Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Expectations

Life is so much easier when I know what to expect.  I bet the same is true for you, too.

In fact, most disappointments seem to arrive when an expectation--conscious or not--has failed.

This is definitely true in childrearing.  And as we all know, if it's true for kids, it's true for us too.  I don't think adults are more highly evolved.  Just take my husband's new tooth brush for instance.  It's not only a very high tech apparatus to help keep him squeaky clean, but it also comes with a nifty alarm clock that tells him where to bush and for how long.  Isn't that what we are trying to teach Eloise to do by herself?  Anyway, I'm not dogging my sweet Alex on this because I know it's true for us all.  We know what we ought to do (brush for 2 minutes and floss and be nice to everyone and never lose our patience....) but we often fail at it.  I'm the worst flosser in the world.

Anyway, when Eloise knows what to expect, she responds so nicely.  Like at night I'll say, "Eloise we are going to eat dinner, take a bath, put on our PJs, brush our teeth, read 3 books, and go to bed."  She loves that.  She knows what's coming next.  And she (mostly) cooperates.  On more chaotic or abnormal nights, she's loopy.

And it's true in our marriage.  If Alex and I successfully communicate, and I know he's taking out the trash and I'm finishing the dishes, I am a happy camper.  I had my expectations fulfilled.  And bingo.  We're all happy.  But if we fail to communicate, I'm angry.  I'm thinking, "why didn't that stinker take the trash out..blah blah blah..."  Well, he didn't because he didn't know I expected him to.  What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Or, you are on vacation.  You expect the resort to be super fancy with a water slide and poolside service.  You show up and yuck.  It's disgusting.  You're ticked.  It's not what you expected.  I wish I had a nickel for every time I think "it's not what I expected..."

In summary, children need to know what to expect.  They crave consistency and structure.  They feel secure when they know what's happening next.  And I'm the same way.  I need structure.  I need to know what to expect.  And I need to communicate that, not just to my daughter but to myself and my whole family.

2 comments:

Willa J. said...

There's nothing like the classroom to teach you this, as I'm sure you know. :)

Tessa said...

So true Emily!