Several weeks ago when David and I were having some intense conversations until we reached an understanding for both of us, it was a bit much for the kids. They all seemed a bit stressed and unsure of what was going on because David and I were talking all the time. I was worn out and would shutdown and then would cry. It was a lot. Daniel fixated on his toys and would try to distract us by asking the same questions over and over or turning on things in the house that he knows he is not supposed to. Joshua fixated on Lego’s not much different from everyday but he did add an element of wanting us to stop talking and build with him and would ask over and over again.
Ariel watched and listened.
She would play but would have her eyes on us and her ears open. She was listening to every single word we said. The thing about our kids is that if they think something is wrong or if they feel we are talking in the wrong way, they will say it. They will ask what do we mean and why are we saying that. We both talked to them telling them that we had things we needed to work through, we have been as honest as possible with what you can with a 5 year old and two 6 year olds. They got upset with us several nights during this time because we were “too loud”. I was asked why I was yelling. I wasn’t yelling in my mind. I don’t like yelling so I am usually sensitive to it. David gets loud too but he does that when he is happy, excited or upset, we are all used to that.
He and Joshua do not have an awareness of their volume.
It has only been brought to my attention in this past year that I get loud. There was another time when something happened and David and I were having a discussion, I don’t remember what it was about and apparently I was loud. So basically to others I am yelling but to me I am still talking in a normal voice. I remember when I used to yell and these times recently are not yelling to me at all. I am just involved, excited, upset but I associate yelling with anger. I have not been angry much, but when I was I stopped talking. David and I do not yell at each other, even our “discussions” are truly that we do not get into heated arguments.
There are no personal attacks or digs.
I can be a smart butt at times but so can he and if we make each other upset, “well sorry and move on”. It’s pointless to waste time on things like that. I am sure that people would not get our arguing, it is normally data based and analytical. We have always tried to find a resolution not discuss emotion. That is why I think it was so worrisome to the kids because this last round had emotions involved, that made it more intense. It threw me because I was not used to David responding in certain ways and I also felt not heard. Once we came to an understanding things have been much more settled. We are dealing with our issues on our own and trying to keep it calm for the kids.
But this brings me to our warning.
I heard Ariel one night in the front room, I wasn’t sure what was going on but I had that mom feeling that something was wrong. I went in and saw the brown paint lines on the wall. I was in the middle of making dinner so I told her to go talk to David about what she had done and why. He asked her why she painted on the wall here is the conversation:
David: Ariel why did you paint on the wall?
Ariel: It is a warning.
David: A warning for what? For us to stop talking?
Ariel: Yes. I don’t like it when you guys talk.
Normally it would not be an issue if we talked.
She did not like the way were talking. She also shared that when she thought I was yelling (which to me I was not) she saw the word “happy” in the color orange and it would melt. The letters would start to fall and then would be gone. I am very happy that she feels that she can talk to us and even express herself, I would rather it not be on the wall though. Frankly, I don’t care much about that, I would rather her do what she needs to if she doesn’t have words then to hold it in and get confused or worse yet do what I did and blame herself.
She also made something else very clear.
She told us that she no longer wanted to hear us talk like that in front of her and from now on “You need to just email each other”. It has been too confusing and upsetting for her to try to figure what we are talking about and what it all means. We have listened to our warning. It makes it better though that David is letting me do what I need to work through things. Unfortunately, for him some things he is dealing with has to go on the back burner but that is how it works. Sometimes I have to be settled for the kids and then other times he has to be settled for the kids. My stuff seems to be over-pouring right now. It seems one onion peel opens up another whole grand layer I have forgotten about. Some good and some not so good. We may not be doing everything right but we are trying.
I do feel good about our kids feeling that they can express themselves and they know we are honest with them.