Sunday, January 03, 2010

Patience in 2010

Isn't it strange how we can be so very patient with our friends but extremely short-fused with those closest to us, in particular, our other half? I'm now under close scrutiny by Brian not to quarrel with Eddie at the slightest trigger.

The other night, Brian, Eddie and I had headed to a mall so I could log on to the internet. Now Eddie likes to shop AND window-shop, I don't. Therein lies the problem. I'm perfectly happy to wait for him while he browses IF I had a place to sit and surf. Unfortunately, on the last day of 2009, internet was down at the entire mall. I enquired at 3 different restaurants and they all said there was free wifi, unfortunately, it was 'rosak' (spoilt).

So Brian and I sat at a fast-food restaurant and waited for Eddie while he shopped at Guardian. After what to me was a long time, he came to us and said he wanted to buy ice-cream at Tesco's. I said we could easily buy ice-cream on our drive home at a 7-11 near my place. He insisted on going into Tesco's. In fact, he wanted us to shop with him. We said we'll wait for him at the restaurant.

Many, many, minutes later, I was starting to get frustrated when there was still no sign of his return. that time I had gone without internet for about 18 hours...going cold turkey was taking its toll on my sanity. I wanted to get home as quickly as I could and hoped to surf through my neighbouring kopitiam's wifi (they're closed for the day but they had given me the password).

So I grumbled to Brian, "Seelah, your daddy, always taking so long, so darn inconsiderate..." Brian grimaced and said, "You're not gonna quarrel with Daddy again, are you?" I turned to him and asked, "Are you saying it's my fault if we quarrel?" He answered, "No, but do you have to quarrel?"

I sat back and thought it through. A minute before, if Eddie had returned, he would have been met with a face darker than a thunderstorm's cloud, and I'd be grumbling and huffing about how long I'd been waiting. I can't predict what his reaction could be, depending on the mood, it could be a laugh and a "sorry" which I would have brushed off, or it could be a scowl and "WHAT! I told you to come along what..." and then the argument starts.

Instead, I retraced my line of thinking. I was assuming that if we went back home quickly, I would have access to the internet, even though I knew chances of that was miniscule, cos I had tried accessing the kopitiam's wifi before we went out and I couldn't. Chances are internet was down for most places. So I was huffing and impatient to go home for nothing. Instead of getting angry, I could just relax and enjoy the mall's airconditioning. After all, I was in a comfortable sofa, and could still play some games on my computer.

I explained my thoughts to Brian and told him I was choosing not to get angry, cos really, there was nothing to be upset about. And I told Brian he should do the same exercise too whenever he feels the urge to argue with me! I'm setting good example was a 'teaching moment'. He said he would.

Right after we spoke, Eddie returned, smiling and laughing and apologising for being late as he had to go to the toilet. So he wasn't being (that) inconsiderate or taking too long with shopping, he was taking a dump :) There could easily have been an argument...for nothing. I'm always telling Brian and Sean how we can't control what others do, we can only control our reactions. So it was very much 'practising what I preach' in how I treat those closest to me.

And I hope Brian learns from what I'm trying to practise too. Today, we (mother and son) had an argument over something so trivial, it's unbelievable. It's extremely hard to practise patience when faced with the warped logic of a teenager/preteen. Even my mum said he's so argumentative these days. And he is arguing in the most calm voice too, which gets my goat, cos I always argue with a raised voice, and there's a Japanese proverb that goes something like, "The one who shouts first loses the argument."

I don't know if I'll really be able to practise taking a step back and trying to be logical every time I feel like strangling someone, but if I don't, I know I have a hawk watching over me. But remember, I'm watching you too, Brian!


* Eddie never got the ice-cream that day, I don't remember why.
** Indeed, when we got back home, I couldn't log on to the internet, so I went cold turkey for a total of almost 30 hours! Unbelievable!
*** Besides the restaurants at Tesco's, almost everywhere else in Malacca's malls has free wifi, I later discovered. In Tesco's there's Marrybrown, Secret Recipe, Kenny Rogers etc. At Melaka Mall, there's Marrybrown (different password from the one at Tesco's, I know them both so if ever anyone needs it :)). At Jusco, there's wifi at KFC and McD, no password needed. I only tried these few places, and I'm sure there's free wifi in the town centre's malls too (Mahkota Parade and Dataran Pahlawan).


Elan said...

Dear Lillian,
My diagnosis for that day - sounds like an Internet addict with serious withdrawal symptoms!
But seriously, thank you for writing that all down, I am very much guilty of similar arguments with hubby over trivial things too. Yes, we often do to the our nearest and dearest what we would never dream of doing to a friend, when we should actually be taking MORE care.
Hope you'll be able to develop the take 1 step back habit in 2010. Inspiring me to try too.


Lilian said...

Hahaha, I think internet addiction has to recorded as a real medical condition! The withdrawal symptoms really drove me bonkers.

It's really hard, this take 1 step back habit, but gotta try. I'm already 40, time to mellow a bit :) Sometimes, I know I'm being irrational, but all I want to do is just continue being irrational and rant and rave.

By the way, in the past Brian used the word 'argue' for what Eddie and I call 'heated discussions' :) he uses the stronger word 'quarrel'...I guess things must have escalated, at least in his eyes. I think everything is magnified in a teenager's brain. Maybe I'm doing this more for him than for me and/or Eddie.

monlim said...

30 hours without internet is enough to drive anyone insane, IMO!!

But it's very very brave and honest of you to share this, I'm also guilty of picking quarrels over the most stupid and meaningless things. When my kids fight, I get mad and tell them off but I do exactly the same thing! Sometimes with no more reason than the fact that I'm moody or busy or whatever lah.

Thank you for sharing - I hope this consciousness does smoothen out things between you and Brian, just tell yourself the teen years don't last forever!

Lilian said...

Actually, I think I'm already very patient when it comes to Brian. He just has very high expectations of me. Eg, when I say something to Eddie, and Brian didn't hear it, he'll ask what I said, and I have to tell him what I said even if I don't feel like repeating my story.

Yesterday, my mum was telling me a story in the car, and when he asked her what she said, she didn't reply, the next thing was, "Mummy, what did porpor say?" I just didn't feel like telling him, cos I was thinking, Why do you always have to ask me? (also at the time I was covering my nose cos Sean had just let out a very stinky fart)

I still think I was right. He tried to turn it against me by saying since I don't want to tell him anything, don't be surprised if he doesnt talk much next time. Later on, when I tried to revive the 'discussion', it was a circular argument, I went, "Why did you have to ask me?" He went, "Why couldn't you just tell me?" "Why couldn't you just ask porpor?" "I did, she didn't answer me!" "Then that's between you and her, why did you have to ask me?" "But why couldn't you just tell me?"....repeat mode on.

Tak boleh tahan! Till now, we haven't resolved this.

By the way, the story was about a neighbour who goes to this place with a goldfish, and this lady touched the goldfish and kept striking 4D after that hahaha. Since it was about 4D, my mum didn't really wanna talk about it to him. As for me, the story is just too ridiculous to bear repeating at the time.

See how silly and trivial the source of our HUGE argument was! Absolutely ridiculous. Actually, he kept saying he had forgotten about the argument and I was the one who kept bringing it up. Cos I want closure mah...and resolution. We never resolved it, but it was still hugs and kisses by bedtime and all is well again today...till the next BIG ONE! *shudder*

monlim said...

Aiyoh, I totally know what you mean! I hate it when I say something really trivial and L-A doesn't catch it, she'll bug me, "What did you say?" I'll say "nothing". Then she'll instantly think I'm keeping something from her and keep badgering me, "WHAT DID YOU SAY???" until I snap at her. Then we'll both be very grouchy, taking turns to snap at each other.

Somebody tells me this gets better with time!

Lilian said...

hahaha...thank goodness I am not alone facing this! Thing is he does this badgering of "What did you/daddy/etc say?" mostly to me. It's just very annoying, like a mosquito buzzing near my ear, and all I wanna do is just swat it away!

Elan said...

Oh that sounds EXACTLY like Chris! This: "Mummy, what did you say?" or even " Mummy, what did Daddy say?" (why can't he ask DADDY that?). It always happens in the car, when I am talking quietly to my husband and not really talking to him, and it can be pretty trivial, not always/ really that we want to hide it from them but just that it disrupts the flow of the conversation to repeat the whole thing to him, then pick up your trend of thought and carry on or it was so silly or trivial. But if I say "nothing important" he will still ask and ask and still disrupt the conversation.
It's annoying because:
1. He won't let go unless I snap at him, then he sulks - which isn't nice and I try to avoid.
2. WHY is it when I am trying to tell him something directly and talking loud enough for him to hear, he acts like he didn't hear anything and doesn't ask for a repeat?

I was wondering it it could be that teenage boys ears are tuned to a lower frequency and they really can't hear female voices properly? Then how come he can hear when we are talking about something we don't want him to hear in very quiet voices while he and his brother are loudly discussing something else? Anyway, LA isn't a teenage boy so that cancels my theory! My younger boy is 11 and doesn't do this though.

Perhaps the older child just wants to feel like an adult and participate in adult's conversations (...but only if they feel like it?. Older children may feel more grown up and therefore feel they should not be left out of what adults are discussing.


Lilian said...

Lol! What did we do to deserve this bunch of 12-year old tyrants? haha. And you're right, it's always in the car. Your first para describes exactly what always happens in the car, and why I'm reluctant to repeat.

They definitely want to be included, maybe they count themselves as part of the adults in the family.

Actually, Brian should understand cos when he and I are talking, Sean will also want to know what we're talking about, and Brian would be the one resisting, saying "It's nothing Sean" or "You won't understand Sean".

Anyway, I find all this too funny. Glad I shared, now I don't feel so alone!

ladyb said...

hmmm...what you guys were talking abt happened to my boy when he was still pretty small...maybe ard 8 yrs old...of course luckily my "mommy power" still powerful enough to subdue him. hiak haik hiak. Godd to know i m not alone and my boy is "normal" :-)

Anonymous said...

Lilian, thanks for sharing. This post is exactly what I needed. I have been pretty short temper for the past weeks and would snap at my hb or my gals for the smallest thing.

I was also unable to surf for the 1st 2 days of this week, not because there was no internet access, but because I couldn't find time for it. I was so upset....

Now, got to do catching up of all your posting... ;-P


Lilian said...

Hugs Chris. I think it's just starting of school year stress. Things will get better. Hope your little one has settled well in school.