Our “big middle” son (6 years) can scream like you wouldn’t believe. If his brothers aggravate him or take something from him, he’ll let out a banshee yell so loud it makes your ears ring. I used to bristle every time I heard it, and race to discover what could have prompted such a response in one so young. Invariably, I’d find him in tears with fists at the ready, trying to avenge his honor. At times he’s been the hapless victim, but more often than not he’s suffering a reprisal from a victimized brother. Regardless, he’s usually the one who loses it and yells loud enough to peel the paint off our walls.
Lately, I’ve found myself ignoring these blood-curdling shrieks. With four boys around, there is always drama of one sort or another. I’m a firm believer in letting the boys work it out for themselves. I rarely intervene in their disputes until somebody seeks me out, at which time I offer sympathy and a kiss. Of course, this approach doesn’t work when one of the kids is in imminent danger of being pummeled by his brother. In such a case, I try to separate the warring parties until they calm down. Fortunately, our boys usually don’t hold a grudge. As long as they’re redirected for a while, they can usually reunite as the best of friends.
Beyond the banshee yells, our six year old also has a tendency to go “ultrasonic” (a term stolen from the sitcom Friends, where Ross uses it to describe his sister Monica’s shrill voice when she gets mad). Whenever this happens, his voice becomes utterly intolerable and incoherent. I usually tell him to take a deep breath and start over, which he does remarkably well. Between the banshee yells and going “ultrasonic” it’s a miracle I have any hearing left at all.