Friday, May 27, 2011
3 times the uncharm
So there's this unspoken rule around our house.
Well, nowadays, we do actually speak it, because small children don't pick up on social cues.
It's called The Never Ask Mommy the Same Thing Three Times or She'll Punish You Rule.
See, I hate repeating myself. Hate. It. For some reason, it just really eats up all of my already lacking patience. Dr. Krog has learned over the years that if you have to ask me something three times, it's generally not worth finding it out.
Because if you have to ask a third time, I'm going to enunciate the words clearly and slowly in a way meant to make you feel like a moron.
I'M SORRY. IT'S A PERSONAL FLAW.
So Dr. Krog gets it. If he has to ask a third time, he stops, looks at me like a wounded fawn, and says, "Please don't be angry with me. I want to hear you and understand you, but there's a chainsaw-wielding maniac behind me. Would you please be so kind and beautiful as to tell me just one more time?"
Or something like that.
But kids? They so don't get it. They ask the same things over and over and over again. The same things that should be obvious. And I know they can't help it, that it's how they learn. But it uses up every ounce of brain energy and compassion that I have.
biscuit: Mommy, is Nina my mommy?
me: No, buddy. I'm your mommy, which is why you call me "Mommy." Nina is your grandmother. She's *my* mommy.
biscuit: So is Big Ben her baby?
me: No. I'm her baby.
biscuit: So is Mimi your mommy?
me: No. Nina is my mommy. Big Ben is my daddy. Mimi is Big Ben's mommy. Mimi is my grandmother and your great-grandmother.
biscuit: So that makes Nina my mommy!
me: ::headdesk:: Dude, we went over this yesterday. I made you a family tree, complete with identifying stick figures. It's hanging on the fridge. Nina is not your mommy.
biscuit: I'd really like some ice cream.
biscuit: PRETTY PLEASE?
Still, I'm better than I used to be. One time in college, the guy I was dating saw me snap at some annoying kids at a playground, and he asked me, "Is that how you're going to treat our kids?"
My first reaction was JEEZ, ASSUME MUCH? And my second reaction was GOD, I HOPE NOT. When I catch myself growling at my kids or grinding my teeth on the fourth repeat of Why We Can't Eat Ice Cream for Every Meal, I think about that moment, about how at 22, a guy who didn't understand me that well could see that I was going to have challenges as a mother.
And I do. I want to be kinder. I want to have more patience, more compassion. By bedtime, I'm so annoyed with other human beings that if I saw someone drowning, I'd probably tell them to shut up and quit thrashing around.
It's a daily struggle, and I see other mothers with this infinite supply of patience and get so, so jealous.
But you know what?
There's no pithy lesson here.
I just wish I was a better, kinder, more patient person.