I Brought A Contagious Disease Into Our House (Part 2)
So where were we? Oh yes, my six year old daughter had cracked a rotten raw vinegar egg on the (fabric) couch and carpet after having been asked three times to take the egg-of-evil-death outside.
The egg had cracked, and so did I: ‘Hold that muck in your hands and GET OUTSIDE! NOW!!!!!!!!!’
The ALL CAPS did not end there. I think in the four years we have lived here, the neighbours would have never heard anything like it coming from our house. I was like a angry mother caricature: sleeves rolled up, paper towels everywhere, puffing, sweating, yelling, standing on the couch pulling covers off cushions, splashing soda water around with one hand and Googling ‘how do you clean stinky bouncy vinegar egg science experiment off the carpet?’ with the other.
My daughter was even more frantically and randomly cleaning. She had grabbed some aloe vera infused tissues and was swirling them in circles on clean parts of the carpet. It would have been funny if it wasn’t so seriously-not-funny.
I was taking a breath from my berating, pausing for effect as I gathered up some more descriptions of my rage and its cause, when I realized the world’s most contagious disease - anger - had infested our little family.
During my momentary silence my girl had walked outside to carry wet cushion covers into the sun, and my four year old son came over to help her. She screamed at him in a very familiar voice, using a certain tone and word selection that had filled the house from my mouth just moments before:
‘Get out the way! I am trying to get this cleaned up! You are not listening to me!!! YOU ARE MAKING IT WORSE, I AM TRYING TO HELP MUMMY CLEAN UP THE MESS!!! GET OUT THE WAY, NOW!!!!’
My son knew what to do and got out the way. My girl took a deep breath, apparently not to gather up some more descriptions of her rage and its cause, and let it go. She came inside to talk to me and we were calm and reasonable. We had both been cured of our disease by passing it on to someone else.
Our conversation went like this:
My girl: Mum, do we need to buy a new couch?
Me: No it will have to be cleaned honey, we do not have enough money for a new couch.
My girl: Daddy has some money in the coin jar.
Me: It’s not enough for a new couch.
My girl: Is there any money in the bank?
Me: Yes, but we need that money to fix your ceiling and stop your allergies from being so bad.
My girl: What is more important? My sneezing, or the couch?
Me: Your sneezing.
My girl: Is that because of what you always say Mummy: that people are more important than things?
(Buggar me, painted myself into a corner with that chestnut)
Me: Yes bub, and you are more important than the couch. But remember what I have been saying: mum’s anger today was not because of the ruined couch, but because you didn’t listen to me when I told you to go outside.
My girl: I know.
Suddenly we both stopped talking and listened. There was some serious yelling coming from outside. I went to the door and saw my son standing near the drying couch cushions with his hands on his hips, shouting…at the cat:
‘GET OUT THE WAY!!!! EVERYONE IS TRYING TO CLEAN UP THE MESS!!!!! LISTEN TO ME. GO AWAY!!!!!!’
Woah, again. This time with a stifled giggle.
Puss knew what to do, and he got out the way. I’m sure I saw him go straight up to the bunny and gave her a dirty look. The bunny looked confused, which is not unusual but I thought she might be wondering why she suddenly felt so irritated and keen to kick something. It was more likely she was wondering if all this egg smell meant there were some carrots coming her way. Either way I knew I had to gather my family, and pets, together for some angry virus antidote: big loads of love delivered in a genuine, caring, calm voice.
By the end of the clean-up the lessons were learnt and all was well, despite the lingering, disgusting, inescapable smell.
I even managed to keep calm when I saw some results from my 'bouncy vinegar egg science experiment' Googling – the experiment did not require raw eggs, but boiled ones.
Have you ever passed your anger on to others? Share your story below...
*Apologies for a slightly late blog post this week. The reason for me being otherwise occupied will be revealed in a future post but here's a clue: it starts with 'my daughter' and finishes with 'broke her arm…'. Mysterious.