Wednesday, August 20, 2014

That's Not What I Expected!

How many times have you found yourself saying "that's not what I expected" today?  What if you counted up all the times you've said that this week?  This month?  I've lost track by now!

One (unexpected...haha) lesson I've learned as a parent is that expectations are often fruitless.  Trying to figure out when my baby will sleep, what he'd like to eat for dinner, or guessing which book he'll pick for bed-time reading is almost always.....WRONG.  Sure, he may have slept, eaten, and read the same thing at the same time all week.  Today, though, is different!

Even with slightly older children, things often end up different than what we anticipate.  In my house this week, we got the chance to see a local high school marching band's preview show.  My 3 year old loves marching bands, and was super excited for this trip.  My 18 month old doesn't remember the marching bands we saw last fall, but we catch him jiving to any bit of music he hears.  I expected they'd be dancing and excited throughout the show.  Instead.....

No one screamed and tried to get away.  In fact, they were both glued to the musicians and silently engrossed in the show.  But neither boy even cracked a smile.  Not at all what I expected!

The same can be true when you are a Signing Smart family.  Based on Dr. Lindert and Dr. Anthony's research, we have some idea about when babies and toddlers might start signing back. We have some idea as to when subsequent signs might show up, too. So often, though, our calculations are off.  

Occasionally, babies sign back much earlier than we expect.  That's always exciting! When this happens, it's easy to second guess what we're seeing, though.  It's a very natural reaction to say to ourselves "it's much to early, that can't be a real sign."  (It can be, and it probably is!)

Other times, it takes longer than predicted for our little ones to reach that first sign milestone.  It can be frustrating when this happens.  There are lots of factors that can affect when we see that first sign. (Developmental readiness, motivation to communicate, other impending milestones, consistency, etc.) Regardless of all the good reasons that can affect timing, when we're excitedly anticipating that milestone and it doesn't happen as timely as we'd like, it's still a disappointment.  

Expectations are an important and necessary part of daily life.  I certainly don't suggest walking though life completely unaware of what might be around the next corner.  However, I do recommend you temper your outlooks with a grain of salt.  It's important to know what to be on the lookout for, but I hope you can learn from my experiences - don't put too much weight on your expectations.  Just when you think you know what's going to happen - it won't!  Perhaps that's part of the fun of life with small kids...they always keep you on your toes!

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