Peanut Is Winning

I’ve been working hard on not yelling. I’m not a patient person, I’ve found more patience than I ever though I possessed in my parenting journey, and I still occasionally lose it and bark at my children. Especially the older one. And I could sound all apologetic and acknowledge the damage I do when I raise my voice, but I have to tell you, I’m kind of over the judging myself thing. When I feel like a terrible parent I go to Target and watch other people parent. Then I pat myself on the back and go back to doing my best.

I don’t like yelling. And saying something gently three or four times in a row, then yelling, is not a pattern that’s working for us. So I don’t get to three and I don’t yell after four. I change my approach after the first try doesn’t work.

So I’ve worked hard on the rekindling the techniques I busted my ass to cleave to when Peanut was Two: making eye contact, getting down on his level, speaking softly in concise, simple sentences.

But this older Peanut is always on the move, and rarely wants to make eye contact with someone trying to tell him what to do.

So lately I’ve seen a lot of his back, to which I calmly say, “Peanut Cacahuete Naptime: look at my face.” When he’s looking I know he hears, I can use a quieter voice, and the process of getting him to turn around defuses my anger. As Mommy Mantras says, the pump is already primed. When pressed, if I can find a release valve for the top 20% of my frustration, I can get a restart on a tense situation and behave like the parent I want to be.

Yesterday before bath I needed him to hear me about a politeness issue. “Peanut,” I said to a hastily retreating boy. “Look at my face.”

He turned and looked in my eyes. “What is it, Too Serious Mother?”

He knew he had me. His eyes held mine and absolutely danced with his impression of his cleverness. I chuckled and told him quickly what I needed to say. He scooted off down the hall to do what I was going to ask anyway, because the little bugger *does* hear me. He just often doesn’t want to.

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11 thoughts on “Peanut Is Winning

  1. Oh yes. Familiar.
    I use, “Show me your pretty eyes” with Mr Butterfly. Mostly I speak and then scoop – well actually now I just have to mention that “I’ll might have to scoop him up and put him on his little sofa in a minute”… and he suddenly listens to me…

  2. Oh, this one made my head hurt (in a good way). Good parenting is such a combination of smarts, charm, wit, and persuasion. Really, Anthony Robbins has nothing on all us with toddlers.

  3. Karyn, I like “show me your pretty eyes.” I wish Peanut were small enough to still scoop. I’m glimpsing the teen years when you can’t actually pick them up anymore. Hope the hay is in the barn by then.

    Heather, too bad all the techniques are so darned transparent. Reverse psychology is the boys’ favorite (dooooon’t eat those beans, they’re for me!) but none of my colleagues would ever fall for it. Maybe. I should try, just in case. ;-)

  4. Isn’t it wickedly shocking when they turn into little human beings with dry senses of humor that resemble your own, but seem a touch more evolved?  I always say it feels like you’ve been housing a foreign exchange student for a couple of years and struggling madly with a language barrier until one day, they come to you with no accent and tell you they have heard and understood every word uttered and all body language displayed.

  5. (Right now I’m kicking myself for not reading you more because) OMG, I *KNOW*. I never knew how patient I was until I became a parent. But that BS using a nice, firm, good tone three to four times and then yelling is for the birds. And I completely forgot the eye level thing. Completely forgot! Ok, I’m refocusing and committing. Thank you, Nap!

  6. Oh the yelling. Some days are so much better than others. Some days I have all the patience in the world. And then other days… I like the idea of just asking him to look at you. I’m gonna try that one. We’ll see it if works! Anything is worth trying :)

    • Welcome, Erin! I am one of the very, very few who want to take my kids to Target, because I feel so much better about myself as a parent. I don’t feel good about my life, but I do enjoy the comparison parenting. ;-)

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