Kids test you. A lot.
Patience has never been one of my virtues. Even now, if you want to really rile me, have my computer decide to take it’s sweet time when I need something done.
Kids do this all the time. It’s the way they’re wired. They must test boundaries, push you, and see exactly what they can get away with every single day. Because, you know, the rules have changed in the last eighteen seconds.
Like all kids, mine have their annoying little quirks. The youngest refuses to eat bread crusts. Even if you cut the crusts off the bread, she’ll leave the last little ring of bread on her tray as if it were a crust.
So, there’ll be half a sandwich of crusts on her tray, and she’ll toss them to the floor and ask for more.
She is also an insanely picky eater. We’re trying to decide if she can grow-up healthy living on nothing but peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, and fruit. She’ll eat any fruit under the sun, and a lot of raw veggies, but heaven help you if you offer her a piece of chicken. The offending morsel must not be allowed to stay on her plate. Oh no. It gets chucked across the room.
We’re working on that.
Meal time is never a treat in our house.
Getting ready in the morning can be even worse, especially as we have a deadline to get out the door.
It’s amazing how difficult it is to get two kids into their coats, hats, and mittens and get them out to the car. Of course, then comes the bucking bronco as I try to get the youngest into her five-point car seat. You’d think she was going on a roller-coaster ride with the safety restraint system rather than the three miles to daycare.
This is when I yell.
Why am I so angry? Because we have places to go. Because I don’t want to be late to work myself. Because I want to be doing something other than dealing with their shenanigans.
And that’s the crux of it.
A lot of my test-failing is directly related to being frustrated. To want to do something – have a family meal, get to school on time, put them to bed – that they don’t really want to do. So, they resist. Sometimes directly by throwing themselves onto the floor, and other times indirectly as they refuse to be able to find their hat on thirteen degree day.
Ask a kid if they want to go to the zoo, and see how fast that hat, mittens and coat go on!
My frustration is especially evident after a long day at work, or when I have expectations that may not always be realistic for small children. As this is my first time with kids, I don’t always have realistic expectations.
I don’t want to be the parent that’s always angry. I want to enjoy the beautiful little creatures that inhabit this house with me.
To try to get there, I’m trying to accept that there’s going to be a lot of times that I’m not going to get what I want.
I might not get a full hour of writing. I might have to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to go with the three oranges and eight strawberries she’s having for supper. But in the end, my relationship with them is worth the sacrifices. They are amazing kids. For the most part.
I’ve also learned to start getting ready in the morning sooner. If I get them to daycare ten minutes early, no one really minds. It saves a little of my sanity, if you can call someone that has voices in her head sane.
I’m figuring it out, and I’m making mistakes along the way. But I figure as long as I approach parenting with love, I can’t screw them up too badly.
How about you? Any coping techniques when things really frustrate you? Or getting kids ready in the morning? Ever have to deal with a picky eater? How did you handle it? Or maybe you’re the picky eater?