While driving my 2 1/2 year old Little Girl to our Parent Participation Preschool Program (Hurrah for alliterations!), and searching songs that were being requested from her memory bank of fabulous songs, she dropped the following bomb, casually....
"Mama, you scream too much."
My heart stopped for just a fraction of a second and all the breath got sucked out of my body.
"Mama, you SCREAM too much", she said clearly.
"I do?" I asked. "Yes, you do!", she responded. "You scream all the time." she explained further. Matter of factly. Bluntly. Openly.
Tears filled my eyes.
"Daddy scream too much, too." she complained. "Nonna scream too much, too." she continued to rat us all out...with a shout out to her brother to end the outing. "Tonio scream too much too".
I asked gently, "Do you scream too much?" to which she replied...."Yes Mama, I scream too much."
I wanted to be thrilled that everyone else in the house had been implicated in the screaming, but the reality is that I am aware of my Dragon Mom status and that the bellowing starts at the top and screeches it's way down the totem pole.
- I'm Italian - loud voices are normal.
- I scream so that I can be heard over the kids screaming.
- I scream out of frustration.
- I scream out of habit.
- My speaking voice kinda sounds like a scream?
I always feel bad about it. (Does that make me human or a rationalizing bastid?)
I wanted so badly to pull over, shine a light over my angelic little curly tops head and ask my little one to DEFINE screaming, you know, in her opinion. But I didn't want to alarm her and I was kinda hoping she'd forget about it before we arrived at the Child Development Parent Participation class and told all the other mothers my dirty little secret.
I honestly want to be the Mom who calmly intervenes when she spots the children pulling the dogs ears in seperate directions and hanging on to the tail as the poor animal is running for safety, but I tend to be the mom who inhales as if she's witnessed a drive by shooting and I start to yell.
I long to be the Mom who calmly goes to my 4 year old and gently hugs him after he's slapped the crap out of another kid and asks what he was feeling and what made him do that. But my honest to goodness first reaction is to quickly assess and bellow from where ever I am, "Knock it off!"
I honestly feel bad about my nut job reactions to the 6th time I've told one of the kids to stop whacking the other, through clenched teeth. I mostly regret my incredulous, bombastic intake of breath as one of my kids overflows the toilet. And I almost *GET IT* that screaming doesn't really do anything to change the behaviour but only serves to hurt and alienate my children.
And I guess it really isn't the big deal moments that cause me angst...it's the repetative small things like the constant nagging (me, not them) about washing hands, or the mind bending requests to pick up toys ...it's in those moments that my voice reaches it's highest decibals.
In my defense, I come from a family of screamers. In fact, I must be a push over because I would have never had the nerve to tell my Mom or Dad that they were screaming too loud....the fear errr..respect level was too high.
Anyway, I promised her that I would try very hard to control my temper and not scream. And I even meant it.
Any other screamers out there?