seeking patience

Eleanor is two and a half years old (although if she hears me say this she corrects me, “No. I two mommy.”) which means she is testing her independence and autonomy like it was her job. Which is ultimately a good thing- because it is her job. This is exactly what she should be doing at this age.

But with her increased desire for autonomy has come an increased level of frustration, more whining for things she “needs” or over things that she finds she cannot do on her own (despite her immense desire to do them without aid), and growing demands for things…”RIGHT NOW.”

In the last couple of days I have found myself increasingly short on patience when it comes to handling these moments of independence and frustration (and all the behaviors that accompany those). Take for instance the day she insisted on pulling the {too big and too heavy} roller-bag from the luggage carousel at the airport to the car and then proceeded to whine, or flat out cry, when it repeatedly from her hands and she couldn’t manage it on her own; acknowledgement, redirection,  removing the stimulus, providing assistance and options…none of these things worked and my agitation and exhaustion got the better of me.

My short-on-patience reactions, and the thought of soon adding another child to the mix which might exacerbate these, has sent me seeking suggestions/advice/experiences of other parents and how they have handled similar situations in their own lives.

Most of the articles and posts I’ve read suggest the same thing: that “misbehavior” (or frustration or tantrums or whatever other label you chose to use for the child’s behaviors) are states of dysregulation, more often than not the result of needing attention, firm boundaries, and calm and consistent responses. And although I found some wonderful suggestions for handling such situations (like this one from Janet Lansbury, or this one from Dr. Laura Markham), deep down I already knew this. I just wasn’t able to execute when the moment called for it.

And that’s when it dawned on me…that these last couple of days I’ve been in my own state of dysregulation (as evidenced by my post yesterday and breakdown into full sobs at dinner last night). I’ve felt unbalanced, emotional, and uncertain; in short I have been in need of attention. And how can I expect to help Eleanor come back to her place of balance when I’m not there myself? (This idea, of mutual regulation/dysregulation is written about nicely here…I find it a very intriguing concept). The answer is that I cannot.

But I feel much freer after this realization, and a little more confident that I have what it takes to remain calm in the face of my two-year-old behaving like a two-year-old. These recognitions (along with the hour-long prenatal massage I scheduled for next week!) should help me get back to center in no time.

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8 thoughts on “seeking patience

  1. What a great post, Kiyah. Thanks for the links to the resources, too. I can really sympathize with what you’ve been describing in the past couple of posts, especially with relating to independent-but-not-so-much toddlers.
    Why is it so hard for Mothers to recognize/ask for what they need too?
    Spa vacations for all of us!

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    1. And the scariest- scratch that- most awesome part about that whole “identifying what I needed to feel better and more balanced” epiphany I had was that it came from writing for this blog! That’s all it took. Not some fancy vacation or full day away from my family or a bottle of red wine and night of chick flicks. Just writing.
      Well, that and a good cry 😉

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  2. Hi Kiyah! Your cousin in-law here! Thanks for being so open in sharing your thoughts and feelings. I just went through the same breakdown with E. It is tough and rewarding work to be parent. I know you will do well with the 2nd child!

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    1. Hello Michelle!So glad to see you posting…I had no idea you were reading. And thank you for your support. I know that I am not alone in this experience, which is a comforting feeling indeed. And I’m sure that I’ll find a way with the second…I just wish I could do it without *also* having a full time job! Although, maybe without that break (or any break) during the day finding my balance would be harder. Ay any rate, thanks for the support.

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  3. Kiyah, this makes me all the more thrilled that you are writing and sharing: “that whole “identifying what I needed to feel better and more balanced” epiphany I had was that it came from writing for this blog! That’s all it took.”
    Remember that Eleanor’s feelings aren’t your responsibility… I know how hard it is not to “take them on” and let them get to you, but try to consider the frustration and whining good releases for her. They really are! And that will be especially true during the transition with the new baby…she’ll have powerful feelings to release, no doubt, and the more she can, the better…and the more she’ll be able to love her new sibling. Take care of YOU, and accept all Eleanor’s feelings. Let the waves roll. It’s all going to be okay. You are wonderful! (And thanks for recommending my No Bad Kids post!)

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    1. I know you’re right, and I remind myself of these things all the time. I have always thought of myself as a patient person, and I think that I have more patience than a lot of other people (at least based on the way I see them reacting to their children), and it’s been interesting to watch myself have these moments of loosing that patience- to have my boundaries tested the way they are. One of the things that helps me most, actually, is when I know that my husband is able to maintain his patience as well. It’s so much easier when we are on the same page, and can view our child’s behavior from the same vantage point.
      I’m so grateful to have found your website, and the RIE teachings. I look forward to being more mindful about RIE practices when our little guy joins the family. Thanks for your support!

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  4. You’re not alone in the fight, sistah! We are at the same junction, particularly post-nap when Millie knows the nanny will be coming. Ugh, the meltdowns! But thanks for the resources, those are helpful.

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