I bark at her.
I do it often. More often than I really want to admit. More often than I ever thought I would.
Take your hands out of your mouth!
Don’t put your fingers in your nose!
Don’t slam the cabinet door!
Just. Stop. Moving. For. One. Second!
And take your hands out of your mouth!
I am critical. And I can be harsh with it.
I do it without thinking. Without really noticing what she is doing. Yesterday I looked down at her strapping a diaper onto her baby doll and without hesitation yelled at her. I thought she had taken the nighttime diaper I had set out for her and all I could think of was whether or not I could still use that diaper and that I’d probably have to go get a new one and that she didn’t even ask me if she could take it and she just thinks she can walk around and take whatever she wants.
But then I glanced up. And sitting on the chair, untouched, was the diaper I had set out for her. She hadn’t taken it.
I looked back down at her big, brown eyes staring up at me.
And I felt awful.
I melted to the ground next to her. And I apologized.
“I’m so sorry. I should not have yelled at you. I’m so sorry. You didn’t take that diaper.”
“This is Baby’s diaper.”
“Yes. That is Baby’s diaper. I’m so sorry. Hug?”
She smiled and leaned in for a hug.
And just like that. I’m forgiven.
But it won’t always be this easy. Especially if I keep barking, it won’t always be this easy. Soon enough she’ll begin to interpret my snap-decision barking as an absence of trust. Or compassion. Or understanding. Or worse.
Every morning I pray for patience. I pray for the strength to take a few seconds and a deep breath before reacting. I pray for the presence of mind it takes to remember that she is only 2. She is learning. She is learning more from the bark itself than the contents of the bark.
I don’t think I’ve made it through a day bark-free just yet. I’m getting there. Old habits die hard, they say. But new habits don’t fade too easily either.
Linking up with Shell at Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out.