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A toddler's 1,000 unfulfilled daily expectations

July 23, 2015 The Wine Time Dad 0 Comments Category :

Disclaimer: I don't normally speak in verse but due to the volume of children's books I'm forced to read, including Dr. Seuss, sometimes I just can't help myself. I apologize in advance for not sticking with my usual prose-form parenting tirade. 

The other week, while my daughter was visiting her g-rents in the distant lands of the Midwest, my mom called one day with a mild dilemma. She worried that her granddaughter would be disappointed with the differences between the zoo in my hometown and the one in DC; it wouldn’t live up to her expectations“You see,” said my worried mother, “I told her that we were going to go to the zoo, but now she’s thinking we’re going to see ‘this and that’, but we don’t have a ‘this and that’ at our zoo. I don’t want her getting her hopes up, only to be tragically disappointed when our zoo doesn't live up to her expectations. I don’t want to be a horrible, evil liar to my poor sweet granddaughter.”

First of all, she didn’t say most of that. I enjoy putting words in other people’s mouths.  

Second, I thought this was overly considerate of my mother. I’m usually assaulted by dozens of inane requests before we even make it out the door every morning. Yet, unbeknownst to my daughter, as it is every day, I’ve already made up my mind about the daily schedule. It’s not that I don’t care about her input. It’s just that I’m distinctly aware of the fact that she doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about, doesn’t really care, both or something other “dark” motivation that has yet to be defined. The point is, when it comes to destinations, plans, meal menus, the daily schedule, etc., the toddler’s litany of expectations are just verbiage I filter through my ear-hole.
So, I said, “Mom...
Toddlers have…

1,000 epectations
in a given day.
All coming in at once,
no pauses, no delay.

Sometimes those expectations come together.
in an epic crash.
But usually they never stop
just to let you pass.

But on life’s great highway
some 4-way stops do exist.
To control the flow of expectations
so that, you know, accidents don’t happen?

However, within this unlikely metaphor
Something like that..
the intrepid two year old
driver of the expectation car
is really a chimpanzee named Capt’n Bubbles,
who likes to go on red.
And, yellow.
And, of course, green.
Often driving backwards,
doing something obscene.

Those thousand expectations
become a magnificent mental pile-up!
The parent’s internal logic center
blows up.

Or, implodes.

The manner of its malfunction matters not
to the toddler’s cuckoo brain.
Time and possibility
have no place in rationality.
Poor Mr. Clock and dad are reduced
to a misery in scheduling.

Just, “I walk and I run. I want a cookie. Now I take a poop.”
And, magically, befuddled me,
perpetually stands appalled
as impossibly, simultaneously,
the toddler attempts all three.
Well, look at that!
An unbelievable feat
right before you go.

Finally out the door
and here we go.
A bus, a train
Why not both?
Don’t forget the cookie!

A run-on fragment full of nouns,
 all just for you.

1,000 expectations daily
that will never be fulfilled.
A series of ridiculous requests
in the irrational toddler mind.
Controlled, of course, by Capt’n Bubbles
and others of his kind.

So every day
upon my waking,
a beeline is quickly sought.
One to the nap,
another to bedtime.
In between survival time
and a mantra chasing every breathe:
Ignore those fucking expectations,
especially getting a cookie twice.”

As you can see, mom, you don’t really have to listen to any of it. I mean, you can respond to it, if you want, but you don’t have to indulge. Two-year olds don’t know anything, nor are they (probably) cognizant of missing it. If they are, tough shit! They don’t make the decisions. Just get that thing out the door and she’ll forget all about ‘this and that’ and every other expectation.

Especially if you bring a cookie.