I am a fan of good endings. I like when a movie ends with a lost dog finding his way home, or when the relationship between the two main characters works out, or when the little boy who was left out at school finds a friend. Good endings are quite common in movies, but they are not so common in the every day moments of life with small children, a fact I have picked up on in my 7.5 years of motherhood. This makes sense, because movies are often tied up in such neat little packages, and children might just be the furthest thing from “neat little packages.”
Sometimes you get a little glimpse of a really bad ending before it happens, which might give you the time to redirect the storyline and save the day, but also might very much not. For example, here are some things I have heard my children announce that I just knew would not end well:
“Mommy — can we play on the iPad? We’ll take turns!”
“S is playing with a squirrel downstairs, Mommy! A REAL squirrel!”
“We’re going to go have a water fight!”
“I’m gonna pour my own milk.”
“Mommy, we’re bringing you breakfast and coffee in bed! We made it ourselves!!”
“I wanna take this very special, tiny thing with me on an outing. I won’t lose it!”
“Mommy — don’t come downstairs. I’m DOING something.”
“Can I climb that, Mommy? It’s not too high.”
“Can I play with Lego in the living room? I’ll clean up all the pieces so you don’t step on them later.”
“We’re going to play a game called ‘Don’t see girls!’ So you have to close your eyes, Mommy, and you can’t see me, okay? EVER.”
“I lost my worm in my room!”
And the list goes on. And you get that feeling of dread in your stomach, because it’s time for another bad ending, which will involve another sad moment where you have to comfort your child, even as it drives you crazy because you’ve told them a MILLION times not to do the thing that they just went ahead and did anyway. Duurrrrrrgh.
And in case you’re wondering, it’s almost two years later, and we never DID find that worm.