Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Actions Speak Louder...

I cannot speak. Well, technically I can. It just is a raspy, squeaky sound and sometimes my voice cuts out like a cell phone without bars.

Last night the Husband went to a budget meeting at the school (if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem) and *E* had a meeting at church for the pageant. I also brought along *N*, *I* and Miss M, while the *J* was in charge of *C* at home.

The home front was quiet while I was gone but I had quite a fun time. Miss M was fussy, *I* was overtired and a wild man and *N* managed to fall out of his chair in quite dramatic fashion. I tried to corral them but it doesn't go down in my book as one of my proudest mom moments.

So we came home. *I* fell asleep but *N* yelled "We're home" as I was carrying him in which woke him up. At bedtime I repeated (in my raspy whisper) at least 10 (no exaggeration) times that it was time to go upstairs and yet...no one was moving. They heard me they just chose to ignore me.

By the time they went up stairs I was pretty angry. I said a raspy whispered "good night", told them they could say their prayers with each other and firmly shut the door. (Ouch.) (Then I had another coughing fit because by this point any speaking was followed by violent coughing.) *E* dissolved into tears and *N* said, "You're scaring us." Really? I didn't yell or anything. I was very quiet.

(Interestingly, these same children who are thrown into trauma by having to say evening prayers without me say Grace at dinner at such a rapid pace it's unintelligible and could care less if everyone's bottoms have hit their chairs before rushing through "God is great...")

I was frustrated and pretty angry at their total lack of respect but I walked away. (Mom needed a timeout..which she used all 3 minutes of ironing the 16yo's shirt. "Did you do my shirt yet?" probably did not help my mood.)

Did they quietly retreat to their rooms? Did the 9 yo or the 10 yo recognize that mom is not feeling great and we have been really disobedient and we should probably just leave her alone? Noooooo. They harped on me through my closed bedroom door while I ironed.

But my silence freaked them out more than any amount of yelling. Change their behavior? Not really...as is evidenced by the fact they did not go to bed but stood in the hall nagging me for being "mean". Yes, folks, trying to"speak" less because my voice was shot and saying anything was sending me into a coughing fit was "mean". No, I was not giving them the silent treatment.

This is not a glowing example of a warm evening at home is it? Another flop on my mom chart, no gold star for me. I realized that my not following our normal evening routine was very upsetting to them even if I wasn't yelling or threatening the loss of video games.

After I had ironed and taken a deep breath I went in and told them I was sorry for upsetting them but that I was upset too. I gave them hugs and told them how much I loved them.

Maybe today they will go to bed when told so that we can all have our normal evening routine, because clearly it wasn't what I said that made a difference but what I did (and didn't do.)


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