actually possible–raising children without yelling. Truly being a gentle parent. Soon it was three weeks. Could I make it a whole month?

And then there was today. I woke up emotionally drained from a spectacularly rough day yesterday, as well as physically tired because I couldn’t sleep and watched trashy tv until 2 a.m. I was handling life fairly well until Aviana broke a dish that shattered into a billion minute shards all over the peninsula and both sides of the kitchen. Of course everyone was barefoot. I shooed everyone out to the living room. I shooed Denton out of the kitchen five times. Then I looked up from picking up pieces of glass to see him kneeling in broken glass and I ROARED at my sweet almost three year old “GET. OUT. OF. THE. KITCHEN!!

I should have taken him to Kevin and made sure he was going to stay there, peacefully, calmly. All I could think about was getting the glass picked up first, and then I was afraid he would get glass stuck in his knees and legs and I couldn’t think of anything to do. I just reacted.

I thought maybe I can excuse that slip up under the heading “dire circumstances”, and still count this as a no yelling day. But then, (much later, after several small people yelled at me, tantrums, dinner, crying small fry, losing parts of our brand.new.game., arguing with me and each other, bicker, bicker, boss, boss, bicker) Cadrian kept getting out of bed, acting like he’d never been put there to begin with. I was cool.

I sent him back to bed. Several times. I was chill.

He commenced a fit. A yelling. Screaming. LOUD. Fit. I was done.

 I went in to talk to him, and discovered he had gotten out a dozen wooden puzzles, when we had just cleaned up his room, and knocked down the shelf which had more puzzles on it, in the process.

“Cadrian!” (in my Orc voice) “When we put you to bed, we expect you to stay in bed! BE QUIET! (now in my MEAN Orc voice) “You are NOT to get out toys! You are NOT to make messes! You are NOT  to throw fits! YOU STAY IN BED! NOW YOU BE QUIET!!”

And just like that, I blew my record. I went back to count and ironically, today would have been 31 days of no (real) yelling.

So we begin again tomorrow. As always, His mercies are new every morning. He has grace for me. I have grace for my children. We can do this. I can be a peaceful parent. I can completely retrain my brain. I can change the modeling I give my children. I will have self control. I can overcome my upbringing. I have a new heart within me.

They are precious gifts. They deserve to be brought up with peace filled gentleness.
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World Breastfeeding Week

Several years ago when I first started nursing babies, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as World Breastfeeding Week, or The Great Latch On.  I didn’t know there was an International Breastfeeding Symbol (pictured in the photo below).

 I knew a few other people who nursed, on a schedule, pumping while they were at work, stopping at exactly six months. I watched my sister struggle tiredly to get her very sleepy 4 pound preemie to nurse. When I was pregnant, I asked her if I could see what it looked like when the baby latched on. My mom had nursed the three of us. This was about the extent of my knowledge.

I wasn’t prepared for breastfeeding. I wasn’t prepared to have to pump every two hours to get my milk to come in after a traumatic emergency Cesarean. I wasn’t prepared to nurse a 5 pound preemie, in the NICU, standing my ground on the “no formula” rule I held against well meaning doctors and nurses. I wasn’t prepared to be crying in the middle of the night because she needed to nurse again, and it HURT. I wasn’t prepared to battle five months of thrush. I wasn’t prepared to have her need me so desperately.  I wasn’t prepared to be my baby’s everything, her favorite thing, her only thing.

I wasn’t prepared for her to drink her fill of the most perfect liquid in the world, formulated precisely for her growing body, and fall asleep contentedly at the breast. I wasn’t prepared for the ‘baby  milk drunk’ as she would pass out, unlatch and milk would dribble out of her mouth as she would sigh happily. I wasn’t prepared for her to gaze up at me as she suckled, silently thanking me for the comfort, for the sustenance only I could provide. I wasn’t prepared for us to fall asleep together, her nestled safely in my side, smelling all those yummy-to-only-babies-armpit-pheromones. I wasn’t prepared for the depth and breadth of our breastfeeding relationship, the bonding it provided, the strength it gave to both of us.

As she grew older, I wasn’t prepared for the simplicity of it. How easy it was. How wonderful. 
I’ve since nursed four more babes, the latest one about to celebrate her first year of life. Each child has definitely presented challenges nursing, especially in the beginning, but every time it has been so very worth it. 

This is one of my favorite breastfeeding photos. Cadrian is a few months old in this picture and I’m wearing my “I make milk, What’s your superpower?” tee shirt.

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