Sometimes I hate the way that I’m wired. I don’t know if it’s a ginger thing that has crept into my DNA or if it’s a male thing that I just happen to have or maybe it’s just part of my personality — maybe it’s a trifecta of them all.
This is an awful trait to possess if you are a new parent.
I’m the kind of person who will hand out his Christmas list on Dec. 5 and by Dec. 8 will have bought the things myself. When I send a movie back through Netflix, I can barely stand the 36 hours until I get a new one. I detest golf because for those four hours I am on the course, I am thinking of what I’m going to do when I’m done rather than focusing on each shot. When I want something done, I usually do it myself because I don’t like waiting.
I didn’t realize how impatient I was until our daughter was born.
Cherish every moment, people will tell you.
I’m the person who wants her to be three years old so that she can understand when I tell her to hold still or just sit in her chair for a minute so I can fix something to eat. You think that’s cherishing every moment? You think when she actually is three, you know, in three years, that I won’t want her to be 10 or 20 or some other older age so she can better relate to me? It’s ridiculous how I think.
When I’m feeding her, which is a slow, painful task sometimes because she’ll spot something shiny and turn her attention away, I oftentimes exhale like I’m completely exasperated and these are my final moments on earth. As if my life is so important that an extra 10 minutes is going to affect how I live.
I used to get upset, more so at myself than anything, when changing a diaper and she’s just being a baby and squirming around and it would take an extra 30 seconds to finish the job. I would get pissed at how long it was taking rather than the act of diaper changing, but that was because I just didn’t want to get peed on. Think about that: I’m angry at 30 extra seconds of my life. I’m such a dick.
I’ve gotten a lot better at being patient — at nights I really like feeding her the nighttime bottle as we sit in the chair in her room because time kind of slows down — but I’m worried about when she’s toddling around. Surely she will want to look at a flower, or watch a snail crawl along, or just sit on the grass and watch the clouds float by. And I’ll want to shout: “Honey! Dane Cook! Pay per view! Twenty minutes! Let’s go!” Or I’ll grab her by the hand and just drag her into the car because kickoff is in 20 minutes.
You know what? Fuck kickoff.
That’s the attitude I need to take.
It was Axl Rose who whistled and melodized that all we need is just a little patience. He also said “Feel my, my, my serpentine” in “Welcome to the Jungle” too, so maybe he’s not the best example. But the whistle from the beginning of “Patience” does creep into my head whenever I catch myself being an irascible asshole.
One of the best quotes from “To Kill a Mockingbird” was when Atticus Finch told his kids about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. A nine-month old doesn’t know much and she certainly doesn’t understand about fitting into someone else’s life. So, every day that I develop a little more patience is better for all of us.