At a recent Bunco game I listened to a Mom talk about her only daughter. She spoke of her struggles with her daughter's drive-thru confusion. Because she got a lollipop every time she went through the bank, she assumed she would get one when she went through the pharmacy drive-thru and any other drive-thru window. This Mom, a funny and relatable woman, came up with a solution: she'd keep a stash of suckers in her glove box so whenever they went through the drive-thru her daughter wouldn't be plagued with disappointment. She started it a couple months ago and now is frustrated because she doesn't feel like she can stop. I smiled. I couldn't help myself. This is something I would never do, at least not now: 7 years into parenting and on child number 3.
I'm not sure if it's because I'm a hard ass or that I'm simply out of energy but disappointment is a lesson my kids learn at least once a day. I pride myself on it. I'm so pro-disappointment, in fact, that my kids don't get suckers at the bank unless the teller offers them. I refuse to ask for them and my van has tinted back windows so whether or not they get a Dum Dum after I complete a transaction is a crap shoot.
The whole conversation made me appreciate the benefit of hindsight and multiple children. Sure, we contribute to the population problem but we only have one guinea pig: the first child. The lessons we learn through trial and error with that child shape our entire parenting experience. I'm sure Truman would be delighted to learn that he taught me a most important lesson: Disappointment is a dish best served hot. And often.