A little while ago, in an act of desperation, I made up a game to help Prince wait more patiently. We were at the doctor’s office, where there is a reason they call their clients patience – I mean patients. If waiting was an Olympic sport we would have been losing. Badly. While Simba was content with trying to beat the world record for the most Cherrios stuffed into a mouth, Prince had already played with all of the germ-infested toys and watched the emergency episode of Dora I keep on my iphone for just such moments. In an effort to avoid a full out temper tantrum, I asked Prince “Where is your Patience?” He looked at me like he had never heard of patience, which he probably hadn’t, and I asked him, with appropriate dramatic emphasis “Uh-oh. Did you lose your patience?” After he nodded with that wide-eyed puppy dog look that melts your heart and makes you give them candy despite your better judgement, I told him “Well, we’d better find it.”
We spent the remainder of our time waiting searching for his patience. We looked under the chairs, in his shoes, and eventually found it hiding in his belly button. While this may sound like a ridiculous way for a grown woman to spend her afternoon, it helped me realize a very important fact – Prince wasn’t the only one who was losing their patience at the doctor’s office. I was precariously close to my own little breakdown, which would have involved telling the receptionist to get us a freaking doctor now or I was going to go all Charlie Sheen on her ass. Ever since then I have been much more aware of when my own patience is about to make a break for it.
My poor patience has taken quite a beating since my kids were born. I am not sure when it happened exactly, but my hypothesis is that back when Prince was only a few months old, on one of the nights that I was so exhausted I did not wake up fast enough when he was fussing, Prince got a hold of my patience and beat the shit out of it in revenge. My patience has been handicapped ever since. On the upside, it is harder for it to run away on me now that it walks with a limp.
I don’t know if it is because I still have not had an uninterrupted night’s sleep since Prince started operation stay-up-all-night, or if it is just that time of the month, but lately my patience has been deserting me more often than ever. I have got to put that thing on a leash. It’s like one second I am the calm, cool and collected mom that I strive to be, and the next I turn into Medusa, complete with the crazy hair and the death stare. I know when I have hit this point because all of a sudden Prince starts answering every question I ask him with “Ok mom,” as if he knows that there is just no reasoning with me in my current state. Then I start to feel guilty for losing my patience; although in reality even Mother Theresa would probably have lost her patience when the baby rips all the toilet paper into tiny little snow-sized pieces that you couldn’t even use to wipe an ants arse, and the three year old just went all Picasso on your walls with permanent marker. So then I feel even worse because, not only has my patience deserted me, but I am being swarmed by The Guilties as well.
I swear I never used to be this crazy. Maybe it has something to do with the unbelievable fact that somehow I have ended up responsible for two human lives and now I am mortally afraid that everything I do will somehow fuck it up. If I punish my kid for coloring on the walls will I stifle his creativity? If I let him sleep in my bed when he comes in at night will he still be sleeping there ten years from now? Will he never be able to sleep on his own and end up going from relationship to relationship trying to fill the space in his bed? Damn it, there are those Guilties again!
It is too bad that in reality you can’t actually find your patience hiding in your belly button. It would make things so much easier for everyone, don’t you think? Picture it: You are waiting in line at the bank and the guy behind you is huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf because some old lady is hogging the teller’s time by counting out a million pennies and all you have to do is remind him to check his belly button. And think about the benefits to marriage – “Sorry honey, I am not in the mood tonight, but just take your patience out of your belly button and maybe we will have sex tomorrow.” Divorce would be eradicated in one fell swoop. But until science actually succeeds in locating our patience and controlling it with narcotics we will all have to figure out ways to stretch what patience we have remaining to us just a little bit further. Feel free to use my game, as long as you don’t mind your kid checking your belly button in public, ‘cause they will.