Patience it something I seriously lack. My sister and I had a heart to heart about it rather recently and believe we originally picked up this behavior from my father. We love him dearly but when we were kids, he was not the most patient parent.
I hate to say it but I sometimes totally lose my cool, usually over stupid small things and more so when I am short on sleep. Sometimes I'm driving and someone is being an ass, sometimes it's cans on the coffee table and other times it's the strong willed two year old. I've been trying to be more conscious about it, especially around Bear, in order to give myself a moment to stop, take a deep breath, count to four and decide how to handle the situation.
This week was hard. Bear has been waking up more times at night than ever, I just started a new job and our house is a disaster - not to mention I need to get my car inspected, switch banks and pay off some bills. Well today I totally lost it, Bear normally gets super cranky if I don't put him to nap at the absolute perfect time (about 25 minutes after lunch) on the weekends. He was out of control, hitting, rolling around on his bed and screaming. Every time I would tuck him in he'd throw the covers - i yelled. Which only made him more roudy, which made me more mad so I did the only thing I could think to do and left the room, sat on couch and proceeded to feel like the worst person ever.
How could I yell at such an innocent little being who only wants to spend more time with me and less time napping? Well then I had that little light go off - it's so obvious and even though it's crossed my mind a thousand times and I've said it to Daddy and I've said it to Nana it never really clicked exactly what I was doing. I am constantly reminding people that kids are monkey see monkey do - if you hit, they hit. If you eat junk food, they eat junk food. If I am impatient, HE will be impatient. If Bear yelled at me or anyone else, I would ask him to apologize.
I got my sulking self up off the couch, slowly opened his bedroom door, got right down at his level and this is how the conversation went:
Me: "I am sorry I yelled at you Bear. I got upset that you were not listening to me and forgot to stop, take a deep breath and count to four. Sometimes Mommy's make mistakes too.
(we saw this on Daniel Tiger and I have been teaching to do it too when he gets really worked up)
Bear: "Hug." he wraps his little arms around me and whispers: "It's ok Mommy."
Me: "I love you so much little Bear. Will you try to get some sleep now so we can have time to play outside?"
Bear: "Mhmmmm 'nother hug?"
One more hug, a kiss and then he went down for nap. I still feel like a huge jerk, he forgave me so quickly.
Moral of the story, learn from my mistake. Keep your cool and if you need to just step away. Toddlers are complex little beings and it seems like they outsmart you every. single. time. Remember that your children are your gift to the world, teach them how to be patient, respectful, humble, compassionate, forgiving, loving and teach them how to not only learn but to be teachers themselves. What better way than through example?