Whenever people commend me for my patience, I want to laugh uproariously. I am very good at acting patient, but I don’t often feel patient. In fact, parenting a three-year-old regularly makes me feel quite the opposite of patient. But I’m really trying, and I’m learning to have more faith in others, and in myself.
Often when I introduce a new toy or activity to Nina, I find myself fretting about the amount of time it takes her to catch on. How many times do I have to give the same instructions? How can she be bored already? When is she going to figure this out? Why am I ruining the fun by being so impatient? (Thankfully, I am good at faking patience or Nina would probably have a serious complex about trying new things.)
If Nina is too frustrated, often we will put away the new thing and return to something more familiar, and more comfortable for both of us. And it always happens that some time, a little bit down the road, the toy or activity is taken out again. And suddenly it is a revelation. The best toy ever, and maybe even something that gives me a few minutes to sit and relax. She is (suddenly, it seems) more dextrous, more interested, better at counting or taking turns. And I feel foolish for having lost faith in her so quickly, because she always catches on in her own time.
I’m two months into a new job, and I have to keep telling myself the same thing.
Make a mistake. Learn from it. Do better next time. It isn’t the end of the world.