This picture was taken by our daughter, Meredith, when she was age five last spring. We were shopping for some groceries. I try to be a good role model of patience when I can. But today, I had a funny moment of truth.
We were playing Pick Up Sticks. By the way, Meredith is quite good at this game. We think she could have a future as a surgeon some day. After several tries, I could not get a single stick when out of the blue, in front of my now six-year-old, I had a mini-temper tantrum. No, I didn't yell or scream or flail my arms. I just rather subtly, but not subtly enough, used my tool stick to stir up the sticks that lay precariously so that at my next turn, I'd have some kind of chance to pick up a damned stick.
Yes, Meredith's mouth dropped, she smiled, laughed and said to me, "I've never seen you do that before."
"Mommy had a little temper tantrum. I'm sorry." I said then laughed because, it all happened so fast and I didn't even realize that my competitive streak was so close to the surface. I mean really, did I have to beat my six-year-old at this game? Had I forgotten the importance of building up her self-esteem and praising her steady hands, a skill I think can serve her future? Am I trying to be the grand master at Pick Up Sticks? To my credit, we've played this game before many times and Meredith usually wins, and I happily give her a high five and congratulate her with words of praise and smiles, but for some reason today, I couldn't hack it.
My competitive streak showed, BIG TIME, to my daughter.
I hope she learned that everyone can lose it, even mommies who are supposed to lead by example. Meredith has certainly had her share of temper tantrums. And I've certainly had my share of lectures on advising how to calm down. But obviously I showed her that I agreed that losing is not fun.
At least laughing at myself is more important than always being perfect with my daughter. Maybe I showed her how to forgive herself when she makes mistakes. We all make mistakes. Let's hope that's part of her take away.