Here's the thing about the yelling and the nos. I can live with myself when I yell because of a safety issue ("No! Riley! That's hot!"). I can even live with myself when I yell because one or both kids is/are doing something that they know very well they shouldn't be doing, but do anyway (usually with a sly grin and clearly with full conscience of the action). I'm not saying yelling is the best strategy in either situation, but I can live with myself for doing it.
The problem for me lately has been that I find myself yelling about all kinds of things, most of which have nothing to do with the kids. I am tired. I am lonely. I am cranky, hungry, or scared. My fuse is short, and the twins bear the brunt.
My house is very babyproofed, and my philosophy is that if they can reach it, they can touch it. I believe that they are too young for some things to be OK and some things not to be OK. We have a couple of exceptions to that, like the Diaper Champ, but overall, I think at this age it's my responsibility as the parent to keep things away from them that they should not touch.
Lately, though, I can't take it. They can reach the Tupperware in the kitchen, for example. For months, it's been OK with me for them to play with the Tupperware, spread it all over the floor, etc. They are good about helping me clean it up and they have a lot of fun with it. It shouldn't be that big a deal. But suddenly, it bugs the holy living shit out of me when they strew lids all over the place. Sure, I could move the lids out of their reach, but I don't have enough places to put everything out of reach. Nor should I put everything out of reach. They are toddlers. They are doing what they are supposed to do: playing. It's not like they are playing with my knives. It's Tupperware. That in the past, I've encouraged them to play with.
I need to regain my Zen. Consistency is the cornerstone of good discipline. I learned this when I was a teacher. I'm violating my own rule by having let them do something for ages, only to suddenly be telling them no. And I'm inconsistent about the no. Some days, I'm still OK. Many days, though, I have no patience. It's gone. Poof! Gone. I used to be all Between Parent and Child; now I'm all "children will be seen and not heard." I don't like it. At all.
I'm going to a moms of twins meeting tonight and plan to discuss this with other twin toddler moms to see what I can do to break the cycle. It's not a matter of me getting a break. I need a paradigm shift here. A philosophical change. A new worldview.
I don't mean to be melodramatic, but yesterday, the intern from the twins' daycare came over for a visit. She is a really sweet girl, a junior in college. She was telling me that she volunteers at a family homeless shelter populated mostly by stressed-out single moms. She was saying that it's so hard for her to work there because the kids just get yelled at all the time and it makes her sad to see. I know I'm a long way from all-the-time yelling, and I'm doing the best I can. But I want to nip this in the bud. There has to be a better way.