Prior to having a baby, I thought that positive thinking was the key to a good life. It couldn’t get you everything you wanted but it was definitely a start. It was influential. It could make shit happen for you. But since becoming the parent of a little girl who is as headstrong as I am, I’m not so sure anymore. I’m really starting to think that low expectations are my very best friend – even more so than the combination of a bottle of wine and re-runs of Beverly Hills 90210.
You remember when I asked the maternal powers that be (TMPTB) to work on changing the laws of parenting? It seems that although TMPTB sidestepped having to address my original concern, they were listening to the part about the beach because they decided to throw me a bone to keep me hanging on a little longer.
We went to my parents’ cottage this past weekend. Dawson, who never seems to be around for our failed splash pad and beach adventures, anticipated a fun water-filled weekend with Thumper. Oh, that silly husband-to-be of mine. Thumper screamed so loud when he took her in the lake that you’d have thought Elmo got tickled to death right in front of her. Swimming was obviously done for the day. Undeterred, Dawson planned his next strategy, which was to use an inflatable swimming device that we, being the imaginative geniuses we are, refer to as Sea Cow. Thumper loves using Sea Cow in the pool, and though we’re not dumb enough (anymore) to think that what she loves in the pool she will automatically love anywhere else, we knew at least there was a tiny sliver of hope that it might, maybe, kind of work. Turns out, Thumper does love Sea Cow in the lake. Woot! She loved it so much she eventually felt comfortable enough to climb out of it to swim in my arms. I was dumbfounded but elated. Progress! Awesome!
The next day, my dad suggested we take Thumper to a small sand bar on a nearby island, thinking that the silky sand and quiet water would coax her to swim without a tantrum. I chuckled but decided that if nothing else, it would kill some time before bed. But to my amazement, Thumper had the time of her life. She was running in and out of the water, happily squishing sand in her hands, jumping and dancing and splashing and being the perfect picture of a Coppertone baby, minus the bathing suit-stealing dog, while I stood by with my jaw on the ground until Dawson reminded me that I should be enjoying the moment instead of gawking at it. So we fist pumped for a few minutes. Progress! Awesome!
I guess I owe a thank you to TMPTB for giving me back beaches. I may have lost splash pads but at least I still have beaches. Well, for now anyway. Low expectations, remember? Maybe I just won’t ever go to the beach again so that I’ll always be able to say that, based on our last known trip, Thumper loves beaches. It’s not a lie; it’s just one of those weird half-truths. This way the glorious memory of this one great day will never be tarnished with the inevitable follow-up disaster trip.
So now I’ve got to set my expectations low on every other aspect of my life so that I can be pleasantly surprised about everything. Like food. I pretty much already expect nothing good to come of dinnertime because I don’t think Thumper has eaten veggies or meat in at least a month, save for some corn and lunch meats, which barely even qualify as food. Oh, except for the cauliflower I hid in her Kraft Dinner. But I think the unhealthiness of KD cancels out the nutrition of the cauliflower. So...Fml.
Oh, and as an aside, you know that maternal instinct thing everyone talks about? We like to call it momstinct. Well, yeah. It’s real. So when your mommy senses are tingling, listen to them. Even when it’s something as simple as, “I should go check on the baby because she’s probably awake from her nap by now.” Because if you don’t, you will later find your child naked in her pee-filled crib, with a poo-filled diaper strew all over the place. Yeah...Fml.