Let's play a game.
What do all these pictures have in common?
Here's the answer: They are all stellar photography.
They are all moments that tried my patience.
Photo A) Gummy emptied the trash can, used a cup to fill it with water from the sink, and got water everywhere. Floating his rubber duckies in it was a little bit brilliant, but it was a huge slippery mess and it was all accomplished in the time I was feeding his new brother.
B) We were at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and trying to get to a performance. Gummy insisted on picking up gravel and slowly letting it slip between his fingers every few feet.
C) I had asked him a million times not to knock over his dad's viola case.
D) I had asked him a million times not to pull books off the shelf.
I can promise you, I didn't take pictures of all of these things because I wanted to remember them (except maybe the first one because in hindsight I can appreciate the creativity involved).
I took them because it helps me develop patience and keeps me from yelling. I know I'm about to snap when I feel my jaw tighten. When that happens it's my cue to take a breath and pick up my phone. I try to take these pictures when Gummy's not aware of me so it doesn't become a reinforcement, and afterwards, he still has consequences. I'm just more calm when I give them out.
Do you have any tricks for keeping your cool around your kids?