The most important lesson I have learned in parenting is this: lower your expectations.
That may sound cynical, but it’s been the key to my not losing it when things don’t go as planned. Take last night, for instance. Steve’s dad and Sue invited us to join them for dinner at a nice restaurant in town. We accepted and met them there, ready to enjoy the evening. I was mentally prepared for the experience to be a gong show, so when things inevitably fell apart, I just laughed about it, instead of running to the bathroom and trying to flush myself head-first down the toilet.
We arrived and I plopped Karenna in a high chair. She looked around and after 1.2 minutes started squawking, “OUT! OUT!” and trying to dive-bomb out of the chair. Then Avelyn spilled her entirely full glass of ice water all over her dress and tights, soaking her to the bone. We stripped off her clothes and had her put on her little trench coat, thus making her look like a junior flasher, ready to expose herself to passers-by. Karenna ran around the restaurant like a rabid badger and Steve and I took turns chasing her. Avelyn, on three occassions, declared loudly, “I have to go POO!” and each time we took her she wouldn’t actually go. Then the meal came and there were about seven minutes of calm while the girls chomped on their chicken fingers. One child was essentially naked, the other trying to run into the kitchen at the back, our own meals cold while we tended to the crazies.
But it was OK. I knew it was going to be a challenge, I kept my cool, and my Penne Primavera was worth the mayhem.
PS: My newest post is up at urbanmoms.ca and it’s all about pregnancy cravings. Stop on by and say hi!