Friday, February 26, 2010

Safe Words

So the week of living Duggarly went very well. We learned a great lesson: yelling is counterproductive; and we plan to stick with our anti-yelling family plan. It's pretty entertaining because the Hale family has a new safe word. Yes, I know safe words are typically only used when one party is wearing leather and holding a whip but in this case, it just serves as a reminder that yelling is not allowed in our house. Our safe word is: Jim Bob. Awesome!

My next experiment: A T.V. diet. I've just got to muster up the strength to do it. One week, people, one week. Surely I can survive without Dr. Drew and Jim Halpert for that long!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Duggarly Day 2

I'm at the midpoint of day two in my Week of Living Duggarly. School was unexpectedly canceled today because someone saw a snowflake within a 10 mile radius of the city. I was dreading it because today was supposed to be my work day at home. I might as well kiss any work-related productivity good-bye, right? To make things worse, I didn't sleep well last night. I had a hard time falling asleep and finally got my first taste of REM at about 4am. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fit the Michelle Duggar Zen master of calm mask on my sleep-deprived head today.

Boy was I wrong. My kids unexpectedly let the baby and I sleep in until about 9am, giving me enough of a sleep foundation to get the mask on my head. Since I got up and came downstairs with the baby, my son and daughter have been playing actively and creatively and (here's the true miracle) harmoniously together. They've created these "snow" balls out of white tissue paper, put them in a gift bag and have been taking turns hiding them from each other. This has gone on for hours. I can't help but wonder, does this creative harmonious play have anything to do with my attitude yesterday?

A little update on yesterday's events: I stuck with the experiment veering only once from my no-yelling plan. It was an honest mistake. I was jogging on the treadmill when my son came upstairs and was trying to step on the moving belt. I feel fairly justified in yelling in that particular instant. Other than that, it went smoothly. I didn't rush the kids, didn't raise my voice, and remained calm the entire day (which even included a trip with all three kids to Wal-Mart!). There were no melt-downs yesterday, no serious behavioral issues. All in all, I have had a harmonious house for the past 36 hours.

More to come...

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Milking Purse

Yesterday evening my stress level was through the roof. I was working on a deadline on a new writing project and I wasn't exactly sure how to proceed with it. My entire family was home and the kids had a major case of cabin fever. They were running like banshees (what's a banshee?) through the house, jumping on furniture, screaming, laughing, and having a ball. I did not share their enthusiasm and was sitting at my computer, hands shaking on the keys, right on the cusp of a nervous breakdown (this was before I put on my Michelle Duggar Zen master mask).

My daughter ran towards the couch and warp speed, jumped on it, scaled it and landed on the bay window ledge behind. The then catapulted her body over the edge of the couch and landed on the cushions where she claimed to be stuck. I heard this in the kitchen:

Daughter: "Mommy! Help me!"

Me: "I'm working. What do you need?"

Daughter: "I'm stuck."

Me: silence. I didn't believe her.

Daughter: "Mommy! I'm stuck! My foot is stuck in the milking purse."

This baffled me so I looked to the huz for guidance. His shoulders were shaking with laughter. I said, "What the heck is she talking about?"

He explained that she was referring to the breast pump.

I had to laugh. It was one of those cliche "Kids say the darndest things" kind of moments. The breast pump is encased in a black fabric bag with a large handle. Of course my daughter would understand it as a "milking purse." Maybe Medela and some of the other pump manufacturers should take a hint from my daughter and market their own hip version of a milking purse.

A Week of Living Duggarly

In the spirit of guaranteed blog material and the possibility of becoming a better parent, I have decided to give up yelling for the next seven days. That’s right folks. No yelling. No raising my voice. Nothing. Nada.

Before you judge me, I must clarify. I am no Olympian yeller. I’m not breaking any records or involved in any type of domestic dispute worthy of Judge Judy, I just have a tendency to raise my voice when I get frustrated or when I have to ask my kids to do things over and over again. Inspired by the cool and collected zen master of calm, Michelle Duggar, I’ve decided to give not yelling a go. In case you don’t watch 18 Kids and Counting on TLC or you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar are the parents of 19 children. They live in Arkansas in a ginormous house, custom made for their family and they have the most well-behaved children on earth. I’ve been studying them (watching the show) for some time to try and figure out what their secret is. All along I’ve been certain that they must administer some type of behavior altering drugs to their kids or beat them into submission but that is simply not the case. Michelle and Jim Bob made an agreement with each other that they wouldn’t yell at their kids at the beginning of their parenting journey. This includes the times when they are running late and trying to get 19 pairs of shoes on, coats zipped, seat belts buckled, and faces wiped before they can leave for their destination. If they are late, so be it. They’ve even coined the phrase, “Duggar time” to represent their reliable tardiness. Sure, they could stress out, lose their cool, do a little yelling and arrive on time but I guess they figure promptness is simply not worth the psychological damage that this kind of behavior does to their kids. They’d rather just be late. As a result of their remarkable ability to stay calm at all times, the Duggars have produced 19 children with the same ability. Go figure.

After watching my son freak out and yell out of frustration and recognizing that this is a learned behavior, I’ve decided to try to change. I’m wearing a Michelle Duggar mask all week and adopting her Zen master of calm parenting style. Who knows, you might even catch me in a floor length denim shirt and a modest shirt, rockin’ some mac-daddy bangs this week just to emphasize how serious I really am. The huz is in on it too. I’m hoping he’ll start talking with his hands and use massive amounts of hairspray to get in the character of Jim Bob.

And thus begins the week of living Duggarly. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On to Greener Pastures

Well, it's official. AnotherGrayHair has moved. I switched servers from Typepad (not free) to Blogger (free) for obvious reasons. I imported all posts so nothing was lost. I'll continue to update this blog sporadically so please subscribe if you have a minute.

Thanks for the memories Typepad and the many dollars that have needlessly been tossed your way in the past three years.