Our toddler has upped his game by pushing every boundary and button he possibly can.
I find myself losing my patience with him more quickly these days and my lack of control is worrisome for me.
I find myself wanting him to conform to who I want him to be and what I want him to do. It’s easy to forget that he is his own person, trying to make sense of the world I brought him into. He needs more time and I need to learn to give it to him.
Unfortunately, I let my anxiety and impulsiveness get the best of me at his expense.
“I yelled at you and I’m sorry.”
While my son forgives me instantly – hugs me and gives me a kiss – I find it hard to forgive myself for being inpatient with him and yelling. As a child, forgiveness comes easy for him. His forgiveness is genuine with no strings attached or grudges held. I envy this mini-human and his ability to quickly forgive his mum after she’s lost her patience for the umpteenth time and lashed out. My son assures me everything is okay by moving on and acting like nothing happened.
But something did happen, and I dwell on my inability to keep my cool.
You see, I’m a dweller. I have a hard time letting go. While my anxiety is relieved by my impulsiveness, the guilt from my actions picks it back up. I get stuck in a hamster’s wheel, unable to jump off. I play the event over and over in my head and I make myself crazy with the notion that I cannot turn back time.
I try to remember that I am only human and toddlers push limits. I know I’m not always expected to be hunky-dory, but I also know that it is possible to relay a message without yelling and getting upset. I’m not talking about yelling at him for touching the scissors or moving his tiny hand towards the open flame on the stove. I’m talking about yelling at him for whining while asking me something for the millionth time. Why can’t I just walk away?
I know I must let it go and keep working on myself so I can model the behaviours I want him to learn. I promise him that I will work on my patience and he promises he’ll listen to mommy. And while I’m pretty sure he doesn’t understand the concept of a promise and that he will go through life not always listening to mommy, I appreciate him saying it.
This is a learning opportunity for both of us. We are both new at this and we are in this together.