The truth is: I’m not a yeller.
My kids have that going for them. I don’t yell. It’s just not in my nature. In fact, those who have figured me out know that if I’m loud, they only need be a little worried, because I’m mostly just annoyed. If my voice is raised, I’m half-joking, half-urging. But as my volume decreases, they should start really worrying.
And if I whisper? HOLY SHIT, DUDE, MOM IS SERIOUS.
I think this freaks other parents out. For the most part, I’m very laid back with the kids in public – assuming they’re being respectful of everyone else – and I might chide them here or there in a loving but firm manner. I don’t really threaten my kids – ever, to be honest – and I might not even raise my voice in the beginning.
But man. If I lower my volume and raise my eyebrows, the look of sheer terror washes over those kids because they know. By God, they know that the fury of hell is about to consume them. And I lower myself to them, look them square in the eye, and whisper – slowly, to drive home the significance – and this makes even adults take pause. They look at me funnily, like I’m a monster. Like, How dare you talk to your kids THAT way?
But see, I don’t yell. I don’t hit. I have never hit my children. (This isn’t to say I’m against it, but we’ve just never been brought to that point.) I just speak to them with purpose and my God, they listen.
Tony is in a phase. I put this in italics because it better damn well BE a phase, or else he’ll have to live somewhere else. I know that it’s the age; he’s now in a big school and he’s trying to find where he fits. He’s trying to find his voice and figure out where his boundaries are. I know this.
But still. The sass in this child is just MIND BLOWING. Especially since he was never like this before! He was so easy going! So much fun! No arguments or tantrums.
That was then; this is now. Now is full of whining in full baby-talk. Now is complaining about EVERY meal put in front of him, even if it is EXACTLY what he asked for. Now is telling me that he WON’T do something. Now is full of me exasperated because CHILD, I HERD CATS FOR A LIVING AND THAT IS EASIER THAN THIS RIGHT NOW.
It is a phase, and it will pass. But still. I miss my bud.
He has always done this, ever since he was very little. Always with the fingers, and usually the toes follow suit as well. If you hold his hand, you have to calmly urge him to relax his fingers. I asked him about it one day and he said, “Sometimes, I just have too many feelings, and this makes me feel comfortable.”
Last night, we went to a family dinner and I was so excited because the boys hadn’t seen anyone in almost a month and when you’re a close family, that’s a reaaaallly long time. And while I kept trying to engage in conversation with the adults, Tony kept talking to me. And only me. And was basically holding me captive with slow-moving conversation. And it was frustrating the hell out of me, honestly. I was exhausted, I’d had children on me literally every minute of the weekend, and I just wanted some new discussion and here I was having a conversation about “How do rolly pollies move?” and I was about to lose my mind.
But then I realized that he was so animated because it was the first time that he had my attention – had my real, undivided attention – in who knows how long. He was so excited to just have some time where he got my entire focus that he was finding anything to talk about.
(It didn’t make the conversation any more entertaining, but it did make me love him a bit more.)
It doesn’t matter how big he gets – he’ll truly always be my baby.