So I've never been strong on the patience side. I have very little. I must admit that Ethan has done a good job of teaching me that very skill, but I'm often still very inpatient with him.I try not to be, but it's part of who I am.
My husband, on the other hand, is the epitome of patience. I often feel he's the better parent because he's able to go with the flow and not get so ruffled at Ethan's antics. But he has his limits as well. Every one does. And I've come to discover that while he is patient much more often than I am, I seem to be more patient with the things that get to him. Take yesterday for instance.
Ethan is a Cars 2 fanatic. Finn McMissile, Lightening McQueen, Tow Mater, Holly Shiftwell, and Professor Z. Throw a few lemons in for good measure. And so, he wants a Holly car to go with his other cars. They don't have a Holly in the stores here, so I told him we would order Holly online. And here's where the trouble begins.
I let him sit with me as we ordered Holly, Professor Z, a Gremlin, and a Submarine Finn. When we were finished, he asked where they were. I explained that they wouldn't be here for 2 days. Oh my goodness. His world exploded. He thought that if we ordered online, they would arrive immediately. To make matters worse, he was obviously quite tired. And so he began to cry and cry and cry. Not that I'm-throwing-a-tantrum cry, but the I-don't-understand-and-I'm-really-upset cry. They are different. My patience for the first equal zero. Nothing grates my nerves as much as a tantrum thrown for absolutely no reason. It angers me to heights I cannot explain. As does asking for things in one-word sentences in a baby voice, which he has been prone to do lately for whatever reason.
The second type of cry, however, doesn't phase me. I picked him up, I held him, I comforted him, and I tried to explain the delivery truck would be as fast as he could in getting the cars to us. He continued to cry. When I had to put him down, he cried louder, tears barreling down his poor little face. And that's when my husband says, "I think he needs a time out in his room." And a little later, "I'm turning off the TV until you stop crying. That's enough."
Ethan did not go to time out. I said no. I let Clint turn the TV off because I don't want Ethan to see us as an disjointed front, but I continued to comfort him, and I pulled his chair close to mine for dinner and soothingly, "see, sweetie, you can sit right next to Mommy while we eat, okay?" He said, "Okay."
I think Clint is baffled by my level of patience in these situations. I remain calm. I remain steadfast and unruffled. I explain the same thing over and over and over again. I provide comfort. He, on the other hand, sees no reason for Ethan's behavior in these situations and gets very frustrated because these types of cries outlast any tantrum.
I also do better with spills and "accidents" unless said accidents could have been prevented by listening to mom and dad. But he's going to drop things. He's going to spill his milk. He's going to get overly excited and break things sometimes. I take these opportunities to explain that everyone makes mistakes and everyone has accidents and that we clean them up, learn from them, and move on. Clint gets ruffled in these situations.
The point of all this is that in some weird way, we even each other out. Maybe he's calm, cool and collected the majority of the time, but during those times when he's not, Ethan still has someone who is. He still has the safety of knowing it's okay to express himself.
And quite honestly, I think the above examples show a difference between male and female. I tend to be more understanding and focused with the emotional things. While Clint tends to be more understanding and focused in other areas. I think it's good to have this balance, even if I'm still left admitting that Clint handles most situations better than I do.