I realised today just how often I say 'in a minute' or 'not yet' or 'just let me finish' to my children. Particularly Will. This is partly because a new born has needs that must be met and can't soothe herself as easily. Sometimes I'm feeding her, or changing her nappy and I can't drop everything to come and look at the ladybug he's found or the train track he's built.
Sometimes though, it's because I want to finish my tea in peace, or the article I'm reading or just ring a friend.
Not that any of these things in themselves is wrong. It is right that my children learn the world is not revolving around them and that they must wait patiently sometimes.
The problem is when they do wait patiently. What is my response? Do I reward their behaviour by swiftly finishing up what I'm doing and joining them in whatever it is they want to show me? Or do I think, 'okay, he seems to have forgotten about it. I can get on with the next thing and he won't notice.'
Then, when he eventually does notice and asks again I say 'oh sorry, coming now'. What I have just re-enforced is that only when he nags me will I respond.
He's learnt that waiting patiently never gets rewarded and if he wants mummies attention he has to repeat his request over and over at regular intervals to remind me.
I'm teaching him to nag.
So I'm making it my new resolution to stick to my word strictly. If I say one minute, I will be exactly one minute. If I mean ten minutes, I need to say ten minutes.
And if realistically I have a million and one things to do and I just don't want to come and look...
... I will die to myself a little, go with him.