Update on NO YELLING

So, I decided this year for Lent I’d give up yelling. I never fast from a food when I’m pregnant or nursing, and as I’ve been one of those every Lent since, um, 2012, I’m trying to get creative in finding disciplines and areas that will help me grow in my faith.

And let me tell you, this Lent’s fast has been really, really hard. The thing I like about fasting from a food, or TV, or whatever, is either you do it or you don’t. There’s a little room for interpretation — is an Instagram video TV? Is eating a chocolate cookie to be polite breaking your fast or not? — but it’s pretty clear cut. I am a girl who likes to get the gold star, to check things off neatly in a box.

So deciding whether my tone is contemptuous, if I’m raising my voice to be heard or in anger, if I’m extra angry (and yelly) because I’m not cutting myself enough slack, or if that’s a total copout and I need to try harder…it’s a slow, discouraging slog.

There’s been some progress. Right around Lent the kids went and got themselves slap cheek and in the sort of unfolding of events that never happens, suddenly started sleeping way, way better. The illness exhausted them, but the new sleep habits lingered even after their lurid cheeks had faded to normal human complexion. And you know, sleeping better did help morale around here, for all of us.

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THE ONE SIMPLE TRICK FOR GETTING YOUR KIDS TO SLEEP BETTER: It’s Fifth Disease.

But there are still so many times I’m distracted or overambitious and so completely overwhelmed. I gueeeessss there’s been an overall decrease in yelling around here, but not nearly what I would hope for.  And in the meantime Pippin has started saying both “crap” and “dammit” and if there was any doubt who taught him that, my sharp CRAP DAMMIT when the paper bag broke as I unloaded it from the car last week eliminated any uncertainty. (Related: Please let my potty-mouthed child still play with yours. We are really, really working on it.)

In the midst of it all, Pippin is doing this thing that is just wonderful and horrible. He’ll say, “I’m sorry” for his millionth tiny infraction and one of us will say, “It’s OK, bud,” half-listening, and he’ll answer with a furrowed brow, “Well, it’s not OK. But you forgive me.” There’s something so raw and humbling about coming right out and saying it like that. But I forgive him. Of course. And I hope to heaven he’s forgiving me.

I’ve got a lifetime of impatience and perfectionist impulses to war against, and there is no 40-day solution that I know of. But I’m trying, and falling back on forgiveness, and I guess that’s Lent.

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But will Pip ever forgive me for this?
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Author: Katherine Grimm Bowers

Babies. Books. Fledgling housewifery. Once and future librarian. Catholic. Always thinking about chocolate ice cream.

1 thought on “Update on NO YELLING”

  1. Trying and falling back on forgiveness. That’s Lent, for sure…and maybe life, too. It’s so hard not to yell when I feel like no one is listening to me. The obvious solution seems to be to make myself louder, right? (Honestly, though, I think that mostly when I’m yelling, it’s not because I’m rationally thinking that my volume was too low before.) Solidarity.

    Like

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