What happened to my patience?
I’m finding I keep asking myself that question a lot lately. I’m an extremely tolerant person who happens to pride herself with the ability to stay as cool as a cucumber.
I’ll never forget when a friend’s mom complimented me on my patience with my two year old following her baby shower. I was about four months pregnant, and I don’t even remember my daughter giving me a hard time at the party. I’m aware of when she’s being unruly, and I keep her under control. But I answered her every question, request, pondering and plea. Most times down at her level, and with poise.
She was my main focus, the center of my attention. For her, I have impeccable patience–Or use to. Since having a second child I’m finding less and less gentle responses to my children’s never-ending desires.
Maybe it’s because my daughter is now a threenager. That could be it. She’s a walking, talking ball of sass that seems to always have me on the verge of tears–either from laughter or anger. But another part of me feels like balancing TWO kids is what’s sending me over the edge. Let me explain…
First of all, I’m not sure what kind of alternate universe I’ve been in, but I pictured my two kids blissfully entertaining each other while I did things like used the bathroom in peace. Boy was I wrong! Now, the only difference is there are playmats, toys next and a baby crammed in with me, in addition to the preschooler making water experiments in the sink. Surely the quiet bathroom scene must come after three kids, right?
With one–Just my daughter–I was focused on her, all the time. My attention wasn’t divided nearly as much. If she needed to wait a few moments while I did something it usually wasn’t for long, and overall, I think I just had a little more energy back then.
(Lil J’s Top and Jeggings: Target; Bow and Bowtie: Amazing Grace Bowtique; Big T’s Top: JC Penny; Shorts: Thrifted)
Now with a little brother, she has to wait more often and her patience too, seems to be wearing thin. Sometimes she asks a dozen times before she gets what she wants (granted, it’s in the space of 60 seconds). Just yesterday morning she wailed in frustration because she wanted me to turn on a TV show for her. Her brother was in the other room with her dad, and I was just sitting with her, listening to her, I didn’t understand the hysterics.
“You don’t need to talk to me that way, that is not how you ask for something you want,” I explained, my composure still in tact. After all, it was only 8am.
She took a moment, accessing my expression (which was much more firm than my words) and apologized.
“Ok, I’ll try again,” she said. And she proceeded to do one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen her do.
As if she pushed a personal reset button, she turned to face a different direction “I’ll start over… I look this way,” she said away from me, rewinding the clock ten seconds in her mind. Then she turned to face me and started again slowly in a soft voice with puppy dog eyes “Mommy, can you please turn on Dora for me?”
I can’t get enough of moments like those (after the drama reboot), yet I feel like I’m missing some due to split attention.
Most nights I’m getting the kids in bed by myself. My current routine is so put Lil’ J to bed first, after her own set of stories, songs and prayer, then nurse her brother to sleep. But I’m thinking of reversing that to give us a little more one-on-one time.
I’m trying to carve out special big sister time, but Big T doesn’t have a regular nap time yet, so we’re still sorta playing it by ear. Thank goodness she loves her brother and doesn’t get jealous.
This may sound ridiculous, but when they’re both asleep, I find myself wondering why I ever lose it in the first place. I have a clear head, and get to hit my own “reboot” button as I watch them peacefully snooze. A few Zzzzs seems to put everything back in perspective.
So admittedly, I’m losing my temper, when before I could almost always keep it contained. I expect my daughter to know better because she can go to the bathroom by herself and speak in complete sentences–In English no less. But I also need to remember she’s three. Just six months ago she was the sole center of my world and now she’s sharing that spotlight with a little guy equally as wonderful. In the end, tantrums to tantrums, meltdowns to meltdowns, I’d say she’s handling it better than I am. But I’ll get there. I’ll learn, readjust, and hopefully soon I’ll be that mom again that gets people asking “How do you stay so calm?”