I just hurt my throat while yelling at my children.
As a general rule, I am not one who screams a lot, mostly because I find it counter-productive. I don't respond well to people shouting at me; in fact, it makes me want to do the exact opposite of what's being hollered in my direction just out of spite.
Via the transitive property, I assume that all other people respond the same way I do. Which is also why I never give anyone licorice during the holidays, because everyone finds it vile.
My dad is not a yeller, either. Yet, as a kid, it was always easy to know when he was displeased, mostly because he suddenly would pick his words very carefully and quietly. This was always four times more terrifying than being yelled at.
My mom, however, yelled to get her point across. Once I hit my double-digit years, I stopped responding, which only made the yelling louder. Or I think it did. I wasn't really paying attention.
Like with so many other behaviors my parents had, I get the yelling now.
Sometimes, you have to shout just to relieve the steam. Call this my parent-as-tea-kettle rule.
For me, the most trying time is during bath nights, which happens every-other-day in our house.
When the kids were still babies, it was a daily occurrence, not because they could get themselves especially dirty but because it broke up the monotony of the day. Plus, there is no better smell than the top of a freshly washed baby's head. Nothing.
But now that they are older and hygiene has become more of a chore, bathing happens less frequently.
Yes, my kids take baths, even though they are more than old enough to shower. It's complicated _ but the short version involves a Boy who showers in his swimming goggles and a Girl who will stay in there for hours if we don't shut off the hot water. Not that we would do such a thing.
They don't bathe together anymore, not because they have discovered what makes boys and girls different (that ship has already sailed) but because they are too big to fit in the tub simultaneously, which always leads to a fight over who has more room. And a fight over who deserves more room. And then a subsequent fight over breaking the agreed upon ratio of bath space to age and/or hair length.
Bathing solo doesn't end the arguing. It merely changes the focus.
The routine begins the same each time. I remind whichever child is in the tub to not get water on the floor. Five minutes later, when I come back in, the ceiling in dripping.
I then remind said child that "no water on the floor" is a general request for not getting water anywhere it doesn't belong, like the ceiling or the bathroom walls.
"But you said 'floor.'"
"I didn't think I had to specify all of the places tub water doesn't belong, which would be any part of the bathroom that isn't the tub," I say. "And, while I'm here, now would be a good time to wash your hair. The shampoo is behind you."
Five minutes later, I come back in. The tub is now full of bubbles.
"Shampoo isn't bubble bath," I say. "And why is your head still dry? And why is there water on the floor?"
It's about here that my voice starts to rise. It's also about here when my kids stop hearing much of anything I say. Yes, I am aware that the two states are related.
Five minutes later, whichever kid isn't currently in the tub is standing just beyond the reach of the one in the water and complaining about how long he or she has been waiting.
At which point I grab the first kid, wash his or her hair, monitor as he or she rubs soap on various parts and rinses off.
Then kid two gets in _ and we go through the exact same series one more time. Except, at the end, instead of one kid complaining about the wait, I come to the realization that the better part of my evening has been sucked up with policing baths. It's at that point that I start yelling in earnest, usually about how simple this whole thing is and how old the kids are and how they ought to be able to clean themselves and how frustrating it is to have to go through the same thing every single time.
It's like their bathing ritual isn't complete until I lose it _ and that they go out of their way to ensure that I do.
And, yes, the fault is mine. I am the one responsible for my response. But, seriously, how hard is it to keep the water in the tub? And how many times must you be reminded to wash your hair? And to use soap.
Adrienne Martini is a freelance writer, instructor at the State University College at Oneonta, mom to Maddy and Cory, wife to Scott, and author of "Sweater Quest." Her columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/parentingimperfect.
I just hurt my throat while yelling at my children.
Back to nature
"The peace of the hills is about me and upon me; the leisure of the summer clouds, whose shadows I see slowly drifting across the face of the landscape, is mine. The dissonance and the turbulence and the stench of cities -- how far off they seem! The noise and dust, and the acrimony of politics -- how completely the hum of the honey-bee, and the twitter of the swallows blot them out!"Continued ...
- If you go
Raise a glass
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Thick hot air and clammy clothes entice brisk visions of jumping into a pool of refreshing water. Plunging into the soft cool environment of good old-fashioned H2O can rejuvenate the soggy mind.Continued ...
Racing Under Saddle
Those looking for the thrill of watching live horse racing will not have to travel outside the region this summer.Continued ...
- Back to nature
- Around The Arts
Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
So, in a few short weeks you're graduating with an arts degree. Now what?! In the safety of college, one can ignore the realities of the outside world, where housing and meal allowances aren't rolled into a tuition payment and jobs aren't available simply because you're a student.Continued ...
Volunteers are the SWAT of the arts world
When you work at an arts organization, particularly a nonprofit, employees often wear many hats -- accomplishing the duties that appear in the traditional job description, and then some. It happens everywhere. It's a running joke among people who work at nonprofits. There is too much to do, and not enough people to do it. That's when you call in the back up -- SWAT if you will.Continued ...
Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects
As I sit here writing this, the holiday glow is still going strong (my column deadline is two weeks before the publication date), and I've been spending a great deal of time not only with my daughter, but her stuff. We're incredibly lucky to have a loving network of family and friends that spoil her, so I've been merging her new goodies with her old.Continued ...
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
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- Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
- Music Beat
Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
At a recent concert reception in New York City, I was surprised to meet people who had imminent plans to move to the Otsego-Delaware county area. They explained that our area is so rich in musical and graphic arts that they knew they would enjoy living here.Continued ...
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Complete education involves classroom, real-world learning
There is new, long overdue attention being paid in our institutions of higher education to the use of directed practical experience as an essential partner to the classroom lecture.Continued ...
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Copyright royalties can make you smile
A few years ago, I wrote an article on the skill and dedication necessary to become a songwriter.Continued ...
- Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
- Parenting Imperfect
Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
All I wanted to do was eat my English muffin. The family had other plans.Continued ...
A reminder of the small-child years
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Well, at least she's listening to what I say
The older the kids get, the happier I am that we have a dog. She, at least, seems to be excited to see me when I get home.Continued ...
I want to visit the world of 'The Pioneer Woman'
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It is in February when the breaking point is reached
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- Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
- Senior scene
As Time Goes By: I'm trying to be the rockin' up-to-date 'cool dude' grandpa
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As Time Goes By: I'm hearing voices -- and not only mine own
There are two problems that seem to be inherit to growing older, which when viewed in the context of a sentence appear to be opposites but are in truth part of the same problem â€"you either are getting deaf or you start talking to things that surround you.Continued ...
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- As Time Goes By: I'm trying to be the rockin' up-to-date 'cool dude' grandpa
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
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Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
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Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
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- Teen Talk
Teenhood Today: I long for furniture, hills, rice
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Weekend Reviews: 'Cherry' perfectly captures my feelings
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In case some of you haven't noticed, I'm not a huge animal person. Sorry to all of you animal-lovers, but you most likely won't ever see me at any secret meetings you may hold.Continued ...
- Teenhood Today: I long for furniture, hills, rice