The Banshee and The Green Light

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Faye is a screamer.

Like a banshee.

She screams a terrible scream that strikes fear into your soul. Like something dreadful is about to happen.

When something doesn't go her way, she emits the most dreadful noise known to man, which could be used as a torture device. I would do almost anything to make that noise stop. I have tried so many different methods to teach her to stop, but it seems hopeless. We have talked about it, I have imitated her so she could hear what it sounds like to others, she has been sebt to her room for making that noise. Nothing has worked.

On Thursday she was doing it again, and honestly, I just don't have the energy to fight her over it anymore. I had been ignoring it for a while, and she kept on going and going. Finally, I sat down next to her, took her sweaty and tear strained little body in my arms and told her I was going to tell her a story. It went like this:

"While your daddy and I were driving home from the funeral, the strangest thing happened. The road was deserted, and there were lots of hills and sagebrush all around. Occasionally we could see a herd of cows in the distance, but it was just us, the music and the open road. Suddenly, there was a flash of bright green light all around us. We seemed to drive through it. It was so weird! We couldn't tell where it came from or what it was. We didn't really think anything of it, other than the fact that it was weird, and honestly, we sort of forgot about it. Except now, I can tell that it did something to us. See, your daddy and I can't hear screaming anymore. Instead we hear a weird buzzing sound. I can see your face, and read your body language to tell that you are upset, but I just can't hear screaming! I think the best way to get my attention when you are upset would be to calmly call "Mommy, I need you." and I will come running, as quick as I can to see what you need. But screaming for me will just not do a thing, because I can't hear you when you do."

And that was it. Like magic, she stopped screaming. I think it will be a little while before she gets out of the habit, but she is well on her way, which makes me deliriously happy. I love that I wont have to hear that noise every time something doesn't go her way anymore.

And what a blessed thing it was that we went over that on Thursday, because Friday I decided it was time to tackle her bedroom.

We began at nine in the morning.

We finished at 4 in the afternoon.

In the process of me trying to teach her how to clean her room, she tried the screaming, and I am so glad she really thinks I can't hear it! Yes, I lied to my child, but it is in the interest of teaching her to use her words, and I really don't feel bad about it. Finally, at 2, I told her I was going to set a timer and if she didn't help me get it clean in time, the consequence would be that she would have to spend the rest of the day in her room. Including no dinner. I told her I really wanted her to be with us for dinner, and for the fun things we were going to do that night as a family, so I would keep helping her, because I love to have her around me. Mostly, she sat there while I worked, praying for patience and the ability to not get frustrated with her. If she had helped me, we could have gotten it done in under an hour, easy. Without her help, though, it took so much longer. The timer went off, and she was understandably upset. We discussed consequences and how all of our actions have a consequence. When her room was finally clean, I made a deal with her. She could come out of her room and join us for dinner when she got all of the marker, pen, pencil, crayon, and chalk scrubbed off her walls.

And then I went down to help Keith with his room.

We finished his room around 7 last night.

Because when I clean, I get everything. We moved the bed so we could vacuum beneath it, pulled all the papers and books off his shelves that were precariously booby trapped for the hapless victim who decided to move any of them. We dug the dirty clothes out from beneath his mattress, changed his bedding... the whole nine yards. The best part is he actually helped me do it all! And he is so pleased with his room now. It makes me happy for them to be thrilled about their now clean bedrooms. For the first day or so, Faye is meticulous about cleaning her room. I wish it would last. But I think it will be a battle for many years to come, to teach her how to clean.

When I had finished with their rooms, I was so tired, and so ready for bed! I felt like I had accomplished nothing all day, and was very discouraged.

Faye did eventually get all of the writing she had put on her walls off of it, so was able to join us for dinner. But we didn't do anything fun. I was beyond tired. When I put the kids to bed, though, reading to them chased away that feeling of not having accomplished anything. And that makes it all worth it.


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