Glory Days

Dear J-

We had a day off, in terms of child care, yesterday. I’m still not as patient as I need to be; you can’t respond by becoming louder and angrier than a four-year-old, so that doesn’t help, does it? Patience is the eternal watchword, and patience grows from presuming good intentions, not assuming nefarious intent. Let’s remember that. We do not ask for things lightly; we do not always hear explanations correctly, and we definitely do not respond appropriately. And by we I mean I, but am apparently working to make the we a real we as we work up our impatient responses to outrageous indignance. Let us suppose the language of all four-year-olds is foreign; would we then presume that getting louder and slower makes it more intelligible?

If we are yelling then that means one of two things; either we are trying to carry on our conversation in the vicinity of a jet engine, or communications have broken down in some way or another. Given that we’re not prone to hanging out at too many airports lately, that narrows down the possibilities, doesn’t it? I’m learning that my ridiculous premise is in assuming intentions: the kids are yelling at me not to anger me but because I’m not hearing what they’re saying. It’s a downward spiral from there. How long does it take to explain to them just how much longer it will be and please can you wait until we get there because I don’t have forty arms to drive and retrieve what you’ve lost/you need/you wanted ten miles ago?

So yes, patience is the watchword. It is a neverending, thankless task to be worked on — by me, mind you — because our lives have changed, generally for the better, as we have come back to the Bay Area. If it means we have long days of watching the kids on our days off, then that’s what we have to deal with; you play the cards you’re dealt, and even that’s unfair: these are not just the deal, they’re what we wanted, too. Let’s keep that in mind the next time we’re stuck driving and trying to find some entertainment. Let’s also remember how much patience then is rewarded now with the slightly-older kid, and when I didn’t used to yell so much over everything and anything. But mostly, remember the fundamental assumption you’re making by assuming nefarious intent which isn’t there: the kids are not making weapons of mass destruction, the evidence has been faked and it’s my job to see through that.

Mike

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