Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Mommy Dearest Moment

Okay, well yesterday I was feeling the love for Conspiracy Guy, you know, in a neighborly way. But I swear to Pete, his children just almost made me lose my mind. You may have seen me refer to his little girls as the Foster Children because they are under my roof so much, showing up unannounced and staying to be fed, clothed, and educated. Whatever, they are good playmates for Hank, mostly, and I've started letting Hank go to their house too. So we've got some reciprocity going.

But the oldest girl, who is six, has an amazing ability to open the fridge or freezer door and then just stand there doing something else. She does this with our house doors too. Just now she was rooting for a popsicle in the freezer, and then she just abandoned the quest and turned her back to the open door.

I said, "Honey, close the freezer," several times with increasing volume. I used her name. I spoke clearly. She was looking right at me with her usual vacant stare. Finally I said, "Oh my God, close the freezer RIGHT THIS MINUTE." I kind of shouted it actually.

I have already lost the Mother of the Year Award for 2010 so this isn't too big a blow to my standings.

I heard someone say that yelling is the new spanking. Maybe that's right, because when I do it I feel guilty about it, but I will say this: Yelling is there for you when you need it, and when you need it, nothing else quite gets the job done.

Edited to add: It occurs to me that yelling at someone else's child is perhaps a more serious offense than yelling at one's own child. But don't you often find that other people's children so richly need it?

Oh well, I will become a better person, tomorrow probably.


Joie said...

Oh my GAWD! That's crazy! I TOO am going to be a better person tomorrow...maybe!

Today isn't a good day for it.

Since I have no children yet, all children are annoying and deserve to be yelled at a tad. However, I have one friend who I don't even want to yell at her children. I want her children to play on another continent and forget they ever met me.

I am friend of the year.

Sara said...

Yes. Yes, they do need it.

Plus, plus! I figure I yell because I care. :)

Yelling is the new spanking? Who knew?

Keely said...

Well, probably, if that other person happens to be in the vicinity. But if you're essentially the de facto parent, I think you're entitled, especially if you've tried all the usual methods.

My own mom likes to tell a story of how she was babysitting another child, a child whose parents always spoke to him in soothing tones and rarely corrected him. So naturally he began behaving badly, and my mother bellowed at him, and he burst into tears. But he also recognized her as an authority figure after that, so yes, sometimes it's just necessary.

Ali said...

I don't have anything else to say other than, "I love you." I think I'm going to go yell at the neighbor children now.

Jenni said...

If he is trusting you to parent his kids, yell away. I mean, not unnecessarily, but as you said, some times it just has to be done.

Common Household Mom said...

My rule: If the child is in your house looking in your refrigerator, then it's your right to yell. It really irks me when kids who don't live in my house root through my refrigerator. They deserve whatever gross stuff they find in there. There used to be some 100 -year-old popsicles but now there is only old spinach.

Michele R said...

It takes a cul-de-sac to raise a child.
Or at least to raise the Foster Children.

Elle said...

I don't host children that require high-volume corrections. My children need enough hollering alone.

I do have a playground policy that involves direct and immediate correction. I figure if the parent would have intervened if they were closer, I saved them a trip + the extra talking, and if the parent would not have intervened, the child needs a dose of humanity. Either way, it's good.

Ash said...

I figure if they're under your roof, it's your rules. And if it takes yelling, go for it. It's not like you called her an idiot or anything.

Though I know I'd totally be thinking it.

Yelling is the new spanking? Really? Who's letting the kids make the rules?

Amy said...

So funny! I would've done the same thing. Leaving the fridge open is one of my crazy-making things, too!

I think we've all had those moments. And for all the hours they spend at your house, a little judicious yelling won't hurt.

Sandra said...

If yelling is the new spanking, spanking must feel damn good, because nothing satisfies me more than a good ol' fashioned yell my ass off at my kids. Now I'm wondering if spanking them would create a sensation akin to euphoria!

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

If yelling is the "new spanking" then whispering can't be far behind. And sorry, but I don't have an "indoor voice."

Here's the way I look at it. When a non-conforming neighbor child comes to call and I treat him like my own, that's the biggest compliment I could pay him.

And that's exactly how I'd explain it if his parents came to call and complain. "Gosh, I just treat him like he's part of the family," I'd say.

Beth said...

I would have started yelling when the kid opened my fridge. I'm a bit of a control freak with my stuff. My son's friend came over once, asked for a snack, and I offered what I had: granola bars, fruit, crackers, etc. He turned them all down. "Do you have anything bad for you, like chips?" he asked me. "No." So, he's wandering around the kitchen, and I asked him, "Honey, what do you need?" He said, "I'm looking for the pantry." If you've read my laments on my blog, I don't have a pantry. So I said, "Hon, we don't have a pantry." He looked at me with amazement and said, "Then where do you keep all the snacks??!?" At this point, I gave up and walked away. But I should've yelled. ;-)

A Day That is Dessert said...

Yelling is the new spanking?? I'm in trouble. Maybe I'll call it shouting and it won't count?

Kolein said...

Because I yell all the time it's my "quiet voice" that gets everybody all disturbed and payin' attention! (*kidding kinda)

Kolein said...

actually I think all is didn't mention any wire hangers, right?

Ms Batman said...

Yelling is the new spanking? The girls and DFS will be glad to hear that, maybe they can come stop coming to the house. I joke. Seriously, I'm kidding.

As for the little girl looking penguin, after asking in a nice non yelly calm voice to shut the door and she still looks at you as if you've grown a second head, I am pretty sure you're allowed to yell away. It beats splitting your head open and shooting fire from your eyes. Her father will thank you later as well.

My thoughts? It's your house, your rules and you have to do what you have to do to enforce them. Yelling is/was within reason.