“Patience is a Vir-”. No, it’s Vital. Patience is Vital [PopScope Series]
Whether you like it or not, your impatient nature doesn’t work here. At least, not with toddlers, as I’m learning… the hard way.
Yesterday, my daughter unlocked a new “Growth Level” in her current developmental stage (yes, my partner and I like to use gaming terms, such as “unlock a new level” to better describe our experiences at times). To tell you I was proud is an understatement. What was her achievement? She successfully hinted, made a great attempt and finally used the “Big Girl” toilet for the first time!
I know that it may seem like an expected/mundane task, especially to my peers who don’t have children yet but I am so excited and happy for my girl that she’s attempting something new and the significance of her actual growth. I have many of these proud moments. For example, each week she adds more words to her vocabulary (we’re currently in the constant singing and repeating-whatever-you-say stage), her understanding/execution of requested tasks and when more of her beautiful personality is revealed during our bonding times. She’s less than four months away from officially turning two and I realised I probably won’t stop applauding her achievements and growth till my last breath. However, with this new development, it poses a bit of a challenge, particularly for those who have an impatient nature, such as myself…
Prior to her birth, I was more of an impatient person. And no, I was not raised as a spoiled brat either — like any natural person, it’s sometimes hard to delay instant gratification and certain expectations. So yes, I underestimated the amount of patience needed to be an active, present parent and partner. No worries though, my daughter made SURE to flip my mindset upside down (and in some ways, making me a better person, somewhat). For all my readers that aspire to be parents or are expecting, that should be Lesson #1. I don’t care where you will gather, nurture or scavenge patience from, but you will need it. And quickly.
Back to the realisation I made about the expectations of this “Growth Level” she’s managed to unlock…
So great, we’re learning, becoming confident and comfortable with using the loo. Great for us as parents because it’s kind of a positive indicator that she’s growing up “properly” and is on the right path to becoming a functioning member of society (also, we’re saving on nappy costs as parents, so that’s a bonus). While this is a proud moment for me, it quickly dawned on me that this means we’re about to start potty training. Training that we need to be a little more… “on-hand” for. This means quite a few things:
- Being MORE present to LISTEN to her when she’s indicating that she needs the loo
- Actively training and encouraging her to signal when she needs to go and at times, to guide her through the process
- Developing a larger reserve of patience to demonstrate understanding and empathy when she may have an accident one day — particularly in an inconvenient place
I’d like to believe I have definitely gained more patience over the past two years and acknowledge that I won’t always be in this zen-like mode of understanding in certain instances. But, I’ll never downplay the importance of exercising patience, whether towards a toddler or an adult. As a result, I’d urge all aspirant or expecting parents to build. that. gauge. up! It will really help with your parenting journey and I believe your kids will be better for it too.
We could all use a little patience from time to time and children are no different. We’ve kicked off potty training this week and strangely enough, I am asking myself eagerly, “What’s next?”, in the possibly never-ending “Growth Levels” we’re yet to unlock.
PopScope is a series where I am focusing on my journey as a father and partner in a challenging (at times), fast-paced landscape, that is South Africa. All posts are personal insights, thoughts and observations made, based on my experience as a (almost) 30-year-old, African man trying to raise a steadfast and fearless girl in an increasingly changing world. I also share some observations on the fintech ecosystem of the developing world at PaySpective. Let’s connect on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.