Saturday, January 15, 2011

Be Patient With My Learning Curve

The kitchen timer rang, its shrill sound heard loud and clear over the twins' shrieks. For a split second, everyone stopped mid-run. Then, in her outside voice, Amelia yelled, "Jingle Bells!" and we ran to the potty.

Thus began a week of intensive on-the-potty-every-35-minutes-whether-you-need-to-go-or-not training. It was a week of verbal encouragement ("I'm proud of you!"), treats, and round-the-clock attention to the vanishing blue star on the front of the pull-up.

But by Thursday evening, my twenty-eight-month-old twins still weren't going to the potty unless the timer went off. They were still having accidents (though fewer). And they still didn't care if their underwear was wet.

I was more than a little outdone. Four days. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday.


It seemed I had learned more from the potty training experience than the twins had, and what I learned wasn't very flattering to me.

In a week where I lost a good bit of sleep over my own steep learning curve in tackling gum paste flowers for a birthday cake, I found myself increasingly frustrated with their "I don't care" two-year-old attitude.

With every lost hour of sleep, I lost a double portion of patience.

By Thursday evening, I was thrilled, knowing the next day, my mother would babysit the potty-training-failure-children while I went to give a computer training to a group of last-minute-trainees who had skipped the prior two trainings, trying to avoid the inevitable.

Thursday evening, though, I had promised to help a group of five women learn to crochet.

But I was tired. I was frustrated. And I knew if I went, I would need to stay up into the wee hours of Friday morning to finish the cake and try (once again) to craft a huge gum paste flower that was larger than any of my cutters could make and that nobody on the web could show me how to do!

I didn't want to go.

But by now, you know me well enough to know I went anyway. And with five women who wanted to learn, it was such a pleasant teaching experience.

When one of the women would make a mistake and I would need to re-teach a stitch, I heard myself speaking calmly, quietly, and in an understanding tone, none of which had I been using earlier that day with the twins.

Later that night as I attacked round two of gum paste flower-making, I felt so defeated. I'd spent several days getting so frustrated with my own flesh and blood; yet, I could treat complete strangers with kindness and patience.No wonder my children were doomed to failure. The learning curve was high, and I was expecting perfection now.

When I came home Friday afternoon, my mother told me the twins had taken themselves to the potty several times on their own. And they had been dry all day!!!

Today? The same--dry all day and taking themselves to the potty several times without my prompting. Progress after all.

"I'm so proud of you, mommy!" Amelia squealed this evening as she launched herself off the potty and into my arms. "Yes," I grinned," I'm so proud of you, Amelia."

Lord, as you are so patient with me, please grant me the ability to be patient with my own children. Fill me with your patience...because my own just isn't enough for even a few minutes.

Top Pic: Among other things this week, I learned to crochet with "fun fur." What an experience in being able to stitch without being able to see the holes! Yikes!

1 comment:

  1. Patience? Never heard of it. Hopefully someday I will learn some. Everything you said about being patient with total strangers rang true. Hopefully I can master treating my loved ones with the same patience and respect I give to people whose names I don't know. (Sigh....)