Parenting requires levels of patience that don’t exist in this particular space-time continuum. We’re talking levels above that of a middle school teacher at an all-girls school, above that of Lindsey Lohan’s parole officer, above even the levels of patience required by Martha Stewart’s prep team. Inhuman levels of patience is kinda what I’m going for here.
Let us worship at the altar of The Goddess of All Obviousness. Leave an offering of “DUH” and the sacrifice of a gullible young woman.
Last Friday’s #gtchat was on Parenting with Patience. Please go read the transcript for resources and an outstanding conversation. But the long and short of it is…parents of gifted kids are exhausted. And when Energy leaves the building, Patience is right behind her locking the doors and setting the alarm. This entire conversation could have been about me, and it was humbling to realize my patience is thinner than an Olson twin.
Did any of you see the commercial before Halloween for making your own Rice Krispie treats? Black and white ad, mom and her 2 or 3 (can’t remember) darling children, all dressed up, making Rice Krispie treat ghosts. I saw that one night and nearly burst into tears. I’m not that mom and can’t be that mom. I simply don’t have the patience. In fact, the last time I tried an activity like that, I was pouring rum straight into the Coke can.
I used to think I had more patience than I do. And then I had children. My patience is used up with “get dressed” and “good Lord, quit whining and get in the shower” and “for the thirtieth time in as many minutes, no you may not have a snack because dinner is almost on the table!” I know many other moms have these same problems, so allow me to share a few others: “sit down and work on your writing while I clear the table…no…seriously dude, sit your butt down and do it! I’ll be there in a second! Quit arguing! I’m coming!” and “just pick a book and write it down in your reading log. No, I have no idea how many minutes you read this week, I just know I haven’t been able to pry books out of your hands. Just write something down and I’ll sign it” and “put down the Legos. Yes, it’s an awesome invention and I love it, but you have to work on your math now. Yes, I know, but you still have to do it. No need to freak out on me, just sit.down.and.do.it.” I’m sure those are heard in other homes as well, so I’ll ratchet it up one more notch: “I know you miss your best friend, but he moved away a year ago and you talk on Skype every week and don’t start spiraling down now!” and “get off the dog for the love of God she’s already growled at you how can you possibly miss her signs telling you to GO THE HELL AWAY?” and “do you need me to go squish you so you can calm down?”
Tonight the boys had a Cub Scout pack meeting, where prizes were given away for popcorn sales. Their pack sold an unholy amount of popcorn. Like, the cost of a small rural Iowa home amount of popcorn. Last year A sold over $900 in fluffy popped goodness; this year he barely cracked $300. Same with J. I just didn’t have it in me to focus them on that goal, and tonight they watched their friends earn special prizes for selling more than $500. Felt like I failed.
Through his GT pullout program, A has the opportunity to participate in the Invention Convention. It’s like a science fair for inventions, totally up his alley. It’s this month, and I can’t bring myself to start him on the project. I just don’t have the patience.
I didn’t decorate for Halloween and I’m dreading pulling everything out for Christmas. I just.don’t.have.it.in.me.
It’s as though I use up every bit of…more than patience, really…every bit of ME to get through the day and I just don’t have any left for the sprinkles of life. The boys’ Halloween costumes? What they wore last year. Decided on 20 minutes before they left. The boys’ extracurriculars? Scouts, and just enough to stay in the pack. It’s not that I want them to be running hither and yon in activities, but…
I just feel that the boys’ childhoods are slipping away and I’m not doing anything to make them special. We didn’t carve pumpkins, last spring I don’t think we colored Easter eggs, and I’d almost be just as happy going on vacation with the family than decorating for Christmas. Making Rice Krispie ghosts would just result in fits and fights and me wondering if 2:30 on a Sunday is too early to crack open a fine Merlot.
I don’t know what the answer is, or if there is one. I just know that I am mourning my sons’ childhoods, because they have a mom who can’t get her shit together enough to make bits of life special.
They deserve better, and I simply want the answer to improved patience to bring that to them.