It's not something I'm proud of, but I don't seem to have the right amount of patience to deal with a three-year-old and an eleven-month-old. I can push down my frustration at the continual stream of "No"s and "I don't want to"s and "I don't like that"s from my three-year-old for only so long and then, that's it...
It's usually something along the lines of, "Don't you DARE throw another fit!" or "That's enough!" or "Stop it right now!" Nothing truly awful and no threats that I won't follow through on, but still, I yell.
And then I feel bad about it.
Because I love her.
Because she's three, and testing limits is something that a three-year-old is supposed to do.
Because I'm basically doing the very thing that I'm frustrated with her for doing.
it's not the issue itself that makes me snap; it's the accumulated
complaining and negotiating that wears me down.
Because I still remember being yelled at by my parents and how it made me feel.
Because I want to be the zen parent who remains calm in any situation...but I'm not.
Because I'm afraid that one day, I'll look back on these years and think, "She's all grown-up now, and I didn't truly appreciate what a lovely little girl she was then."
And she is lovely. She's lovely when she's singing made-up songs in the backseat of the car and when she's making her baby sister smile. She's lovely when she listens so intently as I read her stories and when she dances in the middle of the department store. She's lovely when she tells me every detail of what happened at daycare that day and when she gets really excited about a trip to our favourite frozen yogurt place or a kid's ride at the mall. She's lovely when she weaves such imaginative stories when she plays and when she clowns around to make me laugh, laughing right along with me.
But when she's obstinate and argumentative and screaming and crying, she's not so lovely.
So I yell.
I just hope that when she remembers her childhood, she won't focus on the times when I yelled. I hope she'll think about the times we played together and sang songs together and read stories together, and all of the fun things we did together. That's what I want to think about, too.
Because I'm tired of yelling.