Why do we have expectations? Why do we put that pressure on ourselves? It’s silly really, thinking that something will turn out one way, or work a particular way, and decide that NO OTHER WAY IS AT ALL POSSIBLE. That’s a very silly way of living life. Especially living life with a toddler.
Take for example my well intentioned idea of trying to keep my house neat and ordered.
See those beautiful shelves. Each with its own darling little toy box. Each toy box filled with a specific grouping of toys. One holds the wooden toys. One holds all the cars and trucks and trains. One holds the stuffed animals. I was well into that idea of minimalistic play. Your child will focus and play with one or two things at a time. An ordered mind, free from chaos. It will help them to develop patience, fine motor skills, focus, a quieter and more thoughtful attitude, and the ability to have a larger and longer attention span.
Now look at my well intentioned idea.
That was taken the first day after the shelves were put in place, so rather it was just a reaction. More than likely Stormaggedon probably just thought “Oo, what are those? I’m going to pull everything out because I can!” It’s not that bad anymore. But now those boxes are no longer sorted. Usually it’s just “Let’s take this off the floor and shove it somewhere out of sight”. Perhaps one day I’ll go back to ordering it again. Perhaps not.
So silly me thought I could try again a little while later with a children’s table.
Look at it. Pristine. Simple. Beautiful. I thought, “He can eat his food here from now on and feel like a big person. Perhaps that will help with his fussiness” (lol, see previous post “Dinner. Again. Why”). And then I thought “He will sit here quietly for craft time, creating lovely pictures, using pencils and crowns, and sometimes paint! Maybe even use his playdough”
Ok, admittedly the table got better use after time, and he does eat there, and he does do his creative craft there. That’s fine.
Yet, I keep having these expectations on how life will be and get completely floored by reactions I did not expect.
We recently took a trip to Townsville to visit my in-laws. It was Stormaggedon’s first plane ride. Leading up to the trip, my first and only worry was how he would be on the flight. We planned to not hang around the airport for too long, we came equipped with an iPad loaded with movies that he could sit and watch. We packed some of his favourite toys and books, and prayed he wouldn’t ask for others once we got to the other end. We brought water and snacks and hoped his ears wouldn’t bother him. I hoped against hope that he wouldn’t get motion sick. Finally the day arrived. He was a little troublesome having to line up and wait for boarding (honestly what’s the point of flying with a small child if the airline decided to not bother with “Any families travelling with small children can now board first”). But once we were on board, he loved it. He loved taking off. He loved sitting next to the window seat. He loved the flight. He loved being able to just watch his movie on his iPad. Everything was perfect, it couldn’t have gone better. Then we got to his grandparent’s house, and something happened that I completed did not expect or plan for. He wanted to go home. Immediately. “Can we go now?” was the question we were faced with for two days straight. “We have to go home now!”
“I want to go home now!”
“I don’t want to be here anymore!”
Oh god, we planned to be here for 5 days. What have we done?! Two and a half days later of tantrums and tears he finally settled in. But I still laugh about it, a month later, thinking that we never even planned for what would happen if he didn’t want to be there when we got there. Suddenly that trip to New Zealand I’m planning for the beginning of next year doesn’t look so wonderful after all.
My advice: never expect anything. The reality will always be the opposite. You live in topsy-turvy land now. Just go with the flow, and try not to spend too much time colour coding your toys.