Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mini-victory: stop the screeching

There comes a point in every toddler’s life when he realizes that he can make a really cool, loud, high-pitched shrieking sound anytime he wants. No? Your children don’t do this? Okay, I don’t want to hear about it.

Anyway, my girls went through a shrieking phase, and now it’s B.A.’s turn. And you know how every mother has her thing, a personal pet issue that makes her a little crazy? Like how some women are freaked out about choking risks and other people can’t stand clutter? No, this doesn’t ring a bell? Nothing ruffles you? Fine, now I’m unfriending you on Facebook .

So my thing is noise. It’s a little ridiculous to be a parent of young kids and have a hard time with noise, but there you have it. My children have no electronic toys. Uncle Moishe is an unknown presence in my house. Noise makes me jittery.

And when my children learn to shriek, they quickly grasp that it comes with a certain power. I probably get a pleading look on my face, and this just makes them want to screech more. So I have discovered a workaround.

When my kids start going with the shrill silliness, I say, “Wow, that’s a loud noise. Can you make any other silly noises? How about this one?”

And then I demonstrate some kind of crazy noise in a less-annoying pitch. Something low and hard to yell, like a grrrrrrrrowl, or a buzzzzzzz. The sillier the better. B.A. likes a nice long “Fffffffff.”

What’s your mini-victory? Add it in the comments or email me at chaya dot houpt at gmail dot com.


Mama Wass said...

Thanks for this post! I tried it tonight with 2 screeching boys, and it worked like a charm!

Chaya said...

Yay, glad to hear it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! We also have a no-noisy-toys home. Nothing with batteries. Unexpected noises jangle my nerves. One of our kids once dropped something which clattered and banged, and looked up at me and said - oops - loud noise!

But sometimes I fight noise with...more noise. I put on whatever seems like the happiest song I can think of at the moment, louder than whatever crying, whining or screeching is happening. Sometimes I sing along. If I am feeling totally desperate, I dance!

And then I do whatever it is I am supposed to be doing - probably making supper, or cleaning up lunch. I don't hear whatever was bothering me, I re-focus on the work at hand.

By the time I realize that the music is awfully loud and I want to turn it down, whatever started it all has stopped. Plus I am much calmer and more ready for whatever comes next.

shoshana said...

I recently discovered that my 3.5yo is getting better at containing herself (well, sometimes). The thing I can't stand is whining, and I've started telling her she has three more seconds to whine and after that I'm putting her in her room. To my great surprise, a couple of times she actually stopped before I finished counting! This morning that wasn't enough (she was yelling at me because she wanted to go to gan at 6a.m. and I told her gan was still sleeping), so I put her in her room and she actually stayed there, finished her fit on her bed, and came out in a good mood!! Yay for small victories!

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