Yesterday morning Alethea and I left Lydia and Peter at home and hopped into the car to run some errands. I told Alethea, “We are going to go to the library and we’ll look at books, but first we have to stop at the Post Office and buy stamps.” And then I reiterated myself several times to avoid a potential meltdown when our first stop wasn’t the beloved library.
We got to the Post Office. The line was out the door. They only had one clerk working on Saturday morning. Not good.
So I told Alethea, “Never mind, Honey. We’ll get stamps another day. Let’s just go to the library.”
I thought Alethea would be pleased to be headed to the library. Boy, was I wrong.
As I took her hand and started walking out the door to the car, she started crying. I asked her what was wrong. She sobbed, “Stamps! Stamps!”
I tried to console her. “It’s okay. We’re going to the library. We’ll get stamps a different day.”
Alethea continued to choke out, “Stamps! Stamps!” and didn’t calm down until we pulled into the library parking lot.
I thought it was funny. My little girl crying about not buying stamps when she doesn’t have a clue what a ‘stamp’ even is.
Then this morning I told my friend at church what had happened.
She laughed and then said, “It sounds like you have a structure loving first-born just like my daughter. When you give them the plan, you’d better follow it to a T, or you’re in trouble.”
I was thinking of it as an amusing anecdote, not a life-long personality trait.
It’s suddenly less amusing.
How does one teach a child flexibility? Because it looks like I’m going to have to figure that out, and quick!