“I would not look upon anger as something foreign to me that I have to fight... I have to deal with my anger with care, with love, with tenderness, with nonviolence.” - Thích Nhất Hạnh, Being Peace
When Maeve is really on top of her game, she likes warn me ahead of time when she thinks her news is going to make me mad. She will approach me solemnly, look up, and say, "Now Mommy, don't yell, but I have a poop in my panties." What is maddening to me about the whole thing is, it works. When she prefaces her news with a don't be mad or a don't yell, I somehow feel obliged not to. I think what it accomplishes is a sort of warning shot to my limbic system which, once disarmed, doesn't engage in the heat of the moment.
It's possible that she knows that this works, and is using it more often, but that's oddly okay with me, even though I feel kind of manipulated by the whole thing. What it lets me do, really, is use my words like a grownup and explain to her that, for example, cleaning up poop doesn't make me angry, it's just yucky and I don't like doing it, and I want her to really act like a big girl and do her business in the potty.
Darned if the child doesn't have me trained. I wish it worked on her. She often gets mad just at my mention of the possibility that she might be. No, I use other disarming tricks on her. We figured out one just last night: a silly nonsense word spoken in the heat of the moment. Giggles all around.