• I said no to McDonalds pancakes for breakfast.
  • The bacon at home isn’t cold enough.
  • She is not allowed to open new boxes of pasta to test that gravity still works.
  • She cut her toe.
  • She didn’t want a bandaid on the aforementioned injury.
  • She only had one Mickey Mouse Bandaid.
  • She only had two Mickey Mouse Bandaids.
  • She only had three Mickey Mouse Bandaids.
  • She pulled off all three Bandaids.
  • The Bandaids won’t restick.
  • She didn’t want a new Bandaid; she wanted the old Bandaids.
  • It’s wet in the shower.
  • Drying off is apparently painful.
  • Lunch isn’t a hotdog.
  • Getting in the car will make her nap.
  • Only two stuffies were allowed to join her for the nap-inducing drive.
  • She’s falling asleep.

Sometimes I start to lose my patience. It’s easy to feel exasperated when it seems like nothing you do is good enough for a tyrannical toddler.  But the best parenting advice my mother has given me is to parent with empathy.

I, too, have cried over missing McDonald’s breakfast on a rough morning.  I’m not immune to disappointment, pain, frustration, regret, discomfort, insecurity, and exhaustion.  And somewhere in the seemingly endless barrage of tears and complaints there’s a story of a little girl’s morning that didn’t go the way she planned. And if there’s one thing I understand more than anything right now, it’s the frustration of a morning that didn’t go the way I planned.

Sometimes all it takes is a good, long nap to gain some perspective.