Tricks for controlling temper in the moment - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 114 Old 02-26-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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There was an article on Yahoo a few weeks ago about this. A few of the things they touched on really made me reassess some of the assumptions I'd been making about my temper. And so you know, I am a slow to anger, but suddenly violent temper kind of person.

1) "Temper is genetic/hereditary" - they mentioned that this and the "redhead" concept are perceptions only. There is no proof that temper is something you just have... which means it is learned. This information brought up two thoughts for me: a) the genetic thing is really just a justification/excuse, that serves to minimize the amount of control/responsibility I have to take for my behavior ; and b) temper is more of a habit then a characteristic... and habits can be unlearned. So, after my initial guilt about the first, I realized the second meant I had the power to change. I am currently instituting a plan for breaking the "temper habit".

2) "Count to 10" - as many previous posters mentioned, this just plain don't work for a lot of people. Also, as many have brought up, it is better to throw in a diffuser... and humor is fabulous for that. One thing suggested was to have a funny phrase that you pull out just for these situations. One I really liked was saying something like, "this is a doo-doo situation". The same thing using cuss words would perpetuate the emotions, but throwing in a child-like substitute can be so ludicrous that it makes you smile/giggle.
I actually have used this when I saw a friend of mine getting in a temper. Told him that the person he was mad at was a doody-head. You can't stay mad when an intelligent adult says something like that.

3) "Release your temper in an appropriate manner" - again, something that pp's have touched on. It just perpetuates the situation. Instead, find a way to step away from the anger. Something that I've noticed works for me is to take out the trash or empty the dishwasher. During that time, if I think of the situation, I make myself look at how it's MY fault... what I could have done differently, etc. By the time I get back to the situation, I am more willing to see the other person's perspective, and even how to prevent future occurrences.

I really wish I could have found the specific article, but it has disappeared into the inter-ether. I hope my ramblings can help someone with their own temper.

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#92 of 114 Old 02-26-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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Singing is helpful to me when my older DD is continuing to whine/moan/wail about something that has been explained and is not going to change.

Also, picking up a book or magazine for just a few minutes can snap me out of it. As can stepping outside, just for a moment.

Sometimes I call a trusted friend.

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#93 of 114 Old 02-27-2010, 01:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Wolfcat View Post
There was an article on Yahoo a few weeks ago about this. A few of the things they touched on really made me reassess some of the assumptions I'd been making about my temper. And so you know, I am a slow to anger, but suddenly violent temper kind of person.

1) "Temper is genetic/hereditary" - they mentioned that this and the "redhead" concept are perceptions only. There is no proof that temper is something you just have... which means it is learned. This information brought up two thoughts for me: a) the genetic thing is really just a justification/excuse, that serves to minimize the amount of control/responsibility I have to take for my behavior ; and b) temper is more of a habit then a characteristic... and habits can be unlearned. So, after my initial guilt about the first, I realized the second meant I had the power to change. I am currently instituting a plan for breaking the "temper habit".

2) "Count to 10" - as many previous posters mentioned, this just plain don't work for a lot of people. Also, as many have brought up, it is better to throw in a diffuser... and humor is fabulous for that. One thing suggested was to have a funny phrase that you pull out just for these situations. One I really liked was saying something like, "this is a doo-doo situation". The same thing using cuss words would perpetuate the emotions, but throwing in a child-like substitute can be so ludicrous that it makes you smile/giggle.
I actually have used this when I saw a friend of mine getting in a temper. Told him that the person he was mad at was a doody-head. You can't stay mad when an intelligent adult says something like that.

3) "Release your temper in an appropriate manner" - again, something that pp's have touched on. It just perpetuates the situation. Instead, find a way to step away from the anger. Something that I've noticed works for me is to take out the trash or empty the dishwasher. During that time, if I think of the situation, I make myself look at how it's MY fault... what I could have done differently, etc. By the time I get back to the situation, I am more willing to see the other person's perspective, and even how to prevent future occurrences.

I really wish I could have found the specific article, but it has disappeared into the inter-ether. I hope my ramblings can help someone with their own temper.
Thanks for sharing your musings, and the article they were inspired by...
I especially like the saying a funny/child-like phrase thing. I can see that working for me! Will be trying that one next time...


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#94 of 114 Old 03-01-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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Thank you for all your helpful posts. Now it is time I stop reading this thread when I am calm ... I will print out some of these posts and stick them under my nose next time I'm about to "lose it". Thank you for all this brilliance you're sharing.
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#95 of 114 Old 03-01-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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Does anyone have any specific tips for dealing with rage during bedtime/night wakings? My DD is still so young and for some reason I'm pretty much able to keep it together and be gentle during the day (I see her behavior as age appropriate and can deal), but once bedtime hits I just can't deal with her fighting sleep and waking up so often. It's not like I can walk away from the bed in the middle of the night to take 10 deep breaths, and being partially asleep and desperate for sleep makes everything seem worse.
No quick fixes here but just a "been there done that". Night waking has been a big trigger and led to my worst behavior w/ DD. It's not a problem now but when she was 1.5-2.5 it was a big one. Thank goodness for my very patient partner who could calm her at night (most of the time). For a long time she only wanted me but finally seemed to get it that Papa was much better to be with at night.
I have many tools to use in difficult situations including NVC (non-violent communication), Aldort's SALVE techniques, calming meditations, etc. But in the middle of the night all these seemingly fly out the window.
My other big trigger is when I'm caring for a group of children (I work w/ kids) and my own is being aggressive with the other children. My reaction to her is NOTHING like how I react to the other kids when they do the same things. My anger is quick and ferocious to try to stop her from being rough with them. And then I'm filled with remorse and feel like I don't even deserve to be her parent. Neither the anger or the remorse does her any good.
I am someone who is usually very calm and measured and I know other parents think I must always be that way. I wonder if there are any parents who don't occasionally yell like lunatics at their kids and handle them a bit roughly. I'm sure there must be a few.

It's sad that I am able to treat other's children so much more gently than my own. My expectations of her seem to be so much higher and I guess my own ego is too bound up in her behavior.
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#96 of 114 Old 03-02-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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Two things that I read on MDC long ago that I still use....

1) I remind myself that whomever I'm mad at, is only a child... so, for example DS1, "He's only a little 6 year old boy."
2) I ask myself, "What would a good Mom do?"

Somehow, those two things seem to help. Not all the time... but a lot.

Just remembered one more thing..

Another thing one person told me is to pretend that my child is a stranger. You would never (well, probably never) hit or yell at a stranger's kid. You'd somehow deal with it... leave... do something. So if nothing else helps, pretend that it's not your kid.



Oh, and recently I've been doing Bodhipaksa's 3 minute breathing meditation. I downloaded it on his site for maybe $4.00 (others too).... and I just go into my room, turn it on, and calm down. Sometimes I tell the kids (especially if they're fighting) to separate...one in one area, one in the other... until I come back. Other times, I just let the chaos continue while I leave.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#97 of 114 Old 03-03-2010, 12:55 AM
 
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Soooo nice to have a thread like this. I had actually stopped coming to MDC for a while because I felt like I just couldn't be the "perfect" mother everyone else here seemed to be. I don't have any suggestions (today at least, it's been a rough couple weeks), but I have gathered many good ideas. So thanks, mamas, for letting some of the darker parts of parenting be known here. I think we all need it.

Sarah , wife to Tyson :, SAHM to Landon (5), Coleson (3), and new baby boy due any day!

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#98 of 114 Old 03-03-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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I really need this thread too.

I have started yelling. Although mostly at the pets. But DS sees me loosing my temper and really yelling at the pets. This is usually when I am trying to get DS to sleep and they start meowing (cat) or whining (dog) which gets DS up and standing in bed ready to play with them. As in he is lying quietly with eyes closed and suddenly up and jumping on the bed. This seriously pushes my buttons.
yup. the dog comes in, shakes her head, startles drowsy DS. The cat meows, ds gets all excited. What i've been doing about it: locking the pets out of the room while I'm settling ds into bed. It's far easier than getting mad.

When ds has trouble falling asleep, I often notice I was tense to begin with. Ds is 10 mos. If i nurse him before bed & do a meditative breathing exercise at the same time, he's passed out within 5 minutes usually. I used to get so mad about not falling asleep like a 'normal' baby (heh...yea...). I would tense up in advance of bedtime. So I'd be all buzzing with tenseness by bedtime, which led to ds not being able to relax - and who can blame him? What has also helped us is dh takes ds after bath to read/play/feed the pets while I get our room ready for bed, clean up from bath, do whatever needs to be done upstairs. Then I've had a fresh break right before bed, so I have a better chance at being calm.

Only a bed time solution... Or is it? If bed time goes smoothly, then we all get better rest and the next day is much more likely to go smoothly.

----

One trigger for me: not drinking enough water during the day. I get cranky. I start cravings sweets. What I really need is to not be dehydrated.

Also, both ds & I have to be outside some portion of the day. Nature recharges both of us it seems. Spring can't get here fast enough.
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#99 of 114 Old 03-04-2010, 03:38 AM
 
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I am realizing that I absolutely HAVE TO take the kids and get out, and away from my mom who we live with, for some portion of the day. And get out myself sometimes.

We joined the Y and it is PHENOMENAL at reducing the amount of 'moments' we are having. It gives us *all* exercise, the kids *love* the childspace (I don't take the baby, he would not happily stay there without me) and we happily reconnect and I hear about what they did.

I am about to try some creative ideas for when DD is at her hardest--she dropped her nap but still NEEDS It some days. I'll let you know what actually helps. (Me trying to put her in a time-out only escalates the situation. Spanking is obviously not an option. I don't really have privileges to take away as punishment. So *something* else has got to work--maybe a whole paradigm shift...we shall see. Watch for a post.)

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#100 of 114 Old 03-05-2010, 06:55 AM
 
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#101 of 114 Old 03-05-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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Oh what a great thread! I echo the others here who say they often feel out of place at MDC because there is little gentleness in those moments. I can sometimes be a complete tyrant - going on and on about something to the point where afterwards I wonder "if verbal abuse is worse than physical abuse like some will say, it probably would have been better if I'd hit them." Now, of course I know neither is right, (and truth be told, as a child of physical abuse it never came without the other so I can't say which is worse either), but in those moments, you'd think there was nothing more important in the history of the world than me getting those kids to do just as I said. Geez. I hate that I'm here and hate that we all have to be here, but I'm glad to know we can recognize it and work on it. Yeah counting to 10 or 1 billion wouldn't make a difference for me. No way, no how.

I know I yell more and louder because I feel this physical need to do something and in order to not do something (like break, smash or hit someone) I get louder to overrule that side. Well someone here suggested they do pushups to get that urge out and I think I'm going to try that. I need the physical thrust, and truly I am really bad at pushups, so I will try this.

I also like the idea of suddenly whispering. That stirs things up a bit, I"m sure. I bet it would work with the girls.

One thing I used to do with my oldest DSD and now am realizing I need to do with DSS is shift it into humor. Like take whatever it is that they're saying/doing that's ticking me off so much and flip it on it's ear and laugh my way out of it. That was golden with the oldest. Worked. every. time. And we had some really rough times. I need to remember it with DSS, he's 10 now and starting into that territory of just doing enough to sort of but not, but really actually cross a line, but then responding with the mock-innocent "what did I say/do" because he didn't exactly say/do anything, but was there on the threshold or did just enough to do such a thing without doing it. Nothing ticks me off more than that, and I react to that stuff the most strongly. So I have to remember to flip on it's ear. Seriously, if I could do a headstand to remind myself, I would.

Thank you mommas for this thread. And keep the ideas coming.

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#102 of 114 Old 03-07-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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Great thread, just adding another great book to the growing list:

Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner

Gotta reread it myself, but her point is the anger isn't bad, but most of the ways we have been taught as women to deal with that anger is not helpful or productive.
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#103 of 114 Old 03-08-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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This was me last Tuesday. That is the night that DH works late so it is all up to me to put our 23 month old DD to bed. I'm so fortunate to have a supportive and great dad in my DH and to have a typically sweet tempered LO. But I've had this cold/cough since December and hate my job and am worried daily about our finances. So, keeping that in mind, I try to remain calm when I'm seething inside. DD last week started waking up as soon as we put her in her crib after nursing at night. 8pm bedtime is now about 10pm. 8pm is my time, our time to do whatever. So, I could feel my tension building even as I went to lay her down 'cause I knew she wouldn't stay down. I immediately used my very firm voice and ended up yelling and walking out twice as she crawled out of her crib, screaming for mommy. I finally roughly picked her up and brought her downstairs. I told her "if you wont' sleep, then I won't hold you and you have to just sit there and not play". And she did. And that broke my heart. She never just sits there. I was thinking that I scared her or confused her to the point of immobility. I sat there and calmed down and picked her up and said I was so sorry for yelling at her and being rough. She said sorry mommy, sorry mommy. I told her she had nothing to be sorry for and that just because she wants to be with me and not alone is no reason for her to be sorry. I asked her if she was scared when I yelled. She said "yes". From the start I should have just taken her downstairs with me till I finished what I needed to and then brought her to bed with me till she fell asleep. Which is what we have had to do this past week until we can transfer her to her crib. But in the moment of rage? It feels good to get it out. I hate that it feels good. Right after it sure doesn't.

I think visualizing how she and I will feel, think and react is key to staying calm. I didn't do this that night. I am glad that I was able to hug her and apologize and ask how she felt. My mother yelled a lot and terrified me sometimes. She never never apologized. She never asked how I felt. Even if my DD doesn't quite get what I'm saying. I think she understands the tone and my facial expression, so I know something is sinking in. We may do some damage but we need to see our responsibility in it and own up to it. Most of what our children do is for a very good reason...to them...or it's no reason at all...but I can't believe that they know they are pushing our buttons or testing or manipulating. I know once I start down that road, then I will yell and not apologize. I just can't afford to do that and neither can my daughter. Also, we just need to talk to other mothers, gently and honestly and forgive ourselves and remember those moments when we were the mother we always wanted to be.
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#104 of 114 Old 03-26-2010, 02:55 AM
 
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I don't know if this book has been mentioned in this thread. I bought it when DS was a newborn, and refound it. Buddhism for Mothers

I am not a Buddhist, however, I like the chapter on anger.

I have been continuing to get angry, although it is not as bad as it was. But I still feel like a failure each and every time, and wish I could honestly say that I have my anger under control.

So, in this book, the author discusses the Buddha's teaching on dealing with disturbing thoughts (which precede the disturbing behaviour). Once you have identified the disturbing thoughts, there are 5 options he gives.

Dwell on the positive - consider the positives about the person/situation with whom you are angry

Consider the results of our thoughts - what it will look like after you have 'given in' to your anger (the shame remorse etc)

Distract ourselves - plan something in your head (holiday, meal, outing), read a book/magazine/exercise/whatever works for you

Consider the alternatives - Is there another way to see the situation? Use humour? Why does this specifically make me so angry?

Use our willpower - this is the one I try to rely on the most, and I can't. It doesn't work for me, especially if I am LIVID.

This is a rather cognitive approach to managing anger, and I know there are people who love cognitive psychology. I am not the hugest fan, but reading this, I at least felt I had some tools for 'in the moment'. I think I am going to write up the bolded part to put on my fridge to remind me when I start loosing my cool that there are other options.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
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#105 of 114 Old 03-27-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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Subbing.

This is just the thread I need right now. Lately I have had a few times of totally losing my cool with my DC and I have felt awful about it.

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#106 of 114 Old 03-28-2010, 01:21 AM
 
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Buddhism for Mothers

So, in this book, the author discusses the Buddha's teaching on dealing with disturbing thoughts (which precede the disturbing behaviour). Once you have identified the disturbing thoughts, there are 5 options he gives.

Dwell on the positive - consider the positives about the person/situation with whom you are angry

Consider the results of our thoughts - what it will look like after you have 'given in' to your anger (the shame remorse etc)

Distract ourselves - plan something in your head (holiday, meal, outing), read a book/magazine/exercise/whatever works for you

Consider the alternatives - Is there another way to see the situation? Use humour? Why does this specifically make me so angry?

Use our willpower - this is the one I try to rely on the most, and I can't. It doesn't work for me, especially if I am LIVID.

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

My big anger trigger lately has been DH yelling at the kids. He yells at them, and then I yell at him. *Sigh*

I think as a society we're not allowed healthy expressions of emotion. And worse, we're taught that some emotions are bad. Anger itself is not bad. The behaviors we choose to use to express it may be bad (hitting, etc). Maybe if we could find healthy/harmless ways to express our anger it wouldn't bottle up? I don't know what that would even look like -- and it'd probably be different for everyone. Painting? Dance? Primal screams? I don't know.

Something I read by Eckhart Tolle yesterday got me thinking -- haven't tried this yet, but what if instead of saying "I am Angry" we said "I have anger"? Maybe once we identify with the anger and claim it as part of our identity it's harder to part with? Maybe if we can observe it inside us and watch it get spent harmlessly (somehow?) it would be easier to release? Tolle says we are not our thoughts and emotions. We are the awareness of our thoughts and emotions.

Still not sure what to do when Hubby yells at the kids. I know that me yelling at him just reinforces that it's OK to yell. *sigh*

Learning & growing & changing everyday!
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#107 of 114 Old 04-02-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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I too am coping with anger. It comes and goes. Here's how I try to deal with it:

- Reflect on where my anger comes from. This, for me, is trying not to repeat how my mother dealt with us. She seemed a very angry, fragile kind of woman who was like a powder keg about to go off. She rarely did, but I learned how to tiptoe around her. I do not want to repeat this. Reflecting on anger issues is an ongoing journey.

- Learning how to express my anger in an appropriate way.

- Yoga practice.

- Louise Hay kind of stuff: there is an infinite well of patience and love within me, which I can tap into at all times.

- Always going back to the 'now' and realizing that I have a choice: be angry or be loving. New age kind of knowledge that you cannot hold two vibrations at the same time and that what you emit, will return to you manifold.

- Deflection: right away doing something different. Again, this has to do a lot with learning to be in the now and learning that I have agency over my emotions. (As in, I am not my emotions).

- Relativising: is this really something that I want to get angry over.

- Modeling: do I want to model anger? The answer is NO.

- Picturing my child as a tiny baby, sweet, cuddly, all love.

- Forgive myself for getting angry, and ask for forgiveness (or explain why I got angry).

Anger can stay with me for a long, long time, and it is a learning journey not to choose anger and its consequences. It's hard, but I work on it lots because it is so important.

I was sad and shocked, the first time my child seemed scared of me. It really gave me a reality check. Geez, that is not how I want our relationship to be.
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#108 of 114 Old 05-12-2010, 06:15 PM
 
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This is a wonderful thread! Thanks to OP for posting and all of the helpful replies!

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#109 of 114 Old 05-12-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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One thing that has helped me recently is equating my anger to my daughter's tantrums. When she throws tantrums, I want her to learn how to express her emotions in a better way. So lately, when I start to seethe and get on edge, I will actually say

"Uh oh! Mommy's starting to get really angry. I really need cooperation or a minute alone."

And it really helps me. Sometimes she does cooperate. Sometimes I just walk away and come back minutely refreshed.

I'm allowed to be angry too! But just like DD--it's not ok to be verbally abusive, or use angry hands, or slam doors...talk about it, take a walk, take a minute all those things help me get a grip.
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#110 of 114 Old 08-24-2011, 07:12 PM
 
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subbing to this


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#111 of 114 Old 08-24-2011, 09:22 PM
 
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subbing also. I so need this right now.nut.gif


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#112 of 114 Old 08-24-2011, 09:54 PM
 
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THanks for this thread.  I have lost it and actually spanked DD1 several times and I just am so angry at myself.  I found lots of great ideas on how to distract her and myself.

 

Thank you


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#113 of 114 Old 08-25-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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subbing- another short temper mommy redface.gif

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#114 of 114 Old 08-25-2011, 06:52 PM
 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnLk1dJf7JY&feature=related  the kids saw this on facebook one day and thought it was hilariouswhistling.gif  Every so often I sing this except 'spank somebody's butt' and we crack up and the moment is over


><> Mom to superhero.gif (6) hearts.gif (4) energy.gif (2) and baby.gif (born March!)
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