A few days ago, I was complemented on my patience. I laughed.
I arrived at the rink for skating lessons with two little girls in summer dresses and sandals. I asked them to change into leggings, a long-sleeved shirt and socks. I’ll just wear my dress on the ice, Mommy, was the response. Right. I eventually got them into their other clothes. Then I was met with resistance about tying up their skates. They wanted to do it themselves. Ok. Then came the request to go to a toy store after skating to buy them a new toy. Uh huh. The
demands requests and
battles continued, only pausing briefly for the 30-minute skating lesson.
After battling for about 20 minutes, another parent said, you’ve got a lot of patience, Mom! on his way out.
As anyone with toddlers knows, negotiating with them is like trying to negotiate with an extremely drunk person. There is sometimes no amount of reasoning or clever wording that can get through to them.
I get the term threenager now. Terrible twos had nothin’ on my threenagers. We are just weeks away from the girls’ forth birthday, and things are more challenging than ever. Intense tantrums seem to last forever. Fights happen over every little thing, even when I do pick my battles.
Patience has never been my strong suit. Admittedly, I move fast and like everything to move at my pace. It was a good lesson for me to slow down and let my babies, and then toddlers, do things for themselves. I understand the importance of teaching children autonomy. So, my patience was developed with a lot of self-talk – It doesn’t matter, You aren’t in a rush, Take a deep breath. You get the gist. This wasn’t even the hard part, I realize. Patience in dealing with two three, almost four year olds and their volatile behaviour is a completely different ball game. My girls know how to push each other’s buttons and do so often. There are days when the fighting seems endless. I’ve worked hard to stay calm and still encourage them to be independent and fight their own battles. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. I’ve worked hard to step back from the situation and take a breath first before I react. I’m never going to be a naturally patient person, but the occasional complement on my patience is a nice reminder that I’m trying hard.