A few days ago, my 19-month-old daughter, Haven, got pretty mad at me. Even though she was upset, once I set her down, she got up as quickly as possible and hurried over to me, hugging my legs and looking up at me with desperate, teary eyes as she cried and screamed. I knew exactly why she was upset: she wanted a granola bar, and I was only offering her a banana or applesauce for a snack. It was right before nap time and having her eat a granola bar is at least a 30-minute investment, if you don’t include the time it takes for me to search for little chocolate chips buried into the carpet around the house. So, yeah, I didn’t want her to eat it at that time, and she was not happy about it.
The truth is, I wouldn’t be happy about it either. If I ordered pizza at a restaurant and my server was like, “Oh, sorry, you either have to have a salad or a chicken sandwich,” I’d be ticked off too. I would’ve said, “I don’t want salad; I want pizza!” And that’s exactly what my kiddo was doing but in her own (LOUD) way of communicating. Though I had this thought, I still wasn’t about to give her a granola bar. It just made me think of all the ways we expect kids to be different, even more mature, than adults, when really some things are just kind of human nature. Here are some ways I think we expect kids to be more mature than adults when we’re really on the same level:
1. Being in a Good Mood after Something Bad Happens
You know those mornings when you wake up, and everything starts to go wrong? This happened to me yesterday. I walked into Haven’s room to get her up in the morning and was hit with a putrid odor…It might sound dramatic, but this was a suuuuper stinky diaper. I won’t get into details, but after cleaning her up and tossing sheets in the washer, we went in to eat breakfast. Haven and I had to take James to work, so we needed to hurry, but she chose this morning to eat like a sloth. We were out of milk, so no cereal for the hubs, and then I discovered we were out of both turkey and jam, so no quick sandwich for the hubs to take to work either. Our gas light came on while we were driving, so once I dropped James off, I went to get gas and realized I didn’t have my wallet. I shamefully walked into the office to get James’s debit card while wearing my way-too-tight maternity leggings, sporting a messy bun with flyaways sprouting out the side of my head, and day-old makeup. In my mind, I knew worse things could have happened, but it was just enough to put me in a bad mood.
I remember one day when things just weren’t going well for Haven. She tripped, then she got hit by a football, then she fell over a fairly big toy, and on and on. She was not in a good mood, and sometimes when this happens, I feel almost embarrassed or apologetic if other people are around. I said something to my family about it, like, “When something goes wrong, she stays upset for a while.” My uncle pointed out that it’s the same for adults. I had never thought about it that way, but he was so right. Why do we expect kids to quickly get over a string of bad luck or some other mishap when we wouldn’t ourselves?
2. Being Hungry When We’ve Snacked All Day
I used to let Haven carry around her little container of crackers and eat them all day if she pleased. I didn’t even consider that it would make it so she wasn’t as hungry at mealtimes. I wouldn’t want to chow down a bunch of spaghetti after eating half of my weight in Goldfish. Why would she? Ever since I realized my mistake, the crackers have stayed in the cupboard most of the day, and Haven is actually eating meals. You’d think I would have thought of this before.…
3. Being Told What to Do
I hate being told what to do. Don’t you? I’ve never liked it—not when I was a kid and not now. Why would I expect my kid to? Obviously, parents still need to do it to keep their kids from starving or falling out of a window or getting stuck going the wrong way on the escalator. But it makes sense that kids don’t like it—why would we expect them to be any different from us in this way.
4. Enjoying the Grocery Store
I actually like going to the grocery store, but that’s mostly because I’m a stay-at-home mom who shares a car with my hubby and also loves food. Going to the grocery store is an excursion for me. But I know a lot of people hate grocery shopping, my daughter included. Can you imagine having to go to the grocery store and being strapped in a chair and having no control over the food you get to buy? Ugh, that sounds terrible.
5. Being Happy When Leaving Something Fun
We only go to the park if I a) have plenty of time to spare or if I’m b) emotionally and physically prepared for the trauma that will ensue when it’s time to leave. I remember the first time I encountered this Baby Park Drama, and I was shocked. What the heck? Were you really having that much fun dumping mulch down your shirt? And don’t you want to take a nap? I guess it makes sense though. Whenever I make my husband leave a fun dinner or family party because we need to put the baby to bed, he gets disappointed too (though he doesn’t usually cry and scream about it). I’d hate it if someone plucked me out of a party before I was over it.
Have you thought of some other ways we expect kids to be more mature than adults? I’d love to hear your ideas or stories. Comment below!