Looking back over the years I see a significant difference in my parenting skills from when my oldest was small until now. One never is truly prepared for being a parent and how trying it can be on one's patience. I am pleasantly surprised and impressed with myself today, because I can see that my patience and coping skills have increased. I am still far from perfect, but I am able to see improvements in my personal growth.
Yesterday when it was time to go pick up my boys from school, my four year old daughter began throwing a huge screaming, kicking, flailing fit. This is a new phase, and I don't particularly enjoy it. She has a sweet little friend who she LOVES to play with. She begs to play with this little girl. She would rather I drop her off at her friend's house while I go shopping so she can have fun with her friend.
Recently, when trying to leave our friend's house, not only did my daughter start in screaming and protesting, but her friend began "protecting" her from me. It was a joint effort. They tried SO hard to keep me from taking my little Curly Girl with me. They both screamed and cried.
Yesterday, we had been having a play date for the kids at my home while the adults visited and a few of us crocheted. The children were having a wonderful time playing and learning to share. When it was time to go the screaming and thrashing began. At first it was just my Curly Girl screaming and throwing a fit, in hopes that I would allow her to go to her friend's house to play again. I calmly explained to her that she needed to come with me and she began screaming, "NO!!" at me. I explained that the answer was going to continue to be the same, especially because she was treating me so poorly.
Our friends gathered their things and packed their children into their cars. By the time they were all strapped in, Curly Girl was at the door screaming as loudly as possible with crocodile tears flowing down her face and her little friend was in the car screaming right along with her.
She refused to get into the car or move from the spot she had chosen to plant her feet on. I ended up having to pry her fingers off from the door frame and carry her flailing body football style to the car. I then had to hold her down while I buckled her seat belt...all the while thinking calming thoughts and keeping my face calm. I didn't speak. I just breathed. She continued to scream loudly saying, "LET ME GO!" and "MOMMMMMYYYY!!!" most of the 5 minutes to school. I turned on The Piano Guys and focused on smiling and breathing.
At the school, I got my youngest out of her seat and walked to the other side of the car, all the while reminding myself to speak softly and calmly. By the time Curly Girl got out of the car, she was sniffling but now screaming. I felt that was a success. I carried both girls as far as I could and then had to have the oldest walk on her own. She stuck right by my side inside the school and was just quiet and pouting. Once we began walking down the hallway again to go out to the car the screaming began...all over again.
By the time we finally got home, it seemed like an eternity, I carried the Curly Girl in and put her on my bed to watch a show. Within minutes she was out cold; sound asleep.
I felt pretty good about how I had handled the insanity. Even after it was all said and done, I was calm. What a great feeling that was! No regrets.
I have had many moments where I wished I could have a "re-do". Even while in the moment, I knew the things I was saying or doing weren't the right ones, but I wasn't sure how to fix them. That's the marvelous thing about the atonement...it allows us to be forgiven for the little mistakes we make and move forward, eventually becoming the person we are meant to be. I have learned and continue to learn to have patience with myself....I am a work in progress.