Patience is not my virtue. I am actually pretty notorious for being impatient, snappy, and an overall dickhead when I feel as though people are wasting my time with their stupidity. This is why it surprises everyone, including myself, that I have a seemingly unending well of patience for my child.
I was reading Lauren’s post on yelling, and it made me think about a few recent instances in which my kid has made me want to rip my hair out. They were your typical childhood situations: we were running late for school/work, and he just Couldn’t. Get. His. Damn. Shoes. On. Or, he lost at Candyland and threw a fit. Both times, I could feel my temperature rising. But neither time I yelled. Instead, I’ve found two things that work about 90% of the time: make one or both of you laugh, or just give him a hug until you feel your blood pressure lower.
In the case of the shoes, I was definitely getting snappy. “Cooper, come on. We’re late. You’re a big boy. Just get your shoes on! Let’s go let’s go let’s go!” He continued to meander, and I sat down on the stairs, threw my head back and said, “Cooper, I just cannot handle you right now.” For some reason, this struck him as funny, and he giggled and replied, “You can handle me, mommy!” And that’s all it took. The frustration went away, and I laughed at my ridiculous 4 1/2-year-old who couldn’t get his fat, sweaty feet into his shoes. Then I shoved those bad boys on and we went to school.
In the Candyland incident, it was the first time he lost and actually cared about losing. He threw himself back on the couch, his face turned red, and he started crying. “I want to win, I wanted to win!” You guys, he looked so stupid. It was Candyland, he barely knows how to count properly, and he was throwing a fit. So in that situation, I laughed at him (silently, as to not make him more angry), and scooped him up into my lap. I hugged him tight, rubbed his back, and told him whatever banal platitudes about gracefully losing I could think of. Then, as soon as he calmed down slightly, I tickled him to death. Tantrum over.
I’m not one for inspirational quotes, videos, or whatnot, but I recently had to attend an event for work that featured several speakers talking about their passions. Neil McNerney is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Tech, and gave what I consider to be an actually helpful talk about maintaining perspective and not losing your patience with your kids.
Or you could just take my general philosophy on patience: Children and adults are both idiots. The difference is adults should know better.