I haven't had a lot of patience lately. I find myself saying "Ben!" in a very loud voice far too often. Sometimes it's because I am trying to get his attention (have you ever tried to get the attention of a toddler boy? It's really hard!) and sometimes it's because I am completely frustrated that he continues to do whatever moves him no matter how many times I say "No!" "No, NO!". I have been feeling guilty because I don't want to be a yelling momma. For one thing, I know that yelling is pointless, it gets no more result than if I hopped up and down on one foot or started speaking French. But moreover, I have always imagined myself to be the sort of mom who can model the behavior she would like to see and yelling is not something I'd like to see from my tot (not that he doesn't already do it).
So, I have been trying hard to say things to myself like "He's only two" and to find the joy in the moment rather than the frustration at what appears to be disobedience (and is more likely just a really short attention span). I have also really been praying for patience. My mother-in-law tells me never to pray for patience because then God will give you the trials to help you develop patience! She's probably right, but I do it anyway.
Today, I think it worked! Benjamin was no more or less squirrelly than he usually is, but I found myself able to take a breath and speak calmly to him or just intervene rather than shouting to get his attention. Only on one occasion did I have to raise my voice and it was when he was trying to run from me in the parking lot (in my defense, I think my anxiety took over at that point). After we finished lunch, he started his usual tirade "No nap! No nap! Play cars!" and began crying and kicking not wanting to go upstairs. He even did what I like to call "the noodle impression" where he went all limp and refused to move from the spot on the floor. (Toddlers would make great professional protesters, wouldn't they?) I simply picked him up and carried him upstairs. He cried and sobbed the whole time I changed his diaper, read his book, and rocked him. I didn't get angry or upset. I rubbed his back and said "I know it's hard when you don't get to do what you want to do. That's hard for mommy too". Then we just rocked while he whimpered a bit. Until he stopped whimpering and started sleeping!
I can't tell you how long it has been since my toddler has fallen asleep on me. Months, I would imagine. Today is probably the last time it will happen given his propensity for babble (can't imagine where he gets that from) and lack of desire to relax on his momma. If I had lost my temper, screamed at him to hurry up the stairs or become irate at his ongoing fit before nap, I might not have had this last snuggle. Lesson learned.
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