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The patience pie

This year I resolved to be kind to Bun Bun, a resolution that I failed at a mere five minutes after she woke up on New Year’s Day. It seems that I am incapable of getting through a day of caring for my toddler without losing my temper. It’s particularly sad when I do the math, because the portion of my life when I have to hold it together is actually quite small. Let’s take a look.


It’s ONE DAY A WEEK, people, nine hours. Pretty striking, right? A tiny little bit of pie? And then there’s this.


And “other” is pretty much entirely me reading books with her. Not the most inflammatory of activities, right? (Though it can be aggravating when she insists on going backwards just when I’m getting really wrapped up in the plot. It’s like, if we could just fucking get to the part where the spider catches the fly, I’d be happy to go back to the sheep, but the narrative tension is a killer.) So I’ve been feeling like a mean, mean failure.

But hey, the victory is in the trying, right? Perhaps this is what I should be focusing on:


21 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jen #

    I wish I had a witty something or other to make you chortle and say, ah, that’s how I’ll get through it, too. But no. I spend a good portion of my days (red hues) saying out loud, c’mon, man, knock it OFF. To a small child. Who either laughs or cries at it but never knocks it off. I can only figure all is forgiven when he makes KB leave his room during bedtime rituals specifically because he wants mama to sing a special song that only she can sing to him. I win at parenting then. Focus on those moments, I suppose.

    January 12, 2013
  2. I have nothing to say other than I love this.

    January 12, 2013
  3. Law, I needed me some graphs. Thanks for the fix.

    January 13, 2013
  4. Apparently (as my husband so awesomely pointed out), I’ve been saying “I’m done with you” to my girls in utter frustration lately. Like you, my slice of the solo parenting pie chart is small. So as much as I’d like to give you some words of wisdom here, I can’t. Because you and I? Same boat. Same insane toddler-seas we’re trying to stay afloat in here. I figure as long as we don’t give up trying, we’ll make it through – and do minimal damage along the way.

    January 13, 2013
  5. Very Busy Spider, right? The suspense of that book kills me every time!

    Damn, it’s depressing to see the proportions like that. Though in fairness, I do think you need to do a chart in perceived time as well. For example, the fifteen minutes right before we go out are at least three times as long as the twenty minute car journey.

    January 13, 2013
  6. Mmmmm pie…

    I’d say your stats look pretty good, and I’m envious of the amount of time you get to spend reading books – Monkey still has zero interest in that since it involves sitting still.

    I don’t really have anything helpful to say, unless its helpful to point out that in the long run she won’t remember this. Not helpful? Yeah that’s what I thought…

    January 13, 2013
    • I think that actually IS helpful. I should keep trying because it makes me feel awful to be unkind to her, but in the end, not lose too much sleep over it.

      January 15, 2013
  7. Misfit Mrs #

    I feel that I will learn by listening. I am already cranky at times with my growling grabby 7 month old. My guess is that you will be that mean mama if you didn’t at least try. As a woman with zero patience, any attempt to acquire it is worthy of great praise.

    January 13, 2013
  8. SRB #

    Yep. This looks exactly like my life. I am going to take a guess on the book: The Very Busy Spider? Because HGB doesn’t give a fuck about the spider AT ALL. He just needs to get to the rooster, and then it is OVER.

    January 13, 2013
  9. you make me feel ok that i’ve basically stopped blogging because, well, you’re blogging my life for me! my mother spent most of my childhood telling me that “patience is a virtue.” well, i’ve never claimed to be virtuous and being a parent hasn’t helped me gain one iota of patience. so i find it ironic that what frustrates me most about my children – one of the pair in particular – is his lack of patience 🙂 Lately i’m in the habit of narrating my frustration to him in a very calm, sing-songy voice. “No, bean, Mama can’t pick you up right now because both of her hands are busy making the dinner that you’re going to throw on the floor in ten minutes.” It doesn’t stop his whining, clinging, tugging, “up up up” chant and it doesn’t make me feel any better about his doing that or about my inability or just lack of desire to pick him up up up at that moment. But it helps fill the vocal space during that time with something other than “GAH just stop for TWO GODDAMN SECONDS, will you!?” And that’s worth something, i suppose.

    January 13, 2013
  10. I love me some pie. Visuals that help me feel less alone. It’s hard for me to remember this living breathing talking ball of cutie pie isn’t even two yet and I need to give him a break. I get you.

    I lose my shit over Thomas the train. He wants to go to the page with the tunnel. I find myself acting more like a 20 month old than he does. Then he holds his brothers hand and I’m instantly over it.

    January 13, 2013
  11. lady pumpkin #

    I heart you and your pie. And I suspect things are going to get a lot more challenging when I have a toddler on my hands. Oy. You will make it through! And so will I.

    January 14, 2013
  12. Bahhaa I always love when you break things down in pies for me…it also makes me want to eat pie. I hate going backward in books too! Or if Jack grabs another book and is like ‘fuck that one, let’s read this one instead!’ and I was liking the first one….sigh.

    January 14, 2013
  13. oh be still my beating heart, you and your pie charts. I think I will die if you ever post a histogram from SPSS.
    Ok, so what about the chart (perhaps a scatter plot since we would be dealing in correlation) that shows the perception of unkindness towards Bun Bun versus the actual unkindness. I think we’d be looking at a fuzzy cloud of dots. Not a line. No ma’am. You know, I’m pretty sure that yelling at your toddler in your head doesn’t count as unkindness. But I’m guessing here. I respect your resolution, even if it looks like I’ve just made fun of it with statistics.

    January 15, 2013
    • Thank you for that interesting question. I don’t have any data that bear directly on it, but I can tell you that we found a significant correlation between toddler anger and maternal anger (r(102) = .99, p < .01). particularly when considering certain types of events, such as diaper changes, the application of pyjamas, and clinging to Mama's legs when she needs to GET SHIT DONE. However, I should stress that causality (maternal anger leads to toddler anger or vice versa) cannot be established. And, interestingly, when those classes of events are removed, the correlation is no longer significant. I think, taken together, these results suggest that toddlers are fucking rough and Mama is doing the best she can. Next question?

      January 15, 2013
      • Dear Professor Bunny,
        Since you liked my question so much, would it be possible for you to consider writing me a reference letter for grad school?
        Thank you,
        your humble student.

        January 17, 2013
  14. God, I do love your charts. Probably for the same reason I like making lists. It makes it all feel somehow…manageable. Even vicariously so.

    Anyway, based on those charts? I would say you are doing a stellar job.

    (PS: I had a good laugh about the spider/fly/sheep.)

    January 15, 2013
  15. I wonder about that “following me around while I do chores” bit. Is it “following me around while I do chores, happily engaged in entertaining herself” or is it “following me around while I do chores, whining in a pre-verbal state, begging me to read to her, or simply unhappy that I keep leaving the room she’s in and that it’s so much work to trot after me only to have me turn around and return to the room she was in, *wail* it’s so hard to keep up with mom, I just want to be near her!”? If it’s the latter, that requires far more effort in the KST realm than the former. After one particularly bad day last week, I ended up huddled on the floor next to the radiator in the bedroom (the farthest I could get away from her while she cried in her crib) staring blankly at the wall for about 20 minutes before I could stomach being a parent again.

    January 20, 2013
    • Oh man, this brought tears to my eyes because I so empathize with BOTH parties. It must be so awful to have the object of desire constantly evading one’s grasp, and moving so quickly, too. But OH, how hard it is to be that object of desire all the damn time. It used to be a ton of the latter, but these days it’s more and more of the latter, or some hybrid thing where she requires a little interaction, but not much, and can actually help with some tasks in a charming way, etc. Anyway, I clink my glass against yours over the shared experience of blank wall staring.

      January 22, 2013
  16. I don’t know, man. I think you’re managing okay. Toddlers are CRAY. Last week I stomped off into the bathroom and threw my own teary tantrum after a particularly intense bout of toddler mutiny. It’s haaaaaaard.

    January 21, 2013
  17. I’m here, just saying hi. Nothing of value to add because I have zero knowledge on toddlers but I have to agree with Augusta: percieved vs actual would be a good basis for the next study.

    January 27, 2013

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