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.|
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
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).