Friday, June 25, 2010

Playing in water sprinklers

It never ceases to amaze me how watching children play or engage in the simplest of activities can relieve the greatest amount of stress and make me forget that there is anything else in the world as important as seeing them laugh and have so much fun.

I wanted to water my lawn before it got too hot this morning so I set the timer on the sprinkler in the back yard, turned on the water and the next thing I know I have two half dressed kids with puppy dog faces standing behind me begging to get a little wet.

"Can we pleessassseee play in the water sprinklers....yeah mommy, can we?"

One dressed in jean shorts and the other in underwear, I couldn't resist. After a quick wardrobe change and a little more water pressure, off they went jumping, standing, screaming, laughing and having an all around good time playing in the water sprinklers.

For the next few minutes I completely forgot what it was I was suppose to be doing and just stood at the patio door with a big smile on my face taking pictures and enjoying the water works fun.


video

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How do you feel about yelling at children?

When I was growing up yelling was a regular occurrence. Whether it was by our mom, grandmother, aunts, uncles, neighbors or other extended members of the family, it was simply a part of who we were and I never really thought much about it….until I had my own children. It became very evident to me just how much I was yelling when my daughter, three years old at the time, was playing in her room. She had neatly lined up her dollies and stuffed animals on her bed and was having a tea party. As I stood off to the side in the doorway of her bedroom, I began to smile at how nicely she was setting up for her party and how adorable she looked, just like the picture of the children you see playing in the Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware magazines for kids. Just as I began rubbing my pregnant belly and thinking what a great big sister she is going to be, I heard her belt out in a tone all too familiar, “Teddy stop being naughty or you’re going to get time out! DOLLLYYYY don’t touch that cup it’s very hot and you could get burned.” While the discipline of the guests at the tea party lasted only a few seconds, the weight of the tone in my daughter’s voice kept replaying in my mind for days after.

Not too long after that incident I gave birth to my son. Seeing the two of my children together and remembering the scene from my daughter’s room, I made a silent promise that I would minimize and ultimately eliminate the amount of yelling in my home. While I was successful in having a more calm tone in my daily conversations with my husband and children, when it came to them misbehaving (my children, not my husband although he misbehaved at times as well) or my response to their naughty actions, yelling was ultimately my initial response (along with the wagging forefinger and squinted eyes).
By the time my daughter was six and my son was three, they had developed the typical brother and sister love-dislike relationship. When they were getting along it usually meant that some mischievous behavior was going to ensue as was historically the case so it was no surprise one afternoon when my husband and I heard a loud crash in our dining room. As I raced down the stairs and my husband leaped from the couch, our first thoughts were with regard to the safety of the kids. As the fear dissipated and the realization set in that both children were ok, my focus shifted to the cause of the loud crash. The full picture was now laid out in front of me; my three year old son had been pulling feverishly on a jacket placed on a hook that was suspended beneath a curio that held a collection of glass, wooden and brass elephants (Yes, I am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.). When he realized that he was too short to get his jacket on his own, he enlisted the assistance of his older sister who proceeded to give the coat a good ole fashion YANK…the rest is history.

Well, the look on my face must have implied that I was going to win the World Championship Yelling Award because my six year old daughter had tears in her eyes and my three year old son was using his older sister as a shield, peeking out just enough so that I could see the white of his little eyes. Before I could even open my mouth to belt out the first of what would have inevitably been a series of very loud words strewn together in typical mommy lingo, my daughter looked up at me and apologetically said, “Mommy, Please Don’t Yell at We…”(Yes, this is the inspiration and title of my new book) my son then chimed in with, “…her didn’t mean to do it”. Something about those words stuck with me and even though I haven’t mastered the art of not yelling at all, I no longer yell all the time. I’ve learned what situations trigger the yelling and by recognizing when those situations arise, I am able to do what I try to teach my children every day and that is to have SELF CONTROL!

So, this blog is an opportunity for you to share your thoughts and experiences on yelling and the impact it had on you as a child, your children and/or children you know. Some of your comments and stories will be shared in upcoming workshops and seminars where I will be speaking about my book and the impact of yelling at our children.

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