It’s Not All Mary Poppins

From the Archives: It’s all about Expectations

Once again, daddy is dropping Noah off. And once again, Noah is managing the transition just fine.

Today, dad talked about Noah’s plans for the day, discussed on the way over. And then I could talk about what we were going to do today — making roads all over the floor with wide green painter’s tape, and putting up the little streetlights we made yesterday, so we can drive our cars all over. All part of our “transportation” theme for the month.

And Noah — obviously pre-directed by his skillful daddy — chats happily about what he will play with Tyler when Tyler arrives, and daddy gives Noah a cheerful hug…

…and there! Done!

Daddy’s gone, Noah’s here, without the slightest hiccup. Lovely.

Analyzing it in the kitchen a few minutes later, my daughter Emma put it nicely.

“It’s all about the parents’ expectations, isn’t it? The dads usually manage to convey, “I expect you to be happy, and I know you can do it!” But the moms are often saying, “I expect you to be sad… but please don’t!”

She’s very wise for sixteen, Emma.

August 29, 2011 Posted by | parenting, parents | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tap, tap, tap

That’s me, knocking wood.

I am not a superstitious person. Which is why I had NO HESITATION, none at all, nuh-uh, to tell you that little Noah had the SECOND-EVER BEST FIRST DAY EVER. tap, tap, tap (What does that mean? It was a tied-for-first-place best first day. I’ve had one other — ONE! In twelve years! — that was as good. The other was nine years ago.)

I’m not worried about jinxing myself. No concerns from me that in telling you about this amazing event, I’ve just painted a bulls-eye on my butt for the fates to come kick my ass. I “pfft!” at the very notion of an evil eye. Tempting fate? Ha!

taptaptap

Little Noah — the one who visited for a few hours a couple of weeks ago? — his first day was yesterday. A year old.

When I start a new child, I expect tears at the parent’s departure followed by intermittent (please God, not continuous) wailing throughout the day, interspersed with bouts of very solemn staring. I expect trouble with naps. I expect the child will reject food, possibly even bottles. It is quite likely that the child who is experiencing all this distress will reject comfort from me, at least for the first half of the day.

It is all quite pathetic. Poor little mites.

It is possible that I will see the occasional smile. The child might sit on my lap during circle time, or at least be fascinated by watching. They might watch the antics of the other children with some evidence of pleasure. They might take comfort in their food, they might snuggle in to me as I feed them a bottle. They might even laugh. Any or none of this might happen. I certainly don’t expect anything like this.

And I certainly don’t expect a child to not notice when his mother leaves, to play happily all day, to eat all of every food provided with gusto, to grin continuously, to toddle away from me at the park then come laughing back, to shriek with delight at the antics of the other children… and then nap for two and a half hours. And greet his dad with a crow of delight at the end of the day.

On his first day.

But that is was Noah did, every last bit of it. He was not just calm, he was outright cheerful. He was interested, happy, interactive, friendly, responsive… In short, he was a short little ton of fun. I cannot conceive of a way in which his day could have been improved upon.

It. Was. AMAZING!

There! I (tap) did it (tap, tap)! You now (tap, tap, tap) all know that Noah (tap) had a PERFECT FIRST DAY (taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap).

And if Day #2 is hell on earth, we all know why.

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments