Learning selflessness, one selfish moment at a time

Filed under: Just For Moms, Toddlers Preschoolers

There is a farm near our house that's open to the public, it's part of a large park with lots of places to walk, a big playground, etc, and it's one of Riley's very favorite places to go. He talks about the farm all the time, how he's going to go see the moo cow and the sheep and the chickens and so on -- he likes it so much I bought him a play farm so we can continue the Farm Obsession at home on rainy days.

Imagine my surprise, then, when yesterday -- a gloriously sunny Seattle day -- I took him to the farm for the first time in a few weeks, and he had a COW. A moo cow, even. He wouldn't keep up, and had to be dragged alongside of me in order to experience the sheer horror that was his beloved farm animals. He didn't want to leave the playground, then he didn't want to go back to the playground. He didn't want to see the chickens, he didn't want to play with his friend Owen, he most definitely did NOT want a snack. He stopped at a tree and demanded a ladder in order to climb it and when he was informed we would not be climbing any 49382-foot-tall trees right then, he melted down completely, and shouted that he wanted to go HOME.

Finally, I had to pick him up and carry him, wailing, back to the car.

I don't know if it was the fact that I had the baby with us for the first time, the absence of his father (we usually go on weekends), the creeping proximity of naptime, or perhaps it was a perfect storm of all three, but I found myself getting so frustrated with him. Didn't he know what a colossal pain in the ass it was to pack up two kids for an outing? Wasn't he aware he was putting a major damper on his playdate and thus my chance for adult company? Most confounding of all, why on earth was he whiny and unhappy when he was at his favorite place EVER?

I thought about it later and realized how often I still have certain selfish expectations for my kid's behavior, especially when it comes to what I consider predictable occasions. Yesterday I just figured that playdate + farm + beautiful day would equate to an ecstatically happy toddler, and when it didn't I couldn't manage to just go with the flow, because I was too busy taking it personally. Like, thanks a lot for making the morning such a crapfest, kid, what's next on your drive-mom-crazy agenda.

You'd think after 2+ years I'd have learned that it's not ALL ABOUT ME anymore, and yet here I am, still finding it hard to adjust to living by someone else's priorities.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.