Over Thanksgiving at my parents Chamudi had his usual highjinx--"I climb this" "I jump that" "I dump this"--and I had my usual responses, including the all-time favorite "I'm going to count to 5" and the old-standby of just picking him up and moving him.
My mother and her childhood friend (Don't you love parenting as a spectator sport?) thought it was hilarious. "It's so different," they said, recalling--with what seemed like nostalgia--how their mothers used to yell and yell and how they'd go from one house to another trying to figure out who yelled louder.
Mom's a yeller too--no doubt the product of her own yelling mama. Like Nana before her she's also a loving, caring mother, so I, like Mom, just accepted it as part of the deal.
And then there's me. I've got it in me...I definitely do. When Chamudi gets naughty and super-willful all I want to do is rage at him. I feel so angry and so disrespected and mad...at this cute little two-year-old who I love more than life itself.
But I've got something else in me too. Maybe the memory of what it's like to grow up in a loud household and the knowledge that Abba--who grew up with a mild mama--doesn't see a place for raised voices in a happy home. Or the knowledge that by reasoning with Chamudi I'm both teaching and modeling self-control. Whatever it is I swallow my anger the best I can...and I'm always, without exception, glad that I did.