So basically, I can no longer prove I exist.
What prompted this exercise was the overwhelming feeling that all I do is nag. What prompted that feeling was the indisputable fact that ALL I DO IS NAG. And complain. And scold. And say no. Then Gus began expressing his own frustration in much the same way. Whining, complaining, nagging, and yelling at me.
This I can not abide.
I had to find a way to transform my nagging no-hole into an instrument of peace. So I made a rule. Nothing ugly gets out of my mouth without a makeover.
And it’s helping.
Of course it’s early yet. I’m still me after all, and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS (See: Shallow, Shameless, Dumb Bitch). But eliminating the option to have a hot holy heart attack every time the boys won’t bend to my will has also eliminated a lot of my anxiety. I can be irked (silently) by their whining, but I don’t have to dread the ensuing screaming match, because there won't be one. Period.
I suspect Gus is hip to the program, too, because he is testing me at every turn to see how committed I really am.
Last night he …
Peed in Larry’s sage bush.
Took out a window screen.
Ran to the fridge and grabbed a fistful of watermelon just seconds after I told him he needed to finish his quesadilla first.
Refused to go to the Naughty Chair, opting to stand on our bathroom toilet and scream out the (now screen-less) window “MAHHHHHHMEEEEEEEEE, I NEEED YOUUUUUUUUU. DON’T LEEEEEEEEEAVE ME. PLEEEEEEEASE.”
Told Larry the quesadilla I made was DISGUSTING.
(Probably true. Poor kid.)
Refused to take a bath.
(But said he’d take a shower. In a few minutes.)
In a few minutes, decided showers are horrible.
(Asked me to draw him a bath. Not in those Victorian terms, but ...).
When the bathtub was full, the WATER WAS TOO HOT! WAS I TRYING TO KILL HIM? DID I WANT HIM TO BURN AND DIE? COULD HE HAVE A POPSICLE INSTEAD OF DINNER? NO? BATHS ARE STUPID!
Now just because I’m not saying anything negative doesn’t mean I’m not parenting the four-foot hoodlum. I still tell him, firmly, when his behavior isn’t up to snuff. I just won’t yell. Or complain. Or cry and scream and try to give Larry a coat-hanger vasectomy over it.
When I finally got the boys to bed, I picked up the first book (a Coast Guard rescue story!) entitled Mayday! Mayday!
“Which one is it?” Gus asked.
“I mean, what’s it called?”
"It’s called Mayday! Mayday!”
“But what’s the name of it?”
“That’s what I’m telling you. It’s Mayday! Mayday!”
“That’s what they say in the book?”
“That’s the title of the book. See? Look.” (Pointing to words Mayday! Mayday!)
“What does that say?”