I once heard that ALL disappointments in life are caused by un-met expectations. Because the speaker was a "Communications Expert", his belief was that un-met expectations were caused by poor communication. Judging by the disappointed crying, my folly this time was definitely a failure in communication.
A few days ago, I had to take Alex in for his birthday check-up. He didn't like to have the Dr look in his ears, and he cried. He didn't like the Dr to look in his mouth, and he cried. He didn't like to lie on the crinkly paper, and he cried. He REALLY didn't like to get his shot, and he REALLY cried. After the appointment, we had a little over an hour before we would need to get Erika from school. Since the pediatrician's office is close to Target and since he had had a difficult morning, I asked Alex if he would like to go to Target to get a cookie and look around. He responded that he didn't want to go to Target. He said that he would like to take his car home to be with its friends. I thought that going home and playing with his new matchbox cars would be a fun way for us to spend the time, so I agreed. After we got home, Alex took the car that he had brought with him to the Dr's office and ran into the family room. He carefully placed his car on the couch where he had left the others before his appointment and said, "The car is with his friends, we can go to Target now." I'm sure you see now where my poor communications had led me. I interpreted his desire to bring his car home as a desire to be home himself. The drive to Target from the Dr's office would have been about a mile. The drive home from the Dr's office was closer to ten miles. Hard hearted woman that I am, I was unwilling to drive 10 miles back to Target after I had just driven the 10 miles home. I sadly explained that we would not be able to drive back to Target, it was too far and we had other things that we would need to do. Many and bitter were our tears at this unhappy outcome.
I now realize that when people say that you need to stay one step ahead of your children they are actually referring to the need to know the chronological order of the steps your children wish to make.