Friday, 8 March 2013

I did not shout.

For a number of reasons, Dollop goes up to bed first and goes to sleep in her room.
Mini goes up last and goes to sleep in our room. Later, the NC lifts him (and takes him to the toilet) and then pops him in his own bed, in the room he shares with Dollop. If they went together, they'd never get to sleep, Mini feels safer in our bed (and it's big enough for us to lay in and cuddle him), and it means we don't disturb Dollop when Mini goes to bed.

Usually Mini goes to wait in our room, with a book or two, whilst Dollop is put to bed, read a story and settled. Then it's Mini's turn and he likes to read to us, as well as be read to.

Last night after settling Dollop, the NC went into our room to sort Mini out and discovered a pair of my crafting scissors, laying close to a long thread of cotton, and he couldn't work out why or where it was connected to...although suspected my sewing machine which is currently loaded up with the same colour cotton. So, not knowing if I'd got the scissors out or not, he came to get me before tackling Mini.

Worried about how Mini could have reached my scissors, and what damage might have been done to the sewing machine I marched upstairs. Went straight to the machine and could see it had been unthreaded, and there was now several metres of red cotton all balled up, with the scissors beside.

"Oh dear Mini, what have you done?" I asked, without shouting.
"Nothing, it wasn't me, it wasn't me", bawling away, face down on bed.

I calmly sat down on the bed, took the book out of Mini's hands and gently encouraged him to turn over. I did not shout.

"OK, OK, ih wa mey"
"Sorry Mini I can't hear you when you're crying and your face is buried, come on, sit up"
"I seh ih wa mey, mey!!!!"
"Come on, let's sit up so I can hear you properly"

As I turned Mini over, he sat up, but was still crying and bawling, so I pulled him close. I did not shout.

"Look, I'm holding you Mini, you don't think you're in trouble do you? We're having a cuddle, and I love you, so let's just talk about what happened'.

Mini calmed down, wouldn't look at me, but snuggled up. I did not shout.

"I said it was me. OK I did it, with the scissors"
"OK, what happened, why did you do that?"

Mini tried to pull away and I realised I'd pushed it a question too far. Mini shouted.

"I don't know why I did it, I just did"
"OK, OK, it's all right, I'm not cross, I just want to know what happened so I can make sure you're not hurt. The scissors are sharp, the needle on the sewing machine is sharp."

Again, he tried to pull away, but I pulled him back close. I did not shout, and neither did he.

"You're not in trouble, I'm glad you're not hurt, but please don't touch my special things again...they might break and you might get hurt next time."
"I'm not hurt, I didn't touch the needle, I just did it"

He still wouldn't relax completely with me, but we did have a quick cuddle before he started asking for Daddy.

This is a big step forward for me. Usually I'd be cross, and even on the days where my shouty side stays buried deep inside, I can't hide my feelings of upset, distress and frustration. Mini always reacts to this by putting his defenses up, he won't talk to me, he won't let me hold him. He shuts down and if I try to reach him, he pushes me even harder...mostly often physically too. So it was a big step forward for him too.
It sounds like I don't do the therapeutic thing doesn't it? I do hard, I'm just an emotional person and not very good at hiding those emotions. So even when I do and say the 'right' things, the therapeutic things, my inner stuff shows anyway, and as a reasonably perceptive child, Mini picks up on it. And I do shout, sometimes. OK, sometimes quite a lot.
I think though that I really am starting to attune better with Mini, and think before I react. And hopefully he's liking this new mummy who sets boundaries and has rules to keep everyone safe, but doesn't get cross and can talk instead of shouting.

P.S I do keep the scissors out of reach...out of sight too and Mini couldn't have possibly known what was in the pot that he climbed over and up various things to reach...definitely an opportunist moment for my nosy little explorer.


  1. I've never been shouty. Until I met Jonathan. I know it takes a tremendous amount of restraint to not yell sometimes but it's exactly what these kiddos need sometimes. What an awesome moment for you and Mini! PROGRESS!!! Doesn't it feel fantastic?!

    1. I never used to be a shouty mum. In Mini's first few years here I was fine and he was fine too. I had no reason or desire to shout.
      But now, I can't help it sometimes. And so often it's out of relief that he's OK rather than anger at what he's done.
      But it does feel like big progress, and I'm starting to see bits of the old Mini (before Dollop's arrival) again :-)

  2. What a wonderful moment! Iam far too shouty, the screaming banshee raises her head more often than I care to admit.
    Like you, I say all the theraputic stuff but my mood and body language often give away too much negativity.
    Well done :)

    1. Thanks FO5, it's hard sometimes isn't it. As I said to Lindsay, sometimes the shouting is more about relief...not because I'm cross, or because I'm cross with myself for not anticipating/not preparing/not watching etc.
      We're getting there though, and these days instead of first addressing what he's done, I'm learning to think quicker about why and what's made him feel that way, and how I can help him with that...we can address what's happened after.
      It's taken me such a long time to shake off all the expectations about parenting, and I'm (finally!) getting that Mini thinks differently, and reacting to him better.

  3. That sounds like a real breakthrough for you both, brilliant. I also shout, sometimes I just loose it, it's classic lost your temper stuff. I think the best thing to do in those situations when you know you've not dealt with it well is to apologies and explain why you got so upset. Your children then see that you too make mistakes and apologising is how you make things right. Feels good when you manage to do it without shouting though!

    Thanks for linking up to The Weekly Adoption Shout Out. xx

    1. Thanks Sarah. It does feel good...often it doesn't have any effect, but this time it did, and I'm so pleased.

  4. Came across your blog through WASO, via New PJ Mummy a couple of weeks ago and I'm loving it :)
    I do so identify with what you've written here. I am, by nature, an expressive and rather loud person and, after years of teaching, where your voice and the force of your personality is all you have, I became an expert in 'projecting' which sounds a lot like shouting. I 'project' quite a lot these days. I shout more than I'd like as well :)

    1. Hi there, thanks for coming, and welcome to #WASO! Projecting....yes I'm sure that's what I do. As a musician I'm used to standing on a stage, getting everyone's attention, then projecting to them. Perhaps there's an idea there actually...maybe I could get rid of some of my shoutier, frustrated moments by playing the wotsits out of my saxophone!

    2. ....and perhaps continue to use your saxophone as a release for all sorts of emotions be it sadness, happiness, frustration, anger etc., and to encourage music as a way of expression for your children too (as well as a wicked and enjoyable skill to actually have!) therapy can have huge recognised benefits for those taking part......even just singing as a distraction may have some benefits.....

  5. Sounds like you did everything right to me, and if you are both improving, then you should be proud. Take the small victories if you can.

  6. I think a few years in I hit a hair trigger phase - i think lots of us do. We have to be so hyper vigilant about ourselves, we become hyper vigilant to them and BOOM we can go off at the slightest thing because we have become primed to it. It feels horrible and I got so lost i that for a while. Moving away from it was such a relief - using these opportunities to connect rather than correct makes such a difference and you can see that in the story behind this post.

    And like Sarah says, when we get it wrong its a chance to show that we all mess up, and love overcomes mess we make every day of the week. Loved reading this, so full of hope and transformation and giant strides forward. Mx

  7. What a lovely moment and well done for approaching it so therapeutically. That must have taken enormous restraint. I embrace my inner fishwife on occasions (especially this weekend when my nephew is here as well and the pair of them are simply hideous 80% of the time). We're currently having a quiet 20 mins which is lovely although I suspect won't last long. I find it really tough when I'm due on though. Katie is going through a phase of pushing as far as she can and I'm trying to react calmly and thoughtfully but sometimes I don't quite make the grade.....

  8. so much has been said already = loving the honesty and the recognition of the dual tensions of reality - the lost it moments and the connecting moments. So fabulous some connections have been made x