Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I know you find this difficult to believe, but I have occasionally yelled at my children. I try not to raise my voice, but there have been times when I have been pushed to the point of no return.

A few times the explosion was stimulated by the discovery of a major school project due…the next day...requiring poster board…at 10:00 pm at night…when our printer was out of ink.

Or discovering an entire dumpster’s worth of garbage, moldy food, and dirty clothing wedged underneath furniture in a child’s bedroom.

(I could go on and on, but it's too early for a glass of wine.)

But, you know what? It feels good to yell in these situations. Damn good! The louder the better.

But, the funny thing is that my kids do not respond well to yelling.  What gets there attention is when I get intensely quiet.  In fact the softer (and more sinister) my voice gets the more seriously they take me.

“Are you skinkin’ kidding me!! Your WW-II trench project is due tomorrow?"

This would be the more effective way to continue this conversation:  “And how long have you known about this? “And what the heck do you plan on using for poster board?”

Do you know how difficult it is to pull this off?  

It is so much easier to say "Why did you wait until now to remember?” "You need to make a paper mache what?" “GIVE ME YOUR CELL PHONE- NOW!  YOU CAN HAVE IT BACK WHEN YOU'RE 21!"

But guess what!  Thanks to Japanese technology, I no longer have to control my shouting!  In fact, my irrepressible rants can will come across as gentle whispers when I use my new Japanese Shouting Vase.

According to the advertising:
Turn your loudest, most urgent frustrations into mere whispers with the Shouting Vase. The plastic jug is designed to fit over the contours of your mouth and absorb your screams and shouts, “storing” them in the vase and emitting a softer version of your angry cries through the tiny hole at the base.

Believe me. I have many "most urgent frustrations" that I'd like to turn to mere whispers.

I can see it now.

Linda comes to me at 10:00 and tells me she just remembered she has a Chemistry test in the morning and she left her study sheet and her Chemistry book at school.

I pick up my Japanese Shouting Vase.

Just the sight of it terrifies Linda: "I'm so sorry, Mom!"

I put it to my lips and scream, "I hate Chemistry!" 

It comes out in a mere whisper.

Linda starts to whimper. "That's OK, Mom. I can get the study sheet online"

I scream, "I got a C in Chemistry decades ago. The only thing I remember about the class is that H20 is water

Another mere whisper.

Linda pales. "Don't worry Mom. The teacher has a web site with a study guide. I can review it myself."

And the best part?  Linda adds, "Can I get you a glass of wine?"

Those Japanese are stinkin' geniuses.


  1. LOL, you must subscribe to the Harriet Carter catalogue--Japanese version.

  2. LOL - altho I just say, let 'em get an F - the threat of repeating a grade seems to work pretty good as incentive!!