10 Completely Batsh*t Things Your Kid Really Hears When You Say “Be Patient”
As a general rule, children do not like to be kept waiting. They are, in fact, terrifically bad at it. It makes sense, though. I mean, they have no real concept of time and for the first five or so years of their lives they're basically pure, concentrated ID. As a result, the idea that they should have to wait to get what they want translates to some truly bizarre concepts about what the word "patient" actually means to a kid.
As a parent, it can be incredibly frustrating to deal with an inpatient child. After all, you've got a lot on your plate. So much, in fact, that it's impossible to cater to each of their whims in real time at all times. (And you know what, kids? Sometimes it's just not time for ice cream and you have to wait until after dinner when some other adult gets home. They can deal with your ridiculous requests, because mom is maxed out.)
That said, I also remember being a child and not being equipped to deal with an adult pace at all. One, because I was a child, and two, because adults often had a different definition of "a little while" than I did. There was no standardization in those days, or at least none I had learned to decipher. Like, you know when your parents would tell you it's time to leave your aunt's house, and then they'd stand in the doorway talking for 20 minutes, and you'd get bored and take off your coat or take out a toy and they're like, "What are you doing? Don't start something new! We're leaving!" Woman, you said that 20 minutes ago! I could have watched an episode of Ninja Turtles in its entirety by now.
My point is that, yeah, we should be mindful of the fact that kids are constitutionally incapable of being as patient as adults (for the most part). It's also more than understandable to acknowledge that, in general, these little monsters don't even know how to begin being patient, because they're convinced "patience" means the following:
"You Should Try Screaming"
And, kids: if you started out this situation screaming, try screaming louder! It's the best way to be patient, no? Just shrieking at the top of your voice, embarrassing your poor parents out in public and causing further damage to their long-suffering ear drums. You may find that, at some point, you forget what it is you're even screaming about. That's OK. It's all part of the process.
Yeah, if my children are to be believed, this is what "be patient" means to them at least a third of the time.
"You Should Whine"
Whether they think whining is what patience means or if whining will somehow speed time, I don't exactly know. Either way, however, I am confident that my kids believe whining is an integral part of being patient. Sometimes the whining is pointed — how boring it is to wait, how unfair it is that they have to wait, when do they get to stop waiting, and how no, they're not whining — but other times it's just a droning, mid-pitched groan/whine that has no discernible purpose except to try to make you lose your damn mind.
"This Will Only Take Approximately Five Seconds"
That's about as long as any degree of patience lasts for my children. Like, they're solid for about five seconds and then they start to wonder why their patience hasn't been rewarded. You know how some dudes out there think you owe them your affection simply because they have the "courage" to call themselves a feminist in public? Once? Because it's "cool"? (Like, apparently if you're not interested in them even after they tell you they've read Simone de Beauvoir you're a frigid b*tch with daddy issues. All of these dudes, incidentally, seem to be on Tinder.) Kids are like that, only they think their five seconds of patience entitles them to whatever they've been waiting for.
It's almost as annoying as the fake feminist boys.
"Time Will Pass Faster If You Keep Asking"
It's like machine gun fire of "Please? Please? Please? Please?" or, "Is it time yet? How about now? Now? Now? Please? Is it time yet?" Like, OK, maybe technically you're being patient but that is the flimsiest of technicalities. It's so, so annoying.
"I Forgot I Said 'Not Now" So You Should Ask Again"
It often feels like my children have the memories of goldfish. If I tell them something and it is forgotten within seconds of them saying "OK!" For example, I can ask my children to please put their toys away, only to have them immediately say "OK" and watch as they stare at their toys on the floor. No one is moving. No toy is moving. It will just continue to sit there, along with every other toy they own, as if I never asked them to do anything at all.
I guess they must assume that since they can't remember anything from one minute to the next that we, as their parents, are similarly amnesiac. Like we would forget that we told them they could have dessert after dinner, even though we made the assertion not three minutes prior. It's sort of cute to see them try to be sneaky and fail so miserably, until they start in on that mid-pitch whine I talked about earlier, which they inevitably will.
"You're A Child Martyr"
So. Much. Sighing. And heaving of the bosom. And woe-is-me declarations. The withering, but softly uttered cries. I swear to God my son needs Beethoven's Seventh playing in the background of everything he does a good 40 percent of his life. So much drama. Such exquisite anguish. Truly, no one has ever suffered quite so much as he has.
Dude, it's been two minutes. I promise we'll play the board game in just a second.
"This Is Never Going To Happen So You Should Cry"
Apparently "be patient" reads to some kids (read: my kids) means, "This is literally never going to happen for you so you should ignore whatever reassurances your mother gives you and fling yourself toward never-ending sorrow with careless abandon. Yours is destined to be a life of denial and anguish, so you might as well make sure the world knows it."
"Your Life Is Extremely Unfair"
No other child in the history of the world has ever had to wait for anything. This is a unique form of torture especially designed for you, kid, for no other reason except to ensure that everyone else gets everything they want and you have to suffer. Why? The Universe has ordained it.
As a result of all this, your child will become old before their time, jaded and world-weary by preschool. Why should they believe in childhood magic when it is clear that they and they alone are never meant to be happy?
"Moms Are The Worst"
Because it's not that mommy physically can't attend to your needs right now, because she's currently engaged in 700 other things (649 of these are, incidentally, also for your benefit, by the bye). Oh no, it's because mommy is secretly against you and never wants you to be happy.
"You Should Spend This Time Plotting Your Revenge"
I'm convinced (with good reason) that when my children wait they spend their time calculating their revenge for having to wait in the first place. Like, "Oh, OK, you have to finish that article before you get up and get me milk. Sure. No problem. *crash* Oh no! Mommy! I spilled this canister of flour! It's all over the kitchen floor! You'd better come clean it up! Oh, and you know, while you're in here, you may as well be a love and get me that milk I was asking for earlier." Sometimes they'll just hold on to their impatient loathing and let their stank attitude crescendo to a coup de grace later in the day. There's no winning, is my point.
Still, when it comes to dealing with your impatient child, I would encourage patience of your own. They'll grow out of it, someday, right?