Parenting with Expectations

One of the happiest days of my life was when I found out The Informant was a girl. But let me back up — one of the most shocking days of my life was when I found out I was having twins was having twin BOYS.

I’ve always assumed I’d have girls. As a child, my family was just my mom and me until she met my dad (my stepdad who adopted me; he’s my dad). My dad brought to the marriage a 20-year-old daughter. My dad also has two sisters. Growing up, I had three grandmothers — all of my grandfathers died when I was young. I’m just accustomed to families full of women!

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But then I had twin boys. When I met My Chemical Romance, we both wanted a big family (and how. Ha.) I got pregnant with The Informant when the boys were about 17 months old, and I was so glad to be having a girl.

With Animal and Mineral, the entire situation was so surprising — and busy! — that I didn’t have many expectations. I thought I’d learn — about motherhood, about twins, about boys, about babies — as I went along.

With The Informant, I had expectations. I assumed because my mom and I are close, that my daughter and I would be close. I assumed because I am a woman and she is a girl, that she would be like me — not just the bad parts! — and I’d understand her.

That hasn’t been the case. The Informant is very independent. She is not usually cuddly or lovey, and sometimes she regards me warily. She can be aloof. She taught herself to read and write, and every day she spends hours in the dining room, drawing and writing picture books. She loves animals. She wears long pants all year round, tucks her shirts in and prefers to be barefoot. She is 7 and 1/3 years old and has only lost one tooth. She taught herself to swim at two years old (!!!) and is a good swimmer, but doesn’t love it. She still naps occasionally.

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In short, The Informant is not what I expected. Sometimes we clash because she doesn’t meet my (totally arbitrary) expectations. If My Chemical Romance takes the other kids to Cub Scouts, I’ll ask The Informant if she wants to read with me or talk, and she doesn’t want to. Sometimes we color together. We learn online about dogs.

Mothering her is not what I thought it would be. Knowing her, I can see her leaving as an adult and going on adventures — possibly animal-based, somehow? — and not coming home often. (This could be another expectation, but I don’t assume this will happen; given her personality, it just wouldn’t surprise me). She is happy, though, and that makes me happy. Whatever (again: completely arbitrary, not based on reality) expectations of mine that she isn’t meeting, I know she’s happy.

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2 Responses

  1. I have so many expectations for my daughter, as well. She is only 9 months so I’m trying to keep them as vague as possible. I want to let her be who she is, even if that is something other than what I want her to be! Great post!

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