Am I an indulgent parent? I really don’t think so, but I rarely say, “no” to a reasonable request. It sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?
We have worked diligently on managing expectations – the kids have figured out what will and won’t fly. It’s not perfect though. The system still breaks down. They are children and they have an obligation to push back.
But, it breaks down more frequently with one of my children in particular. She talks like she gets it, but then……..Bam!
“Yes, you can have a stuffed giraffe. No, you cannot have a real giraffe.”
“Yes, you can have a pair of Converse in every color. If you want them, you buy them or ask for them as birthday/Christmas gifts.”
This and other similar examples are where we have successfully managed expectations.
Where has it broken down? She thinks I’m her personal chauffeur just sitting around awaiting her next instructions. (I have absolutely nothing else to do.)
In response to me saying, “no” to taking her to the mall at the last minute: “When you have kids, that’s your job.”
In response to me being agitated with her for not helping me find a lacrosse carpool (practice every day M-F during dinner): “Why did you even have kids?”
After grabbing my head to stop it from spinning and separating from my body and after popping my eyes back into my skull, I mull over these statements of hers and determine that her sentiment can be summed up as such:
“In having kids, you are explicitly entering into a binding contract which means you will do the bidding of said kids and give up any chance of having a life of your own until such time said kids can manage on their own which could be until they’re in their late 20s.”
Holy crap! Why did I have kids? Now, I’m not sure. Maybe I was young and stupid (I clearly did not read the fine print). Damn you, biological clock and propagation of the species!
Regardless of the reason, we have them and we can’t send them back.
Where did I go wrong with this one? I’m befuddled. Maybe I should have encouraged her to join the Girls Scouts (see prior post) – she could use a healthy dose of feminism.
Then, I had a brainstorm when I was talking with one of my friends. When I’m at the age where I can’t tell the difference between the TV and microwave, who am I going to call for help? Yep, you’ve got it!
“Honey, I need you to come over and pick me up RIGHT NOW and take me to my hair appointment.”
“Can you drop what you’re doing right this second and take me to the grocery?’
“I need you cancel your schedule for today and take me to my bridge luncheon and then take me to the doctor so he can evaluate that mysterious rash I’ve been telling you about.”
“Will you come over and do my laundry? I need clean underwear TODAY.”
“I’m really hungry. Can you drive over and make me a sandwich?”
“I’m getting bedsores. You need to come over STAT and roll me over.”
“I can’t find my teeth and it’s your fault! You brushed them last.”
. . . . . . . .Oh, you’re still here. I’m sorry, I was daydreaming (maybe drifting off is a better phrase?).
Anyway, in the meantime, I suppose Mike and I have to get a little more creative in our lessons on “Reasonable Expectations”.
Onward and upward…