Monday, August 10, 2009

In search of the wellspring of patience

When Scooter was born, I learned a lot about myself. One thing that surprised me was the depth of patience I discovered. Even when I was frustrated and overwhelmed, somehow I managed not to take it out on him. I made it through the initial hormone fluctuations, breastfeeding difficulties, picky eating, and years of sleep problems--crying copiously to Trillian, of course, but not losing my cool with my son. I understood that he simply couldn't help it and that getting agitated wouldn't help the situation.

Increasingly that's not the case.

Intellectually I get how hard some things are for him. It's not as simple as tasting a new food or then eating more than a single bite. He truly does not process our requests until the third or so repetition. He must find one particular toy before he can settle in to go to sleep.

He needs me to guide him gently in the right direction, understanding when it's more than he can handle for the moment.

But I find myself becoming short and sharp more often than I would like. And wishing he could just get over it--even though I know it's not that simple.

I worry that my patience is gone forever and that Scooter will remember me as being more tense and curt than fun. I worry that the next child will never know the mother who had bottomless reserves of calm and that I will be frazzled and frustrated from day one. I know that I don't have the ability to step out of the situation and determine the best way to find my center again.

Summer vacation has been particularly difficult. What does it say that I think all of us view the start of the school year as our real vacation?


Bea said...

I'm not sure that the transition you're describing is an entirely unhealthy one. When they're babies, everything is obviously not their fault, and so I think we often respond by directing our anger inward as guilt (I did, anyway). As they get older, they're not completely in control of their choices, but they are partially, at least. Some of the time the stuff they do really is a choice and really is their fault. So the trick is not to eliminate the anger but to figure out how to express it without, say, shouting "I'm going to hurt more than that in a second!" when you're dragging your child out to the car as he sobs, "You're hurting my feelings!" Just as an example.

Aliki2006 said...

I was so crabby when T. was born. Somehow none of that hit me while I was pregnant with her, but I remember being so crabby and snappish with L.--especially when he would bounce awake at 5:30 a.m., bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, while I was dragging from sleep deprivation and the last thing I wanted to do was talk to anyone.

I still carry the guilt of that. He was 3 1/2 when T. was born, and we didn't have a diagnosis for him, yet his behavior constantly worried us. The transition for him was VERY difficult after his sister was born, and sometimes I think back and wish we had known about his AS and his anxiety--that maybe I should have been less cranky and more proactive in helping him cope.

Wow--sorry to hijack the comments--I think I'm carrying some baggage. Ouch.

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