Mornings like this prove that my daughter has taught me patience.
I stumbled out of my bedroom 5:30 am, on a Saturday, to Faith’s, not so quiet, chatter. There’s no sleeping in on weekends over here (insert eye roll). She had another ‘accident’ and did not make it to the little girl’s room in time. As I walked in to the living room, she waved at me… lol. I asked her if she had an ‘accident’ and she signed ‘I’m sorry’. It’s hard to be mad or annoyed when she knows she should have made it in time and is apologizing. So as I cleaned her up, I reminded her, as always, that she is 13 years old and said, “You’re a big girl. And big girls use the potty.”. She points to the potty and signed ‘sorry’ again. She knows. She tries. She feels bad. So how can I be mad? Did I mention it was 5:30 am on a Saturday?
Well, now I’m wide awake so I made a fresh pot of coffee and tried to salvage my morning. Until the next mess…
As I was just about to sit and relax with my first cup of coffee, Faith spilled her cereal, which is now all over the furniture and the carpet. I remained calm. Faith signed, “I’m sorry”. I asked her to get a paper towel and had her help me clean the mess. She eagerly helped clean up. I thanked her for helping and she smiled proudly and signed ‘good job’.
Without patience, this morning could have gone terribly wrong. I could have yelled or acted angry. Faith would have felt even worse for causing her messes. Then I would have felt guilty and like a terrible mommy for making her feel worse than she already did. Upset her more? For what? What would that have accomplished? She’d feel bad, and I’d feel worse. She’s not malicious. She does not cause a ‘problem’ on purpose or out of malice. Accidents happen. Life is messy with any child. In Faith’s case, she is learning to do things for herself. She tries and wants to be a big girl. She wants to experience success. She needs to feel proud of herself. So I retaught and explained calmly instead of scolding her. I provided her with the opportunity to clean up so she could feel like she did something ‘right’ after a mistake.
So within an hour of waking up at 5:30am (did I mention it’sSaturday?), I was so busy helping Faith and cleaning up that my coffee was then cold. I didn’t get to sit still for even 5 min. I survived. And we did it without tears. I’m glad I chose not to make an unpleasant situation worse. As I sit here writing, she is smiling and waving at me. So now we can start our day :).
It is NOT easy! It’s frustrating to be teaching the same skill after more than a decade with little headway. But she’s trying and I will not give up on her, nor will I allow her to give up on herself. I do NOT always practice patience in times of chaos. I get it. I’m with ya. We, as parents, are not perfect. But I am happy with the way I handled this morning. Breathe. Count to ten. Stay calm. Remember, children will react to our actions. Practice patience as best you can. Really, what choice do we have? Our ‘special’ babies do their best. Our job is to support, teach, encourage and to love them the best we can.
So to all the other ‘Special Needs Moms’ out there, you are doing a magnificent job! Keep the ‘Faith’ 🙂