Thursday, March 6, 2008


There is really no way to survive raising small children without developing a reserve of patience. In my natural habitat, I'm the kind of person who isn't great at lounging around or sitting still. I talk and move fast, and that's not just because I love coffee. I might have some admirable qualities but great reserves of patience is not one of them.

When we first brought the girls home the bulk of my time was spent nursing them on the couch or in the rocking chair, living in this time-melding zone where morning ran into day ran into night ran into the deep dark middle of the night ran into very early morning and so on...
Having the patience to sit for long stretches of time was an acquired skill, but lounging around was my only real option.

Now that the girls are toddlers, I don't sit at all, but I definitely don't move quickly from point A to point B either. Instead, I'm on toddler time: slow, then very fast, then slow again, zigzagging all over the place and stopping abruptly to look at a crack in the floor. My back will be breaking from holding Hannah on one hip while bending down to grab Isabelle's hand and help her climb the stairs as she pauses every other second to pick up a piece of lint, say hi to the dog, or look up to ask me a question. I'll be fantasizing about the shower I want to take after I finally get them down for a nap. And then Isabelle will drop her stuffed puppy on the bottom stair and we (Hannah, Isabelle and I) all have to go all the way back down the stairs to get it. And I will just sigh and be patient.

Most days, I move through time without thinking too much about how I have altered my inborn "impatience" DNA . I just do it. There's really no other way. But yesterday, I was struggling to get the girls ready for music class. Isabelle insisted on putting on her boots but whined when she couldn't get them on the right way. Hannah pulled off her hat every time I put it on her head. The dog was circling around and getting in the way because she thought she might be going for a walk. I pulled Isabelle onto my lap to help her, and at that same time she decided to throw the ball she had in her hands. Instead of throwing it out in front of her, she threw it up. Into my face. And it really hurt.

At that moment, I realized how tenuous a hold on patience I really have.


mom said...

Beautiful post, twinmama. Yes. yes. yes. My own patience is powerfully tied to my mood -- I can be quite patient when I'm in the right mood, but when I'm overwraught I have a disappointingly short fuse that I just hate/am embarrassed of...

And, sista - I hear you on the whack. I have been clocked (in particular with the kids' HEADS) in the face so many times, I can hardly believe I haven't had a broken nose.

melissa said...

it seems you have read my mind!! i have had these thoughts often in the past few weeks. as our twin boys become mobile, i wonder how i will get anything done, as i am constantly following them around (in two different directions)to make sure they don't get into too much trouble! all i can do is take a VERY deep breath :)