There are some people in this world that think money is the most valuable commodity. Then there are other people who are quick to get all Judgey McJudgerson on the money people and say, it’s NOT about the money, the most valuable commodity is time (these people always have a lot of money). You hear these people saying annoying things like, “Time just goes by so fast… the years slip by so quickly… blah, blah, blah.” (To those people I say, come spend the morning at my house and you’ll see two hours turn into a LIFETIME.)
Anyway, both of those groups of people are wrong. The truest most valuable commodity in life is clearly… tequila.
I kid! (Slamming down shot glass.)
The truest most valuable commodity is – wait for it – patience. (Starting now, please picture me writing this in a lotus position with incense burning behind me. That’s not at all the scene here, but I’d like you to picture it that way.)
Anyway, patience. As a society, we have very little. We have cell phones because we can’t wait until we get home to call our friend and bitch about how slow the barista (anyone else have a very hard time calling them that?) was at Starbucks today. We have DVRs because we can’t possibly sit through commercials.* We have convection ovens to cook faster, express check-out buttons so we can buy crap online faster… we even have Facebook so that we don’t have to wait for our college reunions to find out what all those people we were never really friends with have been up to since graduation.**
Yet as a parent, patience (+ tequila) is just about the key to survival… for kids of every age.
- Newborns scream → you need patience to not become one of those scary shaken baby statistics.
- Toddlers mess with all of your stuff → you need patience not to grab your camera/pen/coffee mug/shoe/wallet/sunglasses/french fries out of their grubby little hands and scream, “That’s MINE!” (Ooooooh, maybe that’s where my kids got that.)
- Preschoolers test. Like it’s their JOB. (Well, I guess it is kind of their job. One they’re really f***ing good at. ) → you need patience to not yell, “If you say ‘NO!’ one more time, I’m going to [fill in awful unacceptable parental action here… I don’t want to tell you what I say just in case DYFS is reading].”
- And Kindergarteners? Well, Kindergarteners learn how to read.
I imagine the process of helping a Kindergartener how to read is a little like teaching your teen how to drive (maybe slightly less terrifying because “Hop on Pop” can’t kill you… but make no mistake, it can still DAMAGE YOUR BRAIN). Both require infinite patience. And deep yoga breathing. And Xanax.
Every night, when my daughter and I sit down to read, I take a deep breath, put on my best [fake] “I’d totally rather be doing this than watching “Project Runway”” smile and then duct tape my hands to my lap so that I won’t grab the book out of her hand and just read it myself.
Here are the things you can usually hear me saying multiple times during reading time.
- “Come on, you know this word, we’ve seen this one on every single page.”
- “Really? You don’t know this one? It only has two letters.”
- “But you just read that one three seconds ago!”
- [Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale]
- “I don’t know why words have silent Es… I wasn’t actually there when this language was invented.” (And if I were, I certainly wouldn’t have allowed words like moist and navel to make it out of the room.)
Side note to kid: Honey, when you’re old enough to read this (and I really hope that’s sometime before you’re 12), you should know that all of this was really MY problem, not yours. You know, it wasn’t you, it was ME. You should also know that if any guy ever tells you that, it’s a load of BS. Love you!
I lose my patience a lot. And you know what’s funny? Sometimes I warn my kids ahead of time. I’ll actually say, “Guys, I’m starting to lose my patience now…” and you know what else? They could NOT. CARE. LESS. They just go on doing whatever it is they are doing that’s pissing me off. But you know what does work? Threats. And bribes.
So maybe threats and bribes are the most valuable commodities. Huh. I’m going to stock up on lollipops and M&Ms now.
PS. When I started writing on this theme, I had a few others contenders for MVC: coffee, sleep, babysitters, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Benadryl and wine all made the list. Please feel free to cast your vote by leaving a comment.
**Anyone else think, that because of Facebook, reunions should be a thing of the past? What’s the point? I’ve seen you, I’ve seen your kids, I know how long your commute is, I know you love cheese… what’s left to discuss?