New and pregnant moms are full of hope and wonder. We want to believe everything we see on TV or witness much cooler and laidback moms doing. So we begin to make plans to take our baby to crazy places or to stay at home and do Incredible Thing #1 and Incredible Thing #2 with them. We don't for a moment even consider that baby still needs diaper changes, 15 bottles or snacks or meals per day, or might have colic or need naps while all that incredible-ness is going on. I once had BIG PLANS for this child of mine. Needless to say, I've scaled back my expectations. But here are 5 things I swore I'd do with my baby when she was either still a baby or a toddler. Let the ridicule begin!
Take her to art galleries and museums
What I expected: We'd meander through hallways for hours and her little face would light up when she saw her first Picasso. I'd point out brushstrokes and, when we got home later that day, we'd try and imitate them with her little paints and papers.
The reality: "Mommy, what's that?! Mommy, what's that?! Can touch?" (No, you can't touch. Toddler makes a run for a Rothko and nearly destroys it with juice-stained hands. Mommy straps toddler back into stroller). "Mommy! I want to get up! Mommy, I want to get up, now!" Museum visit cut short by amazing toddler freak-out.
Attend ice hockey games as a family
What I expected: What young child wouldn't be into the thrilling sights and sounds of athletes expertly swirling around the ice, wearing colorful jerseys, and using their skills to dominate in a pretty cool sport? Bonus: she'd get to wear a teeny jersey of her very own!
The reality: My husband and I are barely able to see the puck and make out which player is doing what on the ice -- did we really think a toddler would give a hoot? All they care about at that age is hotdogs and ice-cream, each of which cost $20 at a sports arena. Oh, and the jersey? Chocolate stains galore.
Have family sing-a-longs
What I expected: My daughter loves music and usually likes to hear her dad and mom play the guitar and sing. She even loves to dance and join in once in awhile. I assumed by now we'd be a three-piece band in the making.
The reality: When not threatening to swallow the guitar pick, she's sticking her stuffed animal's limbs in between the strings. When she's had enough of our shenanigans, she screams "No more guitar, daddymommy!" and puts her hands OVER the strings.
Jump on an airplane
What I expected: I have family in Italy, so I had this little fantasy that we'd take off and have little adventures. After all, we'd be saving so much money not having to stay in a hotel, right?
The reality: Diapers cost a lot of money. Babies cost a lot of money. Oh, and airlines count toddlers over the age of 2 as actual fully grown people, much to my shock and horror. So I'd pretty much be paying full-price fare to have her not remember seeing the Colosseum. Think I'll wait on that one.
Sit in a cafe and read
What I expected: When she was a baby, I expected my daughter to nap peacefully in her baby sling while I sipped a coffee and read. As a toddler, I figured she'd have her own little cup of hot cocoa and thumb through her little books, which I'd smartly remember to pack along.
The reality: Hot cocoa is too hot. We blow on it for a few minutes. She takes a sip. "Yuck, I don't like." She plays with the cup and spills some of it before I take it away. She gets her hands on the sugar packets. I move them to another table. She gets up to grab them from the other table. She wants to see what's in the kitchen. I tackle her to the ground just as she's about to escape through the swinging doors and probably ruin a day's worth of croissants. She throws a tantrum because she doesn't want to sit and read. Cafe trip is cut short and we return home -- where all she wants to then do is sit and read.
What did you expect to do with your young child that turned out to be more trouble than it was worth?
Image via Richard Riley/Flickr