I took my kids to the doctor the other day because they had been coughing and not feeling great for a couple of days, but by the time we got there they weren’t acting sick at all. They were dancing around the waiting room singing, “Shake your booty!!” then started playing “Library” with some medication brochures displayed on the front table, pretending they were books. At one point they were both climbing all over me and squeezing my nose, my son yelling, “ME BLOCKING YOUR SMELLING!” He was consumed in a fit of laughter. A girl sitting quietly across from us asked, “Are they always like that?” I laughed and said, “Yeah! They have fun together.” But when I saw her face I realized she wasn’t asking in a nice way. I could tell she didn’t have children, because she had clearly not heard of my revolutionary new parenting technique called “ABS” or “Anything But Screaming.”
My husband and I have developed this life-changing technique over the course of the past 2 years, and when we sat down to write our sure to be bestselling book on the topic, we realized that all the information you need is way too short for a book and decided to pass it on to you absolutely free of charge. Basically all you do is let your child do anything they want, as long as nobody is screaming (and also as long as they’re not hurting themselves I guess, but that would probably involve screaming at some point so instead of ABSOHTOO or “Anything But Screaming Or Hurting Themselves Or Others” let’s just call it “Anything But Screaming” as people with small children have limited space left in their temporal lobes to remember long acronyms).
This technique was inspired by our second child, who is loud. So, so loud. Don’t get me wrong, he is the sweetest little boy who has ever walked the face of the earth, but there is just no getting around his loudness. Our downstairs neighbor once texted me at 2 in the afternoon asking if we were practicing the sleep training technique “cry it out.” At 2 pm. It was very difficult to explain that our toddler was upset because he had asked for a bite of peanut butter on a spoon, and I had given him too big of a bite. So I scraped some back into the jar, handed him the spoon, but this time it was too small of a bite. This proved to be too much for him, as he wailed, “I wanted a MEDIUM bite!!” There was no getting him back after that. He was in full non-medium peanut butter bite meltdown mode, and nothing could stop him. To further put this in perspective, you know how scientists say one of the only sounds that can break the sound barrier is a jet engine? Well let’s just say that those scientists have never met my son. I’m pretty sure that jet engine could peacefully lull me to sleep after the experience I had with my son as a baby.
So how do you implement this genius plan? Let me give you a few examples:
Did your child just grab a jar of Nutella from the grocery store shelf, somehow ripped it open and is now happily eating it with his bare hands? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “I was going to buy Nutella anyway. Good idea, buddy. Anything but screaming.”
Is your child currently writing all over his entire body (mostly his face) with a permanent marker just as you’re leaving for school? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “Look at how creative he looks. Anything but screaming.”
Are your kids laughing in the tub while playing tug-of-war with a wash cloth in their mouths, ingesting dirty bath water in the process? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “That totally helps their immune systems. Anything but screaming.”
Are you on the train with your child in the stroller who has just finished eating a granola bar and is now eating the wrapper as well? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “Those organic companies totally use biodegradable wrappers. That’s like, their whole thing. Anything but screaming.”
And referring to the photo above, are you at a coffee shop with your children, one who has not had their nap today, and the only thing keeping that adorable smile on his face is the fact that you’re allowing him to take his sweater off and rub hot chocolate all over his bare chest? Take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “I’m making all the other parents in here with fully dressed children feel like REALLY good parents. Maybe they were questioning their parenting abilities, and this gave them the dose of confidence they needed. It’s my good deed for the day. And look at how happy my kids are. Anything but screaming.”
Good luck out there.