those pesky expectations

March 31, 2010 at 8:29 pm 4 comments

By early evening both girls were yawning and rubbing their eyes. So we piled into bed with a huge stack of books, planning on reading until we were too sleepy to continue. Eventually we tossed the last book aside, Xi climbed into her bed, and I snuggled up with an exhausted Echo. But… as the lights dimmed and the room quieted, Echo’s eyes grew wider, her legs began to fidget, and her body twisted about until she had ramped all the way back to fully awake.

Echo: I love you Mom.

Me: I love you too.

Echo: And I love Xi.

Me: She loves you too.

Echo: And I love Bella, and Papa, and Xi.

Me: Yeah. Goodnight sweet love…

Echo: Mom? (tossing, turning)

Me: Yeah?

Echo: I just had a hard day. I just had a real hard day.

Me: Oh.

Echo: Yeah. I just… don’t… Mom…. can I…. (wiggling)

Me: Can I rub your back a little?

Echo: Yeah. I like it firm.

Me: Okay.

Echo: Can we stop now? (wiggling again)

Me: Okay.

Echo: I have to go poop Mom.

Me: Echo, it really is time for sleep.

Echo: But I have to go poop!

Me: Should I keep rubbing your back?

Echo: Okay!

Mom? I gotta go poop.

Me: Echo I feel like you are just saying that because you want to get up.

Echo: Yeah!

Me: I don’t want to get up. It’s time for sleep.

Echo: But I got to go poop!

Me: Are you being honest? Will poop actually come out of your body if you sit on the toilet?

Echo: I… just…

Me: It sounds like you want to get up.

Echo: Okay!

Me: It’s actually time for sleep though.

Echo: I gotta pooooooooop.

Me: If we get to the bathroom and you don’t actually poop, I will feel upset that you said you had to when really you don’t.

Echo: I gotta poop.

We get up, she sits on the toilet. No poop but there is: pssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. Then we head back to bed and within a minute I hear: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

It really was no big deal to get out of bed in the end, so why did I resist? The answer is that I had an expectation. I expected her to fall asleep quickly, and that simple thought made it so that I got all kinked up when something different happened. A million moments like this happen every single day. I expect to go grocery shopping but don’t manage to make it happen. I expect a sunny sky for the dog walk and get snowy rain instead. Millions of expectations means that I get disjointed millions of times a day. Not good! Well, at least not enjoyable for me.

If I could ditch my expectations, even the tiny ones, I’d never have to adjust to a new reality. I’d simply do whatever was happening, and probably actually enjoy it.

Once on the toilet Echo said:

Mom, the word “pee” and the letter “P” rhyme.

Me: Yeah. They are the same sound. The word “pee” actually starts with the letter “P”.

Echo: Yeah. But one says: puh, puh, puh, and the other one says: psssssssssssssss.


Entry filed under: life lessons, parenting principles. Tags: .

eyes wide open m.i.a.

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. carrie  |  March 31, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    too gorgeous
    and isn’t it true so true
    how about the gems of present motherhood—-beautiful
    i loved what you wrote—totally relate
    thankyou xxxxxcarrie

  • 2. Romy  |  March 31, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    I love Echo.

  • 3. Angela  |  April 4, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    had this kind of night tonight, who am i kidding, have these nights often. usually it is my oldest that doesn’t want to go to sleep, tonight it was my youngest. usually i get all out of sorts because at the end of a long day i am ready for all little eyes to be asleep. but, tonight i just stayed in the moment, and let go of the pesky expectation, and so much easier. still took a long time for all eyes to be asleep, but my calm feels so much better than being drained at the end of it all. thank you for this post – read it the other day and i think it was in my head tonight as i decided to make that choice and let go of the expectation.

  • 4. Curt  |  April 8, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Great post. Bed time is frequently a frustrating time for me. I think I make too big of a deal about 4-year-old getting out of bed. I make too many mental leaps about this behavior, thinking that if she won’t listen to me and stay in bed, then she’ll end up being a criminal tyrant by the time she is an adolescent. That sounds quite silly now that I’ve typed it out.


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