Setting Expectations

Fixing Bicycles
Fixing Bicycles

This concept, I find very interesting. In some instances, expectations are clearly defined by the type of event it is. You are invited to dinner, the expectation is that you will consume dinner. If you go to an interview, there would likely be an expectation of questions asked and answered. Some situations are less clear, like if you were going to some sort of information summit – you might not be clear on what type of information is to be received or what would be relevant to your every day life. As a parent, I am even more amazed at how I feel like I need to set proper expectations. Sometimes I remember, and sometimes I forget simply because I assume the expectation should be obvious. But, to a four year old? Probably not.

Today, I needed planner-page refills. I use Franklin Covey‘s system. I love it. I have used it for going on five years now. I happened to start my system in July, so April is my time to fill up on planner pages. Like my cousin Jodi, I too enjoy a good handbag/shoulder bag. Franklin Covey has a rich supply of these too.  I find myself perusing their website pages, often, trying to decide which new theme or bag would suite me. There is a retail outfit between work and home. Sometimes, I like to stop in and see if the bag I’ve been coveting digitally will work as the real deal. This means examining the cut, the size, the stitching. This also means transferring the planner and perhaps the wallet and a few other purse staples into the bag to see if it will fit all my stuff I cannot live without. If I’m coming home from work, this means taking the kiddo in tow. This often means taking the kiddo with me because the shop has restrictive hours for our schedules.

I have, on occasion, forgotten to cite the proper expectation. Parenting, though, is both training for child and adult. The store is spacious. There are many shelves, tables, and of course bags. Lots of things to click and turn and look at. It’s both amazing for adults and children. It’s especially amazing for a child who likes to crawl under, run around, or open things. Momma rarely gets a good browse in when the kiddo is in tow — unless the husband is also present to navigate the kiddo curiosity. Sometimes, I have set the expectation, but the space, the things to look at, the things to touch – it’s all too much for the curious kiddo. Usually, the clerk politely stands behind the counter, posture getting stiffer, mouth tensing. “Hmm,” thinks my brain, “she thinks my kid is out of control! Please don’t judge me! He’s not always like this! It’s just this store …..”

Today, we walked in. I am at least a week overdue from refilling my planner pages. I really wish they’d have them printed and ready six months before my year is up. I am much more comfortable with 18 months worth of planning instead of a mere 9-12. Alas, it could not be so this time – our vacation took precedence too. Today, was the day. I work from home one day a week, which means four-9s and one four hour day at home.

I said to Levi, “Okay, how do we behave in the store?”

He said, “Uhm,” looked down with focus, “like a Big Boy.”

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “And, what does that mean?”

“Uhm, no running, and be quiet, and, and, and, no running.”

“Yes.” I said. After so much repetition, so many times of trying to set the expectation. He got it. He is getting it. Oh, the light. I see the light. And, the kid did all right. He wasn’t perfect, by any stretch. But, compared to the last time we were in that store, he was leaps and bounds improved.

Growing up is such a fascinating thing.

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