“Owe, Aaaarowe, Ahhhh” These are the sounds that pound sharply out of H.’s mouth when she is “not happy with a situation”.  Come to think of it, she sounds like Sam Kinison without all the swearing. When we don’t bend to her desires, due to her “delivery”, the volume of her utterances hits “11”, sharp yelps become drawn out cries, and only time will get her through the jag.

A phase? Yes, and I am envious of her ability to do it in public, and if I were her, I’d milk it for all it’s worth. I think of the times that I want to stop, point, and scream at something.  A guy skips you in line while waiting for entry into a theme park – drop your bag, point, and let ‘er rip.  Waiting 45 minutes for a burger and fries – stand up, clench your fists, and give it your best “Kinison”.  How much better would you feel? I’m sure we’ve all thought about it, but recognize, as adults, that we can’t go around screaming to get what we want, and that’s what we try to teach our kids.

So, why do we curb our kid’s screaming for objects they want (in H.’s most recent case it was a stick), but we don’t “check” ourselves from using condescending, divisive, and otherwise disrespectful speech to get what we want? If we use a quieter tone it makes our words okay?  Screaming loudly for a stick is bad (she really wanted that stick), but listening to our own voice echo in our head with plugged ears is okay?  We teach, don’t speak up in public in a way that draws immediate attention to your need for a stick (seriously, she went on for 20 minutes), but holding a sign that shames someone, to some, is the right thing to do?

Our little peeler, and yes, somedays I wear pajamas past noon.

I am not pointing fingers left, right, up, or down, I’m looking at myself while reflecting on what I see.  H.’s scream, driven by a desire for a stick, is honest.  She isn’t calling the grass names because she wants a stick, she doesn’t blame the trees because she doesn’t have a stick, she screams insanely.  We tell her to “use her words” to express her needs. Don’t abuse, confuse, twist to amuse at someone else’s expense, use your words to build. I’m sorry if this sounds preachy, but with the current state of the “Heads” on television, Facebook posts about elections, and self-righteous proclamations on websites, I can’t help but look at our kids and wonder how we are going to change the way our various forms of media communicate messages, and how we communicate with one another.  I know there are people, sources, and groups who are “using their words” respectfully, but flipping the power switch to any screen and scrolling, proves that it’s not the mainstream.

My Papa Sense tells me:

H. and A. are learning the skills necessary to get their needs met in a clear and respectful way, at least that is our intention.  It is our hope that this test of patience, that leaves me screaming in my closet alone, will pay off, and our kids will learn to communicate effectively and honestly.  One can only hope.  We’ve already noticed steps in this direction, and in all fairness to H., it’s about the cutest thing when she says “’scuse me, ‘scuse me” to get an adults attention.

I find myself thinking, and saying to close friends or family, horrible things about groups of people who I don’t agree with.  I am not always proud of the categories that I put people in, and the ways that I think about people, I try to be respectful when having a “discussion” with someone, but recognize that I use “adult” ways to scream when I disagree. I try to listen, talk, and not come across as if I’m trying to convince, but that’s difficult to do.  Something to be conscious of, and work on.

I wouldn’t tell H. to “shut-up” about her stick, or wonder why she cared so much about the stick, but I will ask her to calmly ask for the stick, and if she doesn’t get the stick, to find another way to fill that desire, or listen to the reasons why having a 3 foot stick in a wagon with her sister is not a good idea.  So, I’m going to take my advice, and drop the stick while I try to speak softly, to, and about, everyone. Well, mostly everyone.

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