Patience is so difficult to grasp, so fleeting when you do, but so required for raising a child. It is probably the most important aspect in raising children, and probably the hardest characteristic or emotional state to maintain.
I probably answer the question “what’s that?” several hundred if not a thousand times per day.
“A car, the car says vroom!”
I hate to not answer “what’s that?” since Monkey Man is trying to learn and genuinely wants to know what, whatever it is, is. But boy, does it require patience! Probably twice a day, I say “I don’t know,” which usually stops the questioning, but I feel so guilty every time I say it. I know I should not say it, but when my river of patience turns into a trickle, I just cannot answer “whats that?” anymore.
When putting Monkey Man to sleep, it requires patience, but not too much. It takes about fifteen minutes to nurse him to sleep while I am pretending to sleep myself. And for the first ten minutes, he is bouncing around, talking a little, fiddling with my other nipple (what’s up with that? Do all babies do that?), and trying to convince me to “wake up” and play just a little more. For the remaining five minutes, he slows down, becomes quiet, then starts snoring ever so lightly. But because obvious progress has been made, my patience sticks around long enough to finish the task. However, when he wakes during a light sleep transition, I rush in the room, and begin to nurse him back down to sleep. He instantly closes his eyes and goes limp. It appears as if he is asleep, but for the next twenty minutes, during any attempt I make to reclaim the boob, he roots around for it, and when he cannot find it, sticks his finger in his mouth, which he so obviously shows displeasure in, then starts to root some more. My patience depletes quickly during these times. I never can tell exactly when my attempt to get out of bed will be successful.
And ah, the amount of patience required is massive when you have turned your back for exactly one tenth of one second and, mysteriously, all the milk that was previously in the refrigerator is now soaking into your carpet. You look over to the toddler sitting in the middle of it and still applaud his attempt to lift up and drink from an eight pound gallon of milk.
When your patience is gone, what else is there to do but laugh? If you do not laugh, you will become certifiably insane. Patience – so slippery, but so strong. What would a parent do without it?