Wednesday, August 17, 2011

the Patience

The cute but seemingly clueless Italian admirer of Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner gave her a surprising bit of wisdom that I found myself repeatedly quoting in my head tonight.  He said to her, "You need to learn the patience.  Sometimes love, is just love"

I'm not sure exactly what the "love is just love" part meant, but over and over I've been repeating in my head, "you need to learn the patience".

The phrase "parenthood requires patience" is sort of a burned out phrase.  We all hear it, and think, "well yes, of course it does."

However I always imagined that meant being patient when your toddler wakes up with nightmares, being patient when milk is spilled on the floor, patiently teaching your kids to clean up their toys, or not argue.  Those occasions do require patience, it's true, and yet they don't even begin to describe the word.

There are many "Patience is . . . . stories we all can tell about our kids.  Here's mine for tonight.

Patience is when your daughter is Reading Hop on Pop, and on every 8 word page, she pauses to analyze the picture for 30 seconds, reads the words, comments on the picture,"Look!  They're hopping on his tummy!!!  That's so silly!"
and then asks a question about it, with the expectation of a fully drawn out answer.

Anny:"Why are they hopping on their Dad?"
Me:"I don't know, to be silly I guess"
Anny: "Don't they know it can hurt?"
Me: "Maybe they didn't think about that"
Anny: "Why wouldn't they think about that?"
Me: "I'm not sure.  Maybe they're naughty kids"
Anny: "Why are they naughty kids?"
Me: "I don't know Anny, it's just a story"
Anny: "Don't they love their Daddy?  Jumping on him is not nice..."

At this point I have turned the page, looking at the remaining 30 or so pages left, and thinking over and over, "the patience, the patience, you need to learn the patience...."

I didn't start the book with this attitude.  I opened it with anticipation, thinking "I'm pretty sure she can read this, I love my daughter, she's so smart, this is going to be so fun hearing her read the bedtime story all by herself!"

On the first page as she scans the picture I think, "Look at her analyzing the scene, that's a sign of great reading comprehension, and something I should encourage!"

However by page 32, we've gone through a similar routine 32 times, varied occasionally by her fixing her hair for a minute, and then pausing to scratch her foot.  Then she'll begin again to analyze the picture, read the words, and have an in depth conversation about it.  If Merrylee interrupts her we sometimes get to go through the routine twice per page, because she gets distracted and feels she must begin again.  No need to remind her she's already scanned this picture, after all- this is a sign of great reading comprehension, and something I should encourage, right??? 

There are 64 pages in that book.

I love Dr. Seuss, but what was he thinking?!!!  Obviously he never had kids.  Ten pages would have been generous.

I could create an entire new blog dedicated to Patience is ... parenting moments.  Perhaps I could do one about how a short blog entry takes two hours to write because every five minutes my baby starts fussing and wants to be held, and typing with one hand is hard.

Sometimes being a mother is delightful, and blissfully sweet.

Sometimes blissfully sweet takes too long, it's an hour past bedtime, and Mom's exhausted.

Someday I will learn "the patience".  Maybe.


  1. I've had that experience with Dr. Seuss too. :) My kids are still young enough that they don't remember the whole story, so I skip most of the book. :) Good work on trying to learn the patience!

  2. Liz...just by you sitting there letting her read the WHOLE book while all of that going on is Patience. Trust me...I'm not proud to say this but some nights if I have had a really bad day or I'm not feeling well, we will skip the bedtime story & just read scriptures. So whether you see it or not...that was SO MUCH Patience. :o) I love reading about your sweet family. We miss you all so much!

  3. Reminds me of, "But where did Mike Mulligan go to the bathroom?" "Well, that's not very important to the story." "Yes, it is!!! The first thing you showed us on the first day of school was where the bathroom was! It's very important!" "Let's just try to finish the story." "But where's the bathroom?!"

    Dr. Seuss may not have had kids, but you know Beverly Cleary sure did.

  4. Thank you for all your wonderful comments! I really appreciate what you said, it was very timely. I am grateful to have someone I respect so much think so highly of me. I was feeling a bit down about things, but you reminded me to have the confidence I should have.

    I learned so much from you I can hardly express! Probably a comment on your blog isn't enough space for me to go on and on about it. Perhaps I will shoot you an email. You had a huge impact on my life.

    I love your blog also by the way, your stories are fabulous. I hope to be as fabulous a mother as you are!

  5. Haha. Oh man, this is me too! I have to say that we never get through Hop on Pop all in one sitting. I only have the patience for about ten pages and then I say, "to be continued..." You are doing a great job, Liz. Give yourself loads of credit because you have darling sweet girls who are worried about the dad that's getting hopped on! :)