I think I may have won the Worst Mom of the Year Award this morning.
I've read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Fascinating book! His premise is we're born with a certain level of intelligence/IQ. This can get people far ahead in life. Goleman believes the human view of IQ is far too narrow and society/parents are overlooking the benefits of empathy, patience and understanding that our kids need to be taught. He argues "emotional" intelligence in not fixed at birth. These facets of self awareness, self discipline and empathy can be nurtured and grown from childhood to adulthood.
Four year olds, at least mine, has a hard time understanding "In just a minute!" "Wait till mommy puts Gibby to bed, and then we'll read under the covers with the flashlight." The most trying for me, when I'm on the phone!!!!! "Honey, you see Mom is on the phone, wait until I'm done and then we'll ride your scooter on the sidewalk." Patience. I'm teaching her if she waits, there is a reward.
Lola usually accompanies me to Mass on Sunday. She enjoys having her time with me and loves the choir. She's now kneeling and moving her mouth to the music. We bring coloring books and stickers to keep her occupied. I now let her go to the "potty" by herself at church. I can see the bathroom door down the hallway from the pew I sit in. She proudly marches back with a big grin on her face and a "thumbs up!" which makes the family behind us snicker.
She wanted to stay home with Daddy this morning, so I thought I'd take Gibson. He's come a few times and is always fidgety toward the middle of mass. It's a distraction to me and those around me. Worse comes to worse there is the infant room with toys in the rear of the church and speakers to hear mass and large windows to see up front.
I dressed Gibson and asked Sean to put the car seat in the convertible. Lola heard my heels clicking in the dining room. "Where are you going Mom?" "Mass honey with Gibson." "But I want to go!" I was running a bit late already. "You said you wanted to stay home with Daddy?" "But I want to go now!" It's 10:13 and Mass begins at 10:30. "No, you wanted to stay home, and I don't have time to get you dressed and brush your teeth! I'll be back soon and I'll make blueberry pancakes."
She's standing in her Tinkerbell underwear, her hair in a bedhead wavey crown cascading down her shoulders. Her lower lip balloons out and the tears begin. "Lo, I'm sorry but Mom's got to go!" She races upstairs and starts pulling clothes out of her armoire. "Lo, NO! I don't have time to get you dressed!" She's screaming/crying now. "Alright come on, get up here, but we have to hurry!" I grab the clothes off the floor and start to dress her. She pulls away and heads for the stairs. "Lo! Where are you going?!" She turnes to me, such hurt and anger in her four year old blueberry blue eyes. "YOU ARE MAD AND I DON'T WANT TO GO WITH YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE MAD!" Her accusatory finger is still pointing at me. The polish I painted on her nails last week is wearing off.
She's in Daddy's lap sobbing, her head buried in his chest. He looks at me with disappointment, not as infinite as Lola's but still a look that says "Way to go." I feel like crap, no I feel like shit. I've wounded my little girl and know I am the worst example of patience. My God, she is only four year old! I drop to my knees and hold out my arms. She comes immediately. "Mommy is so sorry, I didn't mean to make you sad. I'm late for church and that is not your fault, of course I want you to come with us." Sean holds Gibson and Lo and I go back upstairs to get dressed.
We're late but I don't care. I buckle them into their car seats. Gibby is sucking on his paci and reaching for Lola across the seat. We sit in the driveway. "Lola, I am really sorry. I don't have patience. It's not your fault and I'm happy you're coming to church with me! I'm sorry I made you cry. You have better patience than Mommy and you are teaching me to be more patient. It's OK if you're upset with me."
I pull the car in reverse and feel sick to my stomach. I look at her in the mirror, she's putting her orange sunglasses on, the wind is whipping her ponytails around. "Mom, I just want to go where you go, that's all." I reach behind me and tickle her knee. "I love you baby, and I'm sorry."