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Somthing to shout aboutAfter “exterminating” hordes of 30-plus dinosaurs and sending each and every plastic figurine flying across the living room, my restless No. 2 was looking for an outlet to expand his energy. As I was too busy with household chores to play with him, I quickly grabbed some paintbrushes, watercolours and set them down on the table, much to his delight.

“Yay, it’s painting time!” my little one squealed. Pleased with his response, I continued with my work.

“I’m going to paint you, mummy!” my four-year-old said.

His statement caught me by surprise. Firstly, my No. 2 has no patience for painting, and secondly, should anyone view his finished pieces, they would have remarked that it looked more like, ahem, shredded paper mulch.

But being parents, we have to encourage the creative talents of our kids, right? Such a sweetie wanting to paint his mummy, I thought to myself, and told him so.

Curious, I asked, “So, what are you going to paint me as? How about a princess?” I said jokingly. “I know, a fairy then!”
“Nope,” was his reply. “A tiger!”

Stunned and feeling a tad hurt, I enquired, “But why a tiger?”

With a deadpan look on his face, he said, “Because you’re always yelling at us!”

What came to mind at that point was an image of me glaring at my kids, with teeth bared and brows furrowed in anger while bellowing at them to stop hitting each other during rough play or when they simply misbehave.

I thought I had it all figured out when I bid goodbye to secure employment several months ago to become
a stay-at-home mum. After all, how difficult could it be managing two little boys? I am a very patient person by nature. Heck, I’ve worked with some of the most difficult people in my industry for more than 20 years and not once was there ever a shouting match. But with my kids, it was a different story altogether – my tykes managed to break me in as little as five months!Something-to-shout about 2

“Where could I have gone wrong?” I kept thinking over and over about the “tiger” incident. I’ve pored over books on parenthood, (I even wrote articles for and edited parenting magazines, for goodness sake!), shared advice with like-minded friends and colleagues, and even signed up for workshops on raising junior. I even told myself that if I ever have a family of my own one day, I would never shout or yell at my kids. Well, I guess that old saying is true, “Never say never.”

But after what No. 2 said, it got me thinking, “What did I learn about myself and about the way I treat my kids?” After all, parents do shout at their children at some point in their life.

“Take it one day at a time. With kids, your patience is forced to grow. Just trust your gut instinct and keep calm. Don’t let them break you…again,” my good friend M said with a smile when I mentioned what had happened.

“That’s why it’s always good to have mirrors around your house,” she said with a chuckle.

“Mirrors? Around the house?” I asked, with a puzzled look. “Whatever for?”

“Every time you scream at your kids, you’ll see your own reflection in the mirror! And just like that,” M snapped her fingers, “you’ll automatically stop shouting. It’s not a pretty picture, you know.” That got us both laughing.

And did No. 2 paint his mum as the ferocious beast he described? Thankfully, no. But the paper-pulp sculpture did somehow resemble a little to that of our neighbourhood kitty!

About Author

Caroline Francis

Caroline Francis has been a sub-editor and writer for over 20 years. She spent 12 years working with an awesome team at IT Publications where she was the assistant chief sub-editor for its technology pullout.

Read more about her.

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