I do it!

You’re in a grocery store.  Some pissed off toddler is screaming off in the distance.  You go about your business, but you notice an elderly couple looking in your general direction with a disapproving expression that seems to be saying “For the love of God make it stop!”    When you realize they are looking at you, you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut.  Suddenly everything comes into focus and you realize it’s your kid who is screeching at the top of their lungs.  Two feet away from you.

Fess up, I know I’m not the only one who has the uncanny ability to tune out their own kids screaming as easily as I can ignore my husband going on and on about microchips.  Blah blah blah.

I’m only reminded of these incidences because as I write this, Josie has been alternating between sharply screeching “MOM!  MOM! MOOOM!” and “I DOOOOOO ITTTTT!”  I’m pretty sure the decibal level of my girls’ screams would test somewhere in the range of an airplane taking off.  Or a freight train.  Or an AC/DC concert.  Do I feel compelled to react?  Not in the slightest.

What set her off?  She wanted to close the front door, and before I realized what she wanted, I had already done it.  So she started screaming, and I started giggling (partly because my defense mechanism against stress is to smile/giggle and partly because, well, her reaction is so over-the-top that it’s just damn funny.)  Then I started ignoring her.

Apart from my neighbors probably thinking I’m beating my kids, I think it’s pretty freakin’ hilarious.  She will slither across the floor screaming, one little hand reaching up to me… helplessly begging me to release her from this wave of sadness.  Just let me close the door… just an inch. Just a centimeter!  Please, mommy, please!

I have this policy where, if the kids start screaming, they do absolutely not get  what they want regardless of circumstance.  99% of the time I stick with it too.  Cheating on that policy is exclusively reserved for moments of extreme selfishness – like when I’m totally absorbed in a book and putting it down to discipline them is a physical impossibility.  They all know that’s precisely the moment to ask mommy for treats they aren’t normally allowed to have.

If someone shows me a better way to teach the baby to stop screaming (No band-aids please.  I’m all about short term pain for long term gain), I’m all ears.

In the meantime, I’ll be practicing my selective hearing and you’re probably going to be hearing a lot of dying cat sounds coming from my house.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “I do it!

  1. So it’s not just me! My daughter is extremely particular about things. She’ll do the same thing, “I want to do it myself.” And if you’ve forgotten and have already performed said task, she freaks out. This wasn’t in the parenting manual they gave me. Oh wait, I never got a manual.

    • A manual would be nice, eh? I’ve avoided Dr. Dobson’s “The Strong Willed Child” book so far, but I’m now wondering if I should have read it years ago. Maybe it’s time to go see if it’s at my local used book store… Thanks for visiting!

  2. I run into people in public who seem to think that small children should be mute and half comatose too. They’re usually either the elderly “we beat our kids into submission, and so should you” type, or they don’t have children. When I hear grocery store toddler melt downs I feel like it’s just a little nod from the universe letting me know that it happens to other people too.🙂

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