Lessons from a coffee stained top

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most patient mum in the world. In fact, I’ve lost my cool at Sophie so often that Alexis has to remind me not to be so harsh when I lecture her.

At times, I forget that as much as she wants to assert her independence, my little toddler still needs help in simple tasks which I take for granted. At meal times, it’s not uncommon that she still spills food on the table and sometimes even end up with juice on her dress. I’ll get mad at her for making a mess and scold her for being careless. In the past, she used to react by crying, a self defense mechanism to avoid being  scolded further. But these days, she’ll snap back at me shouting, “It’s an accident. I didn’t mean it!”

I know who she’s got that tone from and I’m not proud that I’ve been setting such a bad example in front of her.

A few weeks ago, I applied for leave to accompany her on her school excursion. But before that, I bought a take away coffee so that I can get perked up before we made our way to the Air Force Museum. As I sipped on my coffee, I didn’t realised that coffee had seeped from the side of the cover and leaked onto my top. I immediately jumped up and hurried to the toilet to get it cleaned, hoping that it wouldn’t leave a stain.

As I wiped at my coffee stain furiously, it suddenly occurred to me that even I as a thirty something year old could be so careless and make such a boo boo, what more a three-year old. At that moment, I was so overcome with guilt that my eyes were moist with tears as I reflected about how often I must have crushed Sophie’s spirits when I was unduly harsh to her.

After I emerged from the toilet, I promised to be a more patient mum and to remember that Sophie is a little girl who’s still figuring out about how many things work. She may not be capable of having full control of her emotions but I can certainty be a role model for her.

Sophie didn’t know about my little accident but I’m thankful that my coffee that morning more than woke up my sleepy head but also my senses so that I can be a better mum.

By the way, do let me know if you’ve got a good tip on removing coffee stains because the lesson has been learnt and having a coffee stain just ain’t cool.



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Comments: 22

  1. Angie S. May 14, 2013 at 9:30 am Reply

    Lovely anecdote from a coffee-stained top…I have to admit I have been rather short fused and impatient as a Mom and I’m not proud of it…Would definitely need more such reminders to knock some senses into me too. Thanks for sharing….

    • Susan May 15, 2013 at 8:49 am Reply

      I used to think that twos and threes were difficult but it seems they keep presenting different challenges as they grow older.

  2. Regina May 14, 2013 at 11:48 am Reply

    Thanks for this reminder, Susan! So often we’re just too focused on teaching them ‘what’s right’ and ‘what’s wrong’ that we forget to let them just be themselves and simply guide them along.

    As you said, it often takes a wake up call to make us realize that even as adults, we are prone to make mistakes, what more these kids, who are still developing their skills in every aspect of their lives!

    That coffee certainly was more than just a ‘wake up’ call! 🙂

    Try this method:

    Soak the stain in a solution of 1 quart warm water and 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing detergent for 15 minutes.

    Rinse well with water.

    Next, sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol.

    Rinse and allow to dry.

    Might work… although since its an old stain, the chance of it remaining there will be high.

    • Susan May 14, 2013 at 7:51 pm Reply

      Thanks for your stain removal tip, Regina. This was certainty a case of a much needed “wake up” call for me.

  3. Winnie May 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm Reply

    Lovely… I often lose my cool at EV as well, for making a mess when eating, or just not doing things that I ask her to. Then she’ll give me that ‘look’, then I’ll scold her again. Hubby says I’m getting very naggy. Hahaha… But yet, I’m always reminding myself to be patient. Not easy though. Don’t you agree?Thanks for sharing!

    • Susan May 15, 2013 at 8:37 am Reply

      Yes, I agree it’s not easy. I’m still a work in progress in that area.

  4. Corsage @ A Dollop Of Me May 14, 2013 at 2:07 pm Reply

    Thanks for the reminder! It is easy to get frustrated with our kids esp when what they do involve a huge mess when we are outside. Recently Bubs knocked over my entire glass of iced coffee and it spilled all over my legs from my shorts to my feet. I was SO.MAD. But I calmed down when she repeatedly apologised and the wait staff came to help clean up!

    • Susan May 15, 2013 at 8:53 am Reply

      My first reaction is always to jump and I guess I tend to over react too. It’s only when I see her reaction that I realise how badly I behave and it’s a call for me to change my ways

  5. Mommy Chuck May 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm Reply

    I get agitated as well when meal times become messy! It’s amazing how much we can learn from the little things that happen in our daily lives.

    • Susan May 16, 2013 at 9:30 am Reply

      Indeed, indeed!

  6. Alicia - Beanie N Us May 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing openly. It happens to all of us too! Dumpling made an off handed remark the other day saying that if I do not do a certain activity for her, she would not nap! Wah! Where did you think she got that from? I too did not realise that we may not know it but we too make the same ‘mistake’. Head out for a Mum and Sophie date soon and you will feel better! 🙂

  7. Homeschool@sg May 14, 2013 at 2:47 pm Reply

    I always remember a montessori book I read which touch on about little accidents like spillage by our kids. Instead of reprimanding & pointing to the child that she made a mistake see it as an opportunity to teach them practical life skill. Like when a child spills something, don’t have to scold them, instead teach them where to get the rag & show them how to clean up. The next time, the kid will learn what she should do. It proved to be quite true for my son. Now with each spillage, he knows he’s to clean up. (though I do get annoyed from time to time!). Hope this helps to change perspective!

  8. qiu xian May 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm Reply

    A touching reminder, I can almost visualize you having that epihany in the toilet! You can try vinegar or baking soda to rid the stains. A few table spoons of vinegar with detergent, soak and wash. For stubborn stains, can try soaking overnight before washing, hope it helps!

  9. Ing May 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm Reply

    You’re not alone. I’ve lost count of the number of times when I wasn’t patient with my kids. I’d feel really guilty after each time, too. Thanks for this reminder. Love this post!

  10. Jasmine May 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm Reply

    Thanks for your honest sharing! A good reminder for us all.

  11. Adora May 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm Reply

    A coffe stained top may not look cool but it will forever seve as a Constant reminder! All the best in your journey toward zen-ness! Ommmmm….

    • Susan May 16, 2013 at 9:32 am Reply

      I got to take that orange rhino challenge too!

  12. Rachel May 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm Reply

    I’m full of guilt after reading your post Susan! But thankful of this as a good reminder, that we might not be the prefect and always patient moms but we’re going to do our best in setting a good example. Our kids are our mirror.

  13. Zee May 15, 2013 at 3:16 am Reply

    Love this post Susan 🙂 thank you for sharing and for the reminder!

  14. Rina May 15, 2013 at 9:59 am Reply

    Oh oh Susan, I am so with you in this. Great reminder. I still have a lot to learn to be more patient with the boys.

  15. Sisters From Another Mister May 18, 2013 at 12:04 am Reply

    i have to remind myself all of the time, my patience is so lacking with my youngest …

  16. Kim at Mama Mzungu May 18, 2013 at 4:13 am Reply

    That’s such a good reminder. But we all do it – we lose patience with our kids because we forget how chaotic and difficult the world is. I’m right there with you!

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