Tuesday 30 October 2012

I Am Not Roaring

Morning comes. Jay goes off to work, and I brace myself for the day. I shower and dress and then open their door and get them up.
"Mummy!" they say, and beam at me. I swoop in and kiss them and we all troop downstairs.
That's on a good day.

On a bad day, the yelling starts early, long before Jay has left the house. I am not a morning person and I cannot take yelling before breakfast. I stomp in before I've showered and say "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?" in my scary angry voice, freaking them out with my scary pre-shower smooshed-up pillow face.

The answer to what is going on here is always the same: a plaintive little voice (Pink) saying "Blue roaring at me". And then I say DOES THAT MAKE IT OKAY FOR YOU TO YELL AT HIM? and she says no and looks sad and then I say BLUE DID YOU ROAR AT PINK? and he hangs his head and says yes and I say YOU BOTH NEED TO SAY SORRY and then they do and I say I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ANY MORE YELLING OR ROARING FROM THIS ROOM  and then I march into the bathroom and turn the shower on and try not to hear the yelling and roaring, the roaring and yelling that's coming at me through the wall.

It drives me crazy, the way that he needles her and then she takes the bait. They are both half of the problem, but he always, always starts it. I wonder if he's ever going to grow out of it, this need to annoy her with dinosaur impressions in the morning.
An actual picture of Blue in the morning. Not actual size. 
And then a few days ago, I walked into their quiet room after my shower and he grinned at me and said "Mummy, I not roaring!" and you know what? He wasn't, although the temptation was obviously killing him. I gave him a big high-five.

Now he says it all the time, out of the blue. I not roaring! And I say Well done, little guy! and it makes me realise just how much of his effort is taken up with not doing things. Not bouncing on the sofa. Not hitting people. Not touching my phone. No wonder he's always so tired.

And the same goes for me, I guess.

So often, I am feeling bad because of all the good stuff I'm not doing. Like, I'm not answering my emails (really, I'm not) and I'm not cleaning the kitchen (really, I'm really not) but hey! Where's the credit for all the bad stuff I'm not doing either?

For example. At the moment, things feel really difficult and stressful and I am not doing anything useful, at all, ever, but I am NOT eating any more m&ms.
I have NOT killed anybody in my extended family.
I have NOT killed anybody else, either.
I am NOT buying any more bags on ebay this week.
I am NOT getting up from the computer right now to make a batch of caramel popcorn.
I am NOT calling in sick and staying home from work
 and I am NOT using this computer to book a vacation (alone) to the Caribbean or Italy or, well, anywhere.
(How about you? What are you NOT doing?)

All this stuff is as hard for me as Not Roaring is for my little guy. I guess it never ends, does it? So much of being a grown-up, or just of growing up, seems to be about developing self control, about NOT doing all the stuff that my id wants.  I was listening to a radio play recently (because that's how rock'n'roll my life is) and one line that really stuck in my head was beware of the things we do to get by. Beware, I guess, of feeling the emptiness and sadness from the things that go wrong in our lives and becoming the kind of person who loses all self-control and just lets themselves roar, metaphorically speaking. (Or, you know, sometimes literally too).

I probably give myself too many passes on this one. Sometimes I think I just need to grow up.

I go in and wake them up after their nap. (They still nap in the afternoon. So sue me). He looks at me and says again I not roaring, Mummy! and I say I know, I'm so proud of you and I really am. Every minute of every day that he is not roaring, I am proud of him.

And now I find myself thinking it myself, all the time. When they provoke me - when I'm annoyed - when things go wrong - when the cat vomits unexpectedly - when these things happen and when I (rarely) manage to keep my cool, I say it to myself. Hey look, Mummy! You not roaring! and then I high five myself in my mind and then I clean up whatever mess is in front of me.

Things are hard in our house right now, and who knows, they might be about to get harder. But I want to be able to say this more: I Am Not Roaring.

Yes, it's true. I'm aiming for the self control of a three year old.

(High five, Mummy, high five).


  1. I am not a roarer (really) but I did this morning. To wit: DO NOT WALK AWAY WHILE I AM YELLING AT YOU! <<---actual thing I said.

    Anyhoo, I could have sworn that picture was an adoptoraptor.

  2. Yay for not roaring! My roaring is buying a box of Ghirardelli Ultimate Fudge brownie mix and eating approximately half the brownies I make with the mix. Even though I try to eat low-sugar. Even though I try to eat 'real' food. I tend to roar in this way about once a month. I will keep you and your family in my prayers!

  3. I love this. I have been doing my own roaring a little bit too much lately. I realized that sometimes I need to control myself better, and sometimes I need to set myself up a little better to succeed, which is pretty much the same thing my five-year-old needs. I think a lot of us are aiming for the self control of a three (or five) year old. Good work, and keep going.

    PS--I say to have them nap for as long as you're able. It's a nice break for everybody.

  4. I love this post. I too am struggling with my own "not roarings" these days. And it does take far more energy not to roar than to roar. Thanks for pointing this out!

  5. Sometimes it takes all we can do not to roar. I love that he restrained himself and pointed it out to you!

    The other day, my 5 year old son thanked me for something and then walked away. He stopped suddenly and said, "hey! I got gratitude!". Then he ran around the house screaming "I got gratitude!". I have no idea why your "not roaring" story about Blue made me think of this, but it did.

  6. Hold up.... They stop napping at some point??? Say it isn't so!
    And I need to not roar more too...we all do in our own way. But I won't not eat M&Ms... No ma'am I will not stop eating them :)

  7. I get this. We talk a lot in our house about the dragon..."did I just hear the dragon? was that fire coming out of the dragon's nostrils again?" I usually call my daughter the dragon, well not exactly to her, but if I'm honest, a lot of the time it's me.

  8. I love this. I'm going to pat myself on the back for not roaring as well. I imagine those pats on the back will be few and far between...but still.

  9. Oh yes! I try every day to not act like a 3-year-old :) Like with the mulberries - I am super stoked that I stayed cool, calm and collected.

    yay to you!

    And yes, keep them napping as long as you can - it's our little bit of sanity in the day too!

  10. Oh my goodness, we needed this in our house today. I roared. She yelled no. There's a post on it coming...

  11. Some days, okay many days, no one here has the self control of a three year old. Making breakfast this morning, some crazy lady in my kitchen was hear roaring 'That is TOO LOUD before breakfast, take it in the other room'. Yeah, the yelling was way louder than the toy with the siren. But I manage to do the grocery shopping and not fill the trolley with chocolate under the pretext of giving it to trick or treaters.

  12. needed this 45 minutes ago.
    I roared, went downstairs, ate four Oreos, came back upstairs and roared again. And then sat down to read the four parenting books my mom checked out of the library about defiant children who are physically abusive to other children.
    It's that kind of week/month/year.

  13. Love this line, and this shall be my goal for the week(s) following. To. not. roar. Metaphorically or literally.

  14. I keep thinking about this. I so did not roar this morning when my boy staged a 45 minute melt-down over hair gel in his bangs. As I walked home from walking him to school--since, y'know, he missed the bus with all that nonsense--I was smiling and saying it my head, "High five, Mama, you didn't roar!" Thanks for putting words to it.

  15. Good for you, the not roaring. It's all about perspective--and I would sooo be ordering bags off of Ebay and eating caramel popcorn in bed. So, serious high five. And hope you're hanging in there. I think of you often.

  16. This is great! We've been working on this, too. A lot of our foster parent training has encouraged us to discipline and handle fit-pitching, etc. from a sitting position. Physically positioning ourselves as the kids' level, taking a step back from the situation and just chilling out has been helpful. The kids are a little confused by it because they're used to the roaring, but it's working. We don't have to react to everything that happens, and that is something we're learning as adults. Sad, but true. Rather than playing the "who can escalate things even higher" game, we're playing limbo and attempting to calm and humble ourselves. All about self control instead of trying to control the kids.

  17. I am not getting the blondies I'm saving for book group out of the freezer and eating them all. Neither am I eating the last of the bonfire toffee (but I ate so much yesterday it gave me a mouth ulcer, so that's kind of easy to resist).

    I have an 8 year old Brownie who needs this. Baby Spouse is too little yet thankfully. Today I did manage to stop her from pushing and annoying and winding up the other girls in her group by getting her to stand next to me instead.

  18. PS to any regular, or new, readers of mine. I'm also not able to decide whether to change the title of my blog. Please stop by and help me decide. You can also read my potted history...


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