I wish I could be that mother with all the patience in the world. You know the one. She smiles sweetly while her child screams. She bends down and looks her child directly in the eye and says, “Honey, it makes you very mad when you can’t have ice cream for breakfast, doesn’t it?”
Her child nods between sobs.
“And you wish you could have ice cream every morning, don’t you?”
“Uh, huh…” (sniffle, sniffle)
“But you understand that we can’t have ice cream for breakfast, don’t you?”
No more crying.
Mommy reaches down, takes her child’s hand and goes on her way.
Here is the equivalent scenario in our life:
“C,” I say, in a low hiss. “Stop crying please.”
Crying gets louder. Wailing starts. “BUT I WANT ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST!”
C collapses to the floor clutching her head. Wailing continues.
I stare down at her. My mind goes blank.
“Stop. Crying. NOW.” My hissing is sounding mildly hysterical now.
No response. Wailing gets louder.
I grab her arm (fighting urge to squeeze). “Let’s go. You are NOT having ice cream for breakfast.”
She prostrates herself.
Everyone in the [insert location here – most likely to be a library, church or nice restaurant] is looking at us.
“I’m going to count to three,” I say. “And when I get to three so help me…I’m going to…” DEEP BREATH.
“You will lose [insert alleged punishment].”
This just makes things worse as now she is not getting ice cream for breakfast and is about to lose something else she wants. Wailing reaches a crescendo.
I grab her bodily and walk out. Echo of wailing remains behind us. Disapproving eyes follow us.
This is usually when I remember something I read about getting down on her level.
“C,” I say. “You are being mean. I don’t like you when you are like this.” (yes, I have now resorted to being a 3 year old as well.)
Yup, not mother of the year. Patience is not my virtue.
It is in these moments when I wonder how I will do this in Africa, or China, or Mexico.
My Pinterest page is FULL of *ideas* for fun and educational things to do with kids – my kid in particular, but really, do I have the patience to do these things? To spend my days overseas making “Frozen Slime“? I truthfully don’t know.
Days like today, spent trekking across D.C. on the Metro from brunch with friends, to the American Girl store birthday party of my niece L, and back home (33 Metro stops in total), losing patience slowly, but surely, all day with C’s whining, not listening, demanding little self. Feeling even worse by virtue of the fact that I heard this morning of a young mother in Charlotte who, along with her 3 year old, were killed last week literally just sitting at a stop sign. Wondering why it is I can’t revel even in the annoyances of my lovely, fabulous, beautiful, brilliant, LIVE child.
I KNOW – deep in my heart and with no hesitation – just how incredibly lucky I was today to eat a wonderful meal with friends and see my niece’s joy as she picked out her new doll, and to do all of that with C by my side, but sometimes the knowing isn’t enough to keep the edge of annoyance out of my voice. I wish it was.
These, clearly, will be the trials of my future. And these are the trials I need to win more than any that have come before.