Unexpected Outcomes of 3: The Preschool Formula for Managing Your Expectations

brandonhill-beard-formulaThere’s a big black dog currently circling the island in my kitchen. He is not my dog. He is a friend’s dog. His name is Stan, but we call him “Stan the Manly,” “Stanislaus,” “Stannis,” or “Manley Stan.” Today I asked my daughter, who is now 3.5 years old (STOP THE PRESSES!) why Stan the Manly had a red foil star on his head. She looked at me like I’m a moron and replied: “Because that’s the color he picked, Mom.”

Somehow, at some point between potty training and the start of preschool, I became MOM.

If I do something she doesn’t like (like humming, drinking coffee, or turning left) the girl shouts: STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE, MOM! If it is particularly horrific, such as, say, combing her hair, then she adds: BEFORE YOU BREAK MY HEART, MOM! BEFORE YOU BREAK MY FLIPPING HEART.

We have taught her to say flipping because her Mommy (that’s my name, thankyouverymuch) used to use another word that starts with F, before she saw the very public error of her ways.

The Girl also rolls her eyes, puts one hand on her hip, shakes her finger and SIGHS. She says “Seriously?” and “You have GOT to be KIDDING ME” and “For HEAVEN’S sake, Mom.” I have no idea where she got that behavior. She also uses the word behavior, as in the following exchange:

Me: Please stop putting your lip gloss on the dog, honey.

The Girl: Why?

Me: Because I said so.

The Girl: Because you said so? I’m not stopping my behavior because you SAID SO, MOM.

Superior parenting at work, folks. Looking at the nuance of that inflection. Genius!

The dog has been “breath-ing” (like breathy, but with an “ing”) a lot around our house. His arrival delayed the acquisition of a Christmas kitten, causing a very unexpected tiny level of trauma (mostly on my part), which just proves that the formula for preschool meltdown is this:

ExpectedOutcome + RationalExplanation – (Hunger + Thirst + Exhaustion) * WhoTheHellKnows = ActualOutcome

This formula means that you can predict a meltdown with about the same level of accuracy as “scientists” who deny climate change and sea rise.

On the plus side, wow, does The Girl ever look stunning in her holiday dress and HALLELUJAH she agreed to wear it on Christmas Eve. Another unexpected outcome, because lately she is 3 going on 39, preferring her juice in a thermos and “soft pants” when she leaves the house. In her defense, they DO have a yoga class at preschool…of course, that’s only on Thursday afternoons, for about 30 minutes, but who am I to judge?

All of this to say that I’m grateful..for unexpected outcomes, for the floatsam and jetsam of preschool parenting, for a good glass of wine…and a slice of pie, a shot of tequila…you know, whatever it flipping takes.

Enough about me….how are YOU?