It’ll be a Breeze – Reality vs Expectation

My 2 year and 9 month old son started preschool today…this is the first time we have left him with strangers ever. For years we have said that he will start preschool when we all feel the time is right for him. For months we have said we think he’s ready and will start preschool very soon. For weeks we’ve all been excited and happy and waving at the preschool if we drive past…

Then yesterday happened…the day before preschool…nothing had changed for him, but I was suddenly nervous, sooo nervous – how would he be when I left? What if he’s not ok? What if he’s not ready? Then it all struck at bedtime…he was peacefully asleep and I was sat next to his bed; a silently weeping emotional ball of sentimentality, contemplating how my little baby is growing up so fast.

How did that happen!? What happened to my confident ‘oh we’re all completely fine about it’ approach!? It got me thinking about how vastly different the reality of a situation can be compared with the expectation…here are a few other examples I’ve come across in the last couple of years with my son, where the expected breeze turned out to be a little bit more 1987 after all.
Wind tunnel/flag indicator
Name labels: I had grand visions of my son trotting off to said pre-school with beautiful hand-sewn labels in his clothes and me smiling smugly knowing nothing will ever get lost.

The reality? Me this morning shouting ‘where’s the sharpie!? I need to name his clothes! Pass me that biro, it’ll do’. Oh the shame. I even had to downgrade the stationary.

 

Vaccinations: most people accept vaccinations, nay welcome vaccinations, as part of their child’s life. I am fully of the mindset that I’m doing what’s best for my child and protecting him from protectable nasties. Easy. And so I waltz in to the doctors full of self assurance.

The reality? The needle stabs my precious little bundle and those big eyes look up in confusion to mummy and all he feels is shock and pain (admittedly not that much though, come on!) and suddenly it becomes a tad more harrowing for the easy breezy parent than it was five minutes ago. You find yourself caught in the moment knowing you’re doing what’s best but having to face the not-so-trusting-now gaze of your offspring as you pin their flailing limbs into position and frantically promise icecream.

 

Breastfeeding: I think I need to upgrade this from a breeze to a bit of a hooley…I didn’t expect it to be completely easy…but seriously? I did NOT expect it to be that hard. The physical complications, adjustments and pain; the emotional upheaval; the responsibility…you get the idea.

 

Weaning: It’s fair to say I was a little clueless about parenting when I had my son. I got through the tumultuous initial few weeks of breastfeeding and fell into my stride, happy and relaxed that I’d only have to do it until my baby was six months old and then he would start eating proper food.

Yes I thought that. Yes it’s a bloody good thing I went to a ‘weaning workshop’ and was educated on the matter.

The reality? an additional 12 months and a long process of dropping daytime feeds followed by a mildly impatient wait for my son to decide to nighttime wean, which he did at 17 months….actually relatively early but a tiny windy bit later than my expected 6 months!

 

Mealtimes: Sunny, happy, advert-esque family meals – all sat round the table, all eating the same food (because our child would not be a fussy eater, not with our thoughtful introduction of food), all engaging in some level of conversation, soft background music, tinkling children’s laughter and ahhhing adults…

The reality? We may get to be in the same room, maybe even at the same table, but our two and a half year old is likely to sing Goosey Goosey Gander loudly through conversations, laugh in the face of fresh fruit and vegetables, launch sporadically into his Cookie Monster impression, break down if the blue bowl is not red and sometimes, sometimes only eat if standing on his toy box, on one leg wearing wellies and a cowboy hat…sometimes.

 

Dressing a baby: harder than I thought, he might break

 

Dressing a toddler: harder than I thought, he hates clothes

 

Leaving a baby overnight: pre-baby I was opens to advice about leaving my baby once a fortnight from, I don’t know, six months, so he ‘gets used to separation’ and ‘learns how to be independent’. ‘Yes, I could do that’ I thought, ‘it will be a breeze’.

The reality? I became a mother and so bollocks to that…dependence breeds independence. And why would I want to leave him? Unless I’m much mistaken I do believe he’s only little once and for the first however many months he thought he was me, poor child. Also doing the aforementioned breastfeeding thing, you know the feeding glands are not hugely transferable. I eventually left him for one night once at seventeen months after much umming and ahhing, worry and buildup…it was not ‘easy’.

 

Life: I clearly remember saying when I was much younger, many years before I had my son (when my brain was obviously still developing) that if I had a child they would absolutely fit into my life, my life would not change because of a baby and I would still do all the things I used to do but with a baby in tow.

The reality? Pahahahahaaaa!

 

I’d love to hear your experiences of things not being quite as straightforward as they first seemed…I have deliberately left out the minefield of choosing car seats and you may also notice that sleep doesn’t feature. I don’t understand my son’s sleep enough yet to know if we’re feeling the whisper of gentle summer’s air or if we’re stuck in a tornado. I’m tired a lot so probably tornado…

There is one little thing recently that bucked the breeze to hurricane trend…the BiBs. Low to no expectations…and the reality? Well someone at Britmums has clearly made a terrible administrative error and are too embarrassed to say because I’M ON THE SHORTLIST FOR READERS’ CHOICE (yes I shouted that). I’d love it if you would consider voting for me. You can click the below badge or read my post about it here. And yes I’ve apparently mastered the art of shoehorning…

BritMums
Diary of an imperfect mum
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52 thoughts on “It’ll be a Breeze – Reality vs Expectation

  1. This is such a refreshing post! I remember telling a friend that my relationship with my husband would stay the same, that it wouldn’t change at all after having a child! Sad but true, I had no idea how much one little person would change our lives!

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  2. I can totally relate to your nervousness about pre-school. I’m about to send my baby to nursery and I’m dreading it. She’s spent exactly 1 hour away from me or my husband in her 11 months (with my mum), and I don’t know how she’ll cope.

    None of this whole parenting business has been as easy as I thought. Breastfeeding especially – cue cracked nipples, mastitis and worries about low supply. Weaning? The Popple ate everything, until one day she decided that she hated pretty much everything. I think we’re all guilty of unrealistic expectations about parenthood. #FamilyFun

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    1. Ahhh you, that must be so hard I know. Babies are very adaptable though and she has a wonderfully secure base to start her nursery time from…that has to help. Breastfeeding has been underplayed here, I am not filled with joy at doing it all again! Thanks for commenting x

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  3. I hope his first day at preschool goes well 🙂
    My little boy still cries every morning when I leave but I’m told that he cheers up as soon as I’ve gone and has a great time! Children are masters of emotional blackmail.

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  4. Hope all went well with the first day of preschool. It is funny how things turn out so differently from expectations. Breastfeeding was one that I found much harder than anticipated – but oddly it was second time round that my expectations were completely out of kilter with reality. I’d anticipated breastfeeding behind difficult first time but second time I assumed having done it once before it would be a breeze. Thankfully I got there in the end but the first ten days were not fun! I’ve yet to leave either of mine overnight (apart from when Jessica’s been in hospital and I’ve had no choice over leaving one or other) but my expectations on this one are that I’m likely to be a nervous wreck when I finally do! So glad that your expectations of the BiBs have been surpassed and wishing you all the best of luck with reaching the finals! #FamilyFun

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    1. Thank you Louise. I don’t know what to think about breastfeeding this time…I feel under pressure that it will be easier but have low expectations as actually (although I found it very difficult) my son found it very easy…if that makes sense. Hopefully I’ll find out! Preschool was a complete breeze on the day….I think I just needed the moment of sentimentality the night before! Thank you for commenting x

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  5. I love this and I know exactly what you mean! I’ve not left TM for more than 2 hours yet and I don’t even want to. I loved that thing about how they think they are the same entity as you for the first few months, just adorable. I fully believe that they don’t ever need to ‘learn’ independence just like I think learning to self settle is a load of bollocks (ah shit we weren’t going to mention sleeping!). I hope preschool continues to go well. #FamilyFun

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    1. I completely agree…why is it that we prize independence so highly as a society? Doesn’t make sense really. I’m firmly in the strong attachment leads to secure separation when the time is right. Of course every child and situation is different but it has always worked for us. In a previous post I seem to remember ranting about self settling…how can a baby self settle when they don’t even know they have a self to settle?…something like that. I’ve been considering reviving it. Maybe I’ll rewrite at some point, it’s a very old one now! Thanks for commenting, sounds like we are on a similar page which is nice x

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  6. Fabulous! Love it. I went through them all and can only add that I thought the teen years would be a breeze and that my kids would totally respect me – not sure when they answer with “Oh Helen” when I ask them to do something whether I’ve totally nailed or not! And, once again, lovely HUGE CONGRATULATIONS on the BIBS – you are my Readers Choice for sure xx #familyfun

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  7. Oh wow I love you!!! Such refreshing honesty… I bawled like a baby when mine went to preschool – and cried all the way to work. I spent the day looking like a cross between aunt Sally and the bloke from Kiss and no-one told me. Bless you… Yes to all of this but particularly the vaccinations… best of luck for the BiBs hun, you deserve this! TY for linking up to #FamilyFun 🎉

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    1. Ah thank you Catie! Can’t believe no one told you!! It’s a funny image though… It’s a big moment isn’t it? Mind you, there are so many big moments to get over…I suppose this is just one of many. The vaccinations are so funny…it’s just in that one moment when they look at you but it’s there! THank you for hosting fabulous #familyfun. Sorry I’m so late replying to this x

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  8. I’ve worked with kids my whole life so to be honest it’s been fairly smooth ride thus fair. The looming teenage years however are where I see turbulence ahead.
    Who am I kidding, the proverbial is about to hit the fan. Off to batten down the hatches.

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  9. Ha Ha, I laughed when I vacinated my son the 2nd time round. Just his little face all concern and tears. The nurse looked a little appalled! I dutifully hugged and kissed him better, but I couldn’t help it! Don’t get me started on weaning… I’m still working it out, snacks, really they need snacks! Yay for BiBs, oh you know this will follow with a tweet about it… Thanks for linking to #familyfun

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  10. This had me cracking up, it’s oh so true how what we expect doesn’t always match expectations- I hated weaning, and breast feeding (all two or so weeks of it) i went through the post silently nodding at everything – I haven’t mastered sleep yet (she says as she wills he daughter to sleep right now!)

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    1. Neither have I! I didn’t know where to start with sleep…I’m so tired I can’t remember whether I expected it to be ok or not! Glad you enjoyed it and thank you for commenting, I’m so sorry I’m so delayed with replying xx

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  11. This is brilliant! It really sums up parenting. I hate leaving J, although I have left him overnight twice as we had 2 free nights in a hotel and we separated them out, but it wasn’t my favourite thing. I also found weaning a nightmare! Hope E likes preschool? #FamilyFun

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    1. Yes leaving overnight is still hard I find…it just doesn’t feel quite right – well until the morning when you wake up refreshed and on your own terms! E ADORED preschool…it was a total breeze, thank you. So sorry for my delay in replying x

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  12. Great post. I hated going for our 12 week injections yesterday. I know we are doing the right thing by having them done. But to see the tears from her baby blue eyes running down her face as she screamed is horrifying. After her 8 week ones I burst into tears in the car. Yesterday i managed to hold it together xx

    #fortheloveofblog

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    1. Ah that is hard…hope she coped OK after them…it’s a funny one with vaccinations totally the right thing but there’s that moment when they look at you…! Thank you for commenting, sorry for my delay in replying x

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    1. A crocodile! Such a good image. Oh wow proper school…now that is big! There are so many moments like that in parenting aren’t there and then you move on to the next phase and the next step, the next development. Thank you for commenting, sorry I’m so delayed in replying x

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  13. Yep, definitely identify with some of these, especially the leaving overnight and breastfeeding ones. I am getting to the stage where I think people are starting to think I’m a bit weird for still breastfeeding to sleep and not being able to go out past 9pm, when Piglet is almost two. Recently my Year 11s were asking me if I would be able to go to their prom, and my answer was “well, I could go, but I’d have to be back home by 8.30pm to get my son to bed.” Oh and LOVE the 1987 reference. I’m going to use that from now on. #fortheloveofblog

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    1. Everyone needs a bit of Michael Fish in their life. To be honest I felt that people thought I was weird past 9 – 12 months with breastfeeding. I wasn’t completely clear what I was supposed to do…just stop cold turkey? But then I think some of my friends just didn’t and won’t ever get it. Nothing lasts forever x

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  14. Nodded my head like a crazy person the whole time reading this. My boy started play school a fee months ago and I was much more distraught than he was, he couldn’t care less about leaving me haha. I hope your little man settles in well xx #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. Ha! Yes I know that feeling. My son charges in sort of saying ‘byeee’. I want to ask him if he does actually know I’m going!! But would rather than way round, wouldn’t you!? Glad it’s going well and glad this post got you nodding! X

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  15. I definitely shared some of your fantasies of what having my first child would be like and like you I soon discovered that it was all just that… a fantasy 🙂 but that’s ok. When my son started pre school it was an emotional rollercoaster for me but only until he actually started because he loved it so much that I soon learned to relax.
    My mother used to say we slept anywhere and through all kids of noise so I was expecting the same to be true for both my kids but actually they are the complete opposite. They like to sleep in pitch black rooms and in a quiet ish environment. #fortheloveofBlog

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    1. Well that’s the other thing isn’t it – every child is different. I used to compare mine with my sisters all the time regarding sleep mostly and expected my son to do what my nephew did. Suffice to say he didn’t. Yes my son loves preschool so far so the actual day was a breeze…I think I just needed that moment the night before to transition! Thank you for commenting lovely x

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  16. I cannot for one minute say I understand, because I don’t… But I nearly laughed out loud when you said that the baby would fit into your life, not the other way round… I don’t even have children and my God do I know that’s not true! 😂
    Proud of you for giving yourself a shout out! !
    You’ve given me inspiration to write a blog post, but with my experiences in life 🙂 xxx #fortheloveofBLOG

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  17. Gosh, this is very funny and true. I liked your point about dressing a baby being harder than you think. Mother always says: ‘It won’t be the crying or the teething or the night waking or the nappy explosions that break me. It will be dressing her.’ I guess I wriggle about a bit too much 😉 #passthesauce

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  18. I often have these moments where the reality is so much different to the expectation. Child birth being one of them, a big one in fact. I had this perfect expectation that I would have a natural labour in a pool, in fact it was far from that with an induction, all drugs and a C-section. How wrong was I? I also expect and hope that when my little one starts nursery in 6 weeks that she will love it, and I will be fine. In reality I think I won’t be fine, so I’m trying to prepare myself for that now. Your list is fab, completely agree with the breastfeeding comment, and dressing a baby too. I would love things to stay the same, but that would make life boring. It’s good to be kept on your toes, I’m waffling now. Thanks so much for joining the party again at #fortheloveofBLOG, hope you come back next week. Claire x

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    1. Very true, we can lament each phase ending but wouldn’t want things to stay the same. Even if nursery is not OK in 6 weeks time…it will settle, it will be ok. Thinking of you.
      The birth was a bit of both for me – i would have liked the expectation you had but I was actually really nervous so I ended up just having quite an open mind with it. The on paper birth was decidedly tricky but the way I feel about it is perfect so a mix! Thanks for hosting…I’m back this week!

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  19. I can relate to so many of these! I’m not sure exactly who or how the expectations are build up, but there are there and often nothing resembles reality. #Passthesauce

    Ps. You have my vote in the BIBs – hope to see you there in June?

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

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  20. Ah, yes, so few things are as we expect and plan! I HATE weaning, I really do (& it only leads to the subsequent mealtime traumas you describe!). You do briefly think it’s going to be such fun – freedom from the incessant milk cycle. Then you realise you were picturing skipping straight to the style of a 4-5 year old. Give them food, they eat it, you have more time. No. Mess everywhere. Trying to think of food to give. They don’t eat it. Choking paranoia. Still giving milk. Nowadays, whenever I hear those people who are desperate to wean early, I silently think they must be mad!

    Hope the nursery experience is going well! I’m not really looking forward to eldest’s planned nursery school start in Sept (may all change if house move goes through!), though she is!

    Thank you so much for linking up with #PasstheSauce

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    1. So true…my vision is completely that of 4-5…probably 7-8 year old! I very much bumbled through weaning and probably will again.

      Preschool is going swimmingly…it’s only one afternoon a week – he’ll do more in September. Ah it’s a good start that the toddler is looking forward to it though! Hmm not much fun trying to find a different one though, well I imagine I don’t know? I struggled to find many round here!

      Thank you for co-hosting, hope it was fun x

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  21. I think you’re amazing lovely. I havent managed half of these yet and some I can’t imagine ever managing – the nursery scares me to death! Im also scared of my darling daughter turning into a terrible toddler ha ha ha! And vaccinations – we do what we have to do!
    #passthesauce #triballove

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    1. Ahh your darling baby will turn into a darling toddler…I love the toddler stage really do. We were lucky not needing to send him to preschool/nursery before now – it mean we did it when we were all ready which made it a lot easier! You’ll be fine xxx

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