Do you have a list? You know, the list of all of the things you've seen other people's kids do that you vow your kids will never do. I have a list, although, I must say that it has gotten much shorter now that I actually do have a kid and I've realized that I don't have quite as much control as I thought I would. I have also had to modify a few things. For instance, let's take an easy one. Instead of, "My child will NOT do drugs," my list now says, "I will not condone the usage of drugs nor will I make it easy for my child to do them."
This week I was reminded of one of the things on my list. Our son sat down at the dinner table to a sandwich my husband had picked up at Subway, and as he was pretty tired anyway, he began to wail because the sandwich had lettuce on it. Now, he actually does like lettuce most of the time, but for some reason he was quite offended by the green stuff that evening. I didn't really notice why the lettuce was so horrible, however, because instantly I was transported back in time to my college days...
I worked as a server in a pretty nice restaurant during college to make ends meet. I have some great memories of those days, but I also added several items to my "list" as I served many families with small children who weren't always so well behaved. One day in particular, a woman came into the restaurant with four or five children--probably her own plus a few friends. Looking back, I can remember her pretty clearly. She seemed tired and stressed, and really, who wouldn't be as the chaperone of that many children without a little help? At the time, though, I was a teenager and I didn't have my Mommy-Vision just yet...
I took the table's order, and one of the little boys (who also looked pretty tired) ordered a cheeseburger WITHOUT mustard. Okay, whatever. I placed the order with the kitchen and noted that there was to be NO MUSTARD on the burger...alas, that was not to be. I took the food to the table of hungry kids and their strung-out grown-up, and I asked if there was anything else I could get for them. Suddenly a wail erupted from the cheeseburger boy. The wail became a screaming fit. We were in serious tantrum territory, and the mother turned to me and said angrily, "I TOLD you NO MUSTARD!"
Conditions deteriorated from there. Apparently simply scraping it off was not an option--there would still be mustard residue and the child hated it that much. She was angry, he was beside himself, and I was shocked. The mother asked to see a manager, and she complained about me. She must have been pretty convincing, because I was given a talking-to later that day over the mustard incident. Who was at fault here? I don't really care. All I know is that the one thing I really learned that day was that I wanted no part of being a mother who would allow a temper tantrum over a condiment.
Flash-forward to the present, our table is set, and our son is staring in dismay at his lettuce. My well-meaning husband reaches over to help, and says, "Here, do you want me to take it off?" Snapping into reality I said, probably with a little too much force, "NO!" I pointed at my two-year-old, "YOU deal with it!" There was a little stunned silence (which did stop the tantrum, by the way), and then I explained myself. All parties understood, and we showed the little guy how to "fix" his sandwich so that he could eat it. Dinner continued, and disaster was averted...this time.
Since then our little darling has delighted in dissecting his meals and separating the ingredients. We may have created a monster, but at least he's not a wailing monster. Mission pretty much accomplished.
What about you? Any stories behind your expectations for your children? I would love to hear them!
Have a great day!