I’ve never been a very patient person. It’s not something I particularly like about myself. I worried this characteristic would only get worse once I had a kid. Kids don’t much care about your schedule, you see. Or whether you have eaten in the past 14 hours. Or that you’d be so happy if you could have just five more minutes to finish up a workout.
I surprised myself, though, in those first few days and weeks at home with Ryan. If he projectile spit up on me, I’d rub his back and ask him if he was ok. If he fussed in the middle of the night, I’d hop out of bed to make a bottle. If he screamed his head off for no apparent reason (in which case, we always blame gas), I’d bounce him and rock him and sing to him until he finally calmed down. Even if it took hours. And I almost always maintained my composure.
I’ve been really proud of myself in this regard. Until I began realize that what I’m projecting externally is not quite I’m feeling internally.
Internally, when he is screaming his head off, my mind goes something like this:
“Oh, for the love of God! This kid has GOT to stop screaming. Nails on a chalkboard! Nails on a chalkboard! What is his deal.”
On the outside, I say:
“Shhhhhh, it’s ok, Ryan. Awww, you don’t feel well, huh? Poor little guy. Shhhhhh.”
Folks, I am not any more patient than I was five months ago. I’m just faking it.
Look, I love my kid. And I don’t want him to be upset or uncomfortable or in pain for a single second. That’s how Soothing Mommy is able to make an appearance. But let’s face it: I am who I am. I was impatient for 28 years before my little guy came along. Chances are, I’ll be impatient for the next 28 years. He’ll learn this about me soon enough. For now, I hope to fool him into thinking his mother has the patience of saint until he’s old enough to accept and withstand my true nature.