As a parent I find that I am plagued by expectations. Whether or not I mold my behavior accordingly isn’t the matter at hand but I find that I am so much more susceptible to having expectations from my child, about my child and basically it’s a never-ending story.
What started off this particular line of thought? I’ll tell you- I went to drop MLM to school today and had to have a word with his teachers and was waiting near the porch, reading their notices and seeing the work done by the kids they’d pinned up when I came upon this guy’s classwork sandwiched nicely between two other classmates. The assignment was just to color 3 fruits which the teacher later told them about and labeled but what was distinct in his work was that there was NOTHING within the lines and it basically looked like what I used to think little kids coloring looked like all the time. But side by side were papers hanging, where 2 girls from his class had done the same work, neatly, tidily and their respective comments from the teacher were- “Brilliant!” and “Excellent!“. This fellow had garnered a ” Good Try“.
I wasn’t upset but I have to admit the immediate though in my mind was, “Why can’t he do the same thing that his classmates do? Why isn’t he interested/capable in doing work that can generate a GOOD for a change?”
It’s pretty ridiculous to think that he’s reached the pinnacle of all his efforts and his current output is all he’s capable of when he’s not even 5 but when I became a parent my skin suddenly became so thin it’s not funny! It’s not that he had to be the best but I began to notice differences too and when other kids would, there’s no nice way to say this, outperform him, I would feel a twinge of something I couldn’t define. Later I began to get an inkling that I was disappointed in some measure when he didn’t do something that most people did. See I don’t use the word couldn’t because as a parent it’s almost inconceivable that your child CAN’T do something. It’s so much better to tell yourself that he doesn’t do it. At least it soothes your mind against the possibility of your child not knowing, not having…all the nots.
And believe me it’s pretty tough being a parent. This is that one person you actually would kill for. Forget love, honor and death-do-us-apart with the spouses…you obsess about your kids. You have dreams of their being this person when they grow even when they’re in their diapers and drooling like a leaky faucet. It’s tough being pragmatic when your mind, your love and aspirations for this one individual is abundant and limitless.
I remember when I was a teacher at Gymboree, there was a parent ( a mom) whose behavior would rile me to no end! She was pushy, loud and while she was a committed parent, I felt she used to push her child too hard. And the child in question was about 4 months then. We’d be trying out certain age-appropriate activities and all the kid would want to do is keep rolling over and playing with his toes and his mom would force him on his tummy to make sure he also participated in everything. I don’t particularly think she was doing the right thing even now but I guess as a parent you do lose a bit of your practicality because you aren’t always thinking with your head and it’s only natural to want to see what your child is capable of and seeing everyone else doing something that your child isn’t can be perplexing and tough for a parent.
And even if you aren’t one of those gabby parents who keep boring people with your child’s achievements, such as they may be, you always find that one person/people you tell that your’s is the most beautiful child ever and they are just SO smart. This smartness might be demonstrated very aptly in the form of mischief that usually has your hands busy spanking and your kid’s bum kind of sore…but hey! he’s not really naughty…he’s a creative, out-of-the-box thinker 🙂
But there are still times when a simple thing like a peach colored entirely within the lines and a comment saying “Good” goes a long way in making you smile and feel, “Yeah…that’s my kid! He colors peaches pretty damn well!” Till that glorious day comes…we’ll be celebrating “Good Try” instead.