Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Practicing patience

When we moved to Ross River, our new neighbours were a delightful family of six who taught us, among other things, the value of patience. I never once saw either parent lose their cool, even when the mama had a violent stomach flu and dad was out of town and it was winter and the kids were cooped up with cabin fever. A house with four kids is bound to be busy and zany and wild, and the parents oversaw their family with pride, a quick rolling of the eyes sometimes, and lots of hugs and tickles. The mama and I shared many cups of tea and had some really good, raw heart-to-heart talks. She oversaw the beginning of my pregnancy with Abby and imparted a whole bunch of wisdom, both through her stories and her mothering style. I really think we met them at the perfect moment in our lives, because we gained such a balanced and grounded perspective on effective parenting as we prepared to jump into it ourselves. I love when you meet people at the exact right time, don't you?
They moved from Ross River and a year and a bit later so did we, but we kept in touch. Abby has grown and tested my patience. When reflecting on how I can handle the terrible twos in a more harmonious way, I very often catch myself asking, "What would N______ do?" I've seen her with her own toddlers and she experienced the very same frustrations I do now, with the added capacity to keep nurturing her older children.
This week Abby's taken terrible two tantrums up a notch, and it's left me feeling silly for wanting a bigger family. Like, how can I handle more when I'm not even sure what to do with the writhing, red-faced crying little body on the floor? Of course, I often think of my mama friend. She has now five kids and their family is just flourishing. It's inspiring.
And so (I know it's taken me awhile to get to the point here, but it's my blog! so there!), I am learning to add a bunch more patience to my house. Well, to me in my house. I could use more, in most facets of my life. Definitely more patience with Abby. Patience with Christmas baking that doesn't turn out. Patience while I wait and see when and if our family will grow. Patience with Goober the cat who keeps trying to rip open the parcels under the Christmas tree. Patience all around. Any tips?

4 comments:

  1. Some days, it's so easy to take a deep breath and smile. Other days, that's darned near impossible. Make sure you're also patient with yourself when you realize you're not perfect. :)

    My child development expert friend recommends "1-2-3 Magic" for dealing with tantrums. We've all heard the moms that say, "I'm counting to three", but this book presents the logic that goes with it. It really is magic!

    BTW, don't feel you need to make excuses. This IS your blog and in no way did this post seem too long until I got to that line and wondered, "Was this post too long?" (No.)

    Also -- "I love when you meet people at the exact right time, don't you?" Yes! I have two friends who sound like your N. While I will admit to secretly feeling relieved when I FINALLY saw one of them lose her patience ONCE, overall, they are both huge inspirations.

    And finally, since you're musical... sing! Sometimes when I think I'm completely at the end of my rope, I start singing something totally random and unrelated and, hunh, we're ALL distracted, and, oh look, there's some more rope. :)

    And if none of that works... there's always silk jammies and wool comforters to turn to, right?

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  2. I'm liking Fawn's advice... and your take on patience Sarah.

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  3. Fawn gives the best advice out there!

    I love when someone comes into your life and passes on wisdom exactly when you need it the most. And since I know that mama you are talking about, I know that you were getting some pretty impressive wisdom passed along! I wish she was my neighbour!

    I find myself losing patience with the boys all too often. Sometimes I just have to walk away from them for a minute, compose myself and then head back into the war zone.

    And I really love watching you with Abby when she has a melt down! You don't get yourself worked up about it- you just seem to let her do her thing knowing that she will calm down eventually. I think you are a fantastic mama on the right track. :)

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  4. Thanks mamas :) It's nice to hear and I like the ideas!

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