August 3, 2011

wifley wednesday: struggles with patience

{Installment #2 on struggles: patience}

Here's the deal: Kid #1 is on the floor playing with a toy or something. Kid #2 is all of a sudden frantically hungry. So, naturally, I start nursing kid #2. So, naturally, kid #1 all of a sudden as a crisis and needs immediate attention. Only I've got kid #2 nursing with no end in sight - at least for the next 15 minutes. Kid #1 decides that in order to get my help she needs to get my attention - because asking for help isn't getting her the response she wants. Enter the whining. And the tears. With a side of shrieking as only a 22-month old can do. 

Patience? Is that what's flying out the window in a blur?

Of all the things in this world, whining is among the least desirable. It is also the thing that tries my patience faster than just about anything. 

Patience? Sure, I've got it in abundance - when my kids are behaving. And strangers are being nice. And traffic has a good flow. 

But what about those days when the kids just won't listen - because they can't hear you over the whining? And when strangers aren't very kind? Or when every driver on the road is working in cahoots to slow you down? Do you have patience then? 

I don't. 

When kid #2 was about 3 weeks old (about 2 weeks ago) I realized something very important: I'm now a mother of 2. No longer does Millie have me all to herself all day long, just waiting to tend to her with a smile. No, now I tend to her with a baby in my arms squirming and my hair in a towel cause I haven't had time to comb it yet. As sweet and darling as #1 can be - she's also got it in her to be, well, a toddler. And it's at these times, squirming baby in hand and towel on head, that she chooses to display her toddlerness in all it's full glory - a loud, whiney, temper tantrum. 

Since I'm pretty sure that I'm the one that needed to change my approach rather than expect her to change her reaction to my lack of constant doting attention, I set about it to just that. And I did.

Well, sort of. I'm kind of a work in progress.

Here's my approach:
1. I plan. Tantrums and whining seem to happen most when I'm nursing Sam or giving him the majority of my attention. Since she seemed to be pretty consistent here, I decided to see if we could bypass the problem.

2. I armed myself for battle before the battle - so as not to be taken with my guard down. I designated a cupboard to be "the special cupboard" and filled it with "special toys" that ONLY are to be played with while I'm nursing Sam. Today I got the great idea to replace it with a box that she can have full access to while I nurse, instead of giving her 1 or 2 toys beforehand. She can play with 1 or 2 - or all of the toys if she wants.

3. I get chatty. Since Sam is my first breastfed child, it took my attention and focus to get it right. But now that I'm a seasoned pro, I can focus more on Millie and talk to her so she doesn't feel left out or forgotten. This is making a marked improvement. 

I try to plan snack time around nursing, giving her more to do while I nurse. I have her sit by me and we read together. I have her nurse/burp Frafra (her lovey) while I nurse and burp Sam. 

Like I said, I'm a work in progress, but the important thing is - I'm progressing. 

So, patience. What makes yours fly out the window? Try to think of a new approach  for the next time a stranger is unkind or traffic is seemingly against you - or for when those tantrums pop up. 

Have a great tip on dealing with impatience? Share it!


Abi said...

When mine did that to me, I read. And read and read until my throat was sore. Because #2 could nurse for 30 min if she felt so inclined. But #1 loved me to read. I would have him pick the books, I sat on the couch (with a pillow under the nursing baby) and we would pass time together. I wish you lots of luck! It took us months to get the routine working.

Avery said...

Here's a little tip - your daughter doesn't actually need interaction ALL the time. Now is the perfect time for her to learn to play independently. I feel you are taking too much on yourself - she is a little kid - they need time to explore by themselves.

Cas said...

Thanks for the feedback Avery! I agree, Millie does need independent play - and I'm more than happy to give it to her! LOL. She just has this thing about me nursing the baby - jealousy I guess. That's when the tantrums happen 85% of the time, and that's why I work so hard on interacting with her during those times.

I find that more and more I'll look in from doing something in the kitchen to find her in a world of her own. I let her keep it her own. :)

Your comment partially inspired my next post - it's written with a content smile. :)

Thanks for reading!

Avery said...

That's awesome that she can play by herself. I just remember with my first, knowing that she should be able to play by herself, but not knowing how that should look - how much time - how much lack of interaction before I deemed myself a neglectful Mom. I wished someone had given me good advice at the time. We muddled through and I knew better with my second child. Cute chalk drawings - my stick figures are terrible!!

Cas said...

Ha! I've thought that too... am I neglecting her? But she's playing so well! LOL. Now I'll pretty much let her play alone as long as she wants to. She is such a little copycat right now, so whatever she sees me doing, she sets out to try it herself. Precious.

Anonymommy said...

Whenever I get impatient, I hum a little song my mom always used to sing to me:

Have patience. Have patience.
Don't be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient,
You only start to worry.
Remember, remember that God is patient too
And think of all the times
When others had to wait for you!

It really makes me feel better!

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