Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Birth Control And Easy Cheese

I recently read an article by Amy Wilson entitled "Could You Go A Week Without Yelling At Your Kids?"

I'll give you the short answer right now: No F-ing Way.

The author does make a valiant effort.  And has an epiphany around day five: "Multitasking Causes Yelling."

So true.

Let me give you an example: Ever try to talk on the phone around your kids?  Wait, let me rephrase--Ever try to talk on the phone to someone who doesn't yet have children around your kids?  It is the best form of birth control I can think of.  Forget encouraging teenagers to abstain (or join the school band). Forget lectures about STD's, condoms or the pill. Get them on the other end of a phone call from a parent with young kids, and high schools everywhere will be ordering Promise Rings by the case.

I was on the phone with one of my sisters the other day, and she asked if I was at an airport.   Apparently Elsa's shrieks of displeasure at my being on the phone sound very much like a 747 getting ready for take-off.  Some of my friends admit to locking themselves in their bathrooms when they want to conduct any sort of civilized phone conversation, but I am terrified that if I tried to do that, my children would somehow find a way to assemble (and test) an atomic bomb out of Thomas the Train accessories and suntan lotion.  Or at the very least they'd get into the stash of Halloween candy I've already opened and consumed half of.  Either way, the results would be bad.

What Amy Wilson and I--and I'm sure all of you--have discovered is that multi-tasking is unavoidable.  And hence, so is yelling.  And the more I multi-task, the more I yell.  The more I yell, the more the kids drive me crazy, and the less I can get done and the more I have to multi-task.  Sigh.  Who needs a drink?

I wasn't always a yeller, either.  I was one of those presumptuous a-holes who smugly thought, I am not going to be one of those moms.  I always imagined Moms Who Yell as the ones who have stringy hair and I'm With Stupid t-shirts and a waddle out of WalMart laden with bags full of cigarette cartons and cans of Easy Cheese.  The ones who yank their children by the arm, the ones who don't have the self-control necessary to refrain from raising their voices (or to stay away from WalMart during its 2 for 1 Easy Cheese sale).

I think I made it through Rollie's first year of life without yelling at him.  I do distinctly remember the first time I raised my voice loud enough to where the neighbors dogs started barking in response.  I was trying to change Rollie's extremely dirty diaper, and he was pulling that typical toddler act of rolling around and squirming because God forbid I try to remove fecal matter from his person.  Oh, someone call HRS, mommy's trying to prevent diaper rash and put me in clean pants!

Anyway, he succeeded in getting poop all over himself, me, and the changing table, and I just lost it.  I think I just yelled his name, but it was LOUD.  L-O-U-D.  I mean, I really didn't think I could reach decibel levels equivalent to an AC/DC concert.  I barked his name, sounding something between a drill sergeant and sea lion.  A very angry sea lion.

The thing was, it worked.  He was so stunned that he just lay there, his big eyes teared up, his little lip quivered, and he stopped kicking and rolling around long enough for me finish the medieval torture ritual of changing him.

Brilliant, I thought.  I finally found a chink in the armor.  I finally found a way to get his attention and make him listen.  I should have been yelling at him months ago!  The terrible twos are going to be a breeze!

At least they found that Chapstick I was looking for
Except that once the seal was broken, I started yelling at him a lot.  I wouldn't say All The Time, but I found myself yelling at him in circumstances when I previously would have internalized my anger and given myself a heart attack:  Not eating his breakfast, running away from me in a crowded department store, lapping water directly from the dog dish. Soon he found a way to ignore my gentle yells (or perhaps scar tissue had formed on his eardrums), and so I had to get louder for the same results.  I like to think of this phenomenon as the Weed Effect.  I wasn't yelling to get high, I was yelling to get even.  Only Up In Smoke wasn't nearly as funny this time.

I would like to yell less.  I would also like world peace, and some Easy Cheese.  Guess which one I'm asking for when that genie shows up.  Oh wait, don't you usually get three wishes?  Hmmm....Guess I'm all set then.


  1. I like the pics with the funny notations. You took me back to the days of my childrens' indoctrinations to life...

  2. Most of the child-rearing experts are childless. Just a theory.

  3. I think all teenagers should HAVE TO take care of little kids for a month in high school. Probably every year of high school, since memory fades.