A while ago, the dad of the house lost his cool with Jude.
Jude is particularly sensitive to raised voices, and although we know it's ideal to be calm and reasonable, we don't always manage that. Daddy raised his voice, and I watched from the sidelines, wanting to step in, but torn between presenting a "united front" and jumping to my child's defense.
When my husband raises his voice, it triggers an old terror in me. Don't get me wrong; our dad never laid a hand on us; he never had to. His raised voice and steely stare were enough to convince us that there would be hell to pay if we didn't do what we were told, and NOW!
When I raise my voice, it is usually with complete exasperation. The kids barely blink. But when my husband raises his voice, it cuts them to the quick.
It turns out, Jude doesn't need me to explain to my husband how his "mad voice" affects the kids. After the storm had subsided, Jude went to his desk to create this:
Jude loves to draw this "not allowed" circle-with-a-line-through-it symbols. He put them to good use here, eloquently illustrating his very tall father leaning over him with a mad face. He makes it clear that this is NOT ALLOWED.
Also not allowed: telling Jude to STOP with a mad face on.
This is the part of the picture that spoke most clearly and spurred my husband to work harder at keeping his cool: a self-portrait of the artist, his ears enlarged as if to say, "I can HEAR you and it hurts my ears (and my spirit) when you shout at me".
No parenting guru could have conveyed the message more clearly. I may take to drawing pictures to express my feelings, too, although I doubt I could capture the simplicity and eloquence of Jude's.