"Can we go to Range Pond today?"
"Maybe, no promises."
"Are we having pizza for dinner?"
"You said I could get a new ____________."
"Sometime, no promises."
My dad was the KING of "no promises." Mom was a little easier to maneuver into a yes, but Dad was tricky. Probably the number one annoying thing about him, besides the fact that no matter how old we got he always told us to use soap and hot water when washing dishes. The man is pretty much a saint otherwise, but you could always count on "no promises" and "don't forget to use soap and hot water."
Dad, I'm 31 now. Pretty sure I always use soap and hot water.
Funny how your perspective changes. All of a sudden the phrase "no promises" is not only not annoying, it's a necessity. Because I have a 3 1/2 year old with an elephantine memory, and if I say we are going to do something and we don't, she calls me out.
Shortly before Christmas I spotted some discounted gingerbread house kits at Joann Fabrics. How perfect! I had told Sophia that we would make a gingerbread house this year, but was feeling a little undermotivated to make the actual house from scratch. So when I found the box containing house parts, icing glue, and candy all-in-one I snatched it up. I pulled out the kit when I got home to show Sophia, who was thrilled to bits and wanted to make it then and there. Since bedtime was half an hour away, I said no, but then I *promised* that we could make it together the next day.
Yes, I should have known better.
Because the next morning I got the phone call that a dear friend was in labor and could I please come? Of course! We can totally make the house later! I called my mom to come watch the kids, and prepared to head out.
Then I told Sophia that the house was going to have to wait, but we would be sure to do it soon. Because I was really looking forward to making it with her, crafty person that I am. Seemed like a super fun mama-daughter activity to do when Jude was napping, so of course it wouldn't be a big deal to put it off, right?
I can deal with temper tantrums. I am fine with floor-kicking, high-pitched shrieking, crocodile-tear shedding temper tantrums. Walk away, man. They will get over it.
What I can't deal with is a truly broken-hearted toddler who is trying-but-not-succeeding not to cry because she is so sad. And is clutching her gingerbread house kit and telling her mama "But you said we could do it today . . . you promised."
Life happens. Sometimes you have plans to do something, but then you get a flat tire and pizza money becomes tire money. Or your kids take nine hours to eat dinner and the nice long bubble bath with toys turns into a hurry-up-and-wash-your-hair-stop-crying-it's-no-tears-shampoo bath. Or a friend is having a baby and the gingerbread house has to be a grammy-granddaughter experience.
Of course, there are so many ways to use "no promises," but these are just a few practical examples I have used lately.
"Mama, can Zuzu come over to play Hagar and Ishmael?"
"Maybe, if Auntie Kristin says it's okay . . . no promises."
"Mama, can we go to the library tomorrow?"
"If the weather is good . . . no promises."
"Mama, can we do a craft today?"
"We might have time after naps . . . no promises."
Whatever the case may be, "no promises" is the catch phrase of choice for a savvy parent of toddlers who wants to avoid having their kid end up in therapy saying "but they promised" twenty years down the road. I've learned my lesson a few times over the last few months. From here on out, the word "promise" is removed from my vocabulary. I'm sure I will give my kids plenty of other issues to work out with their shrink, but hopefully broken promises will not be one of them.
Today is February 1st, which means it is time to draw a follower out of the hat (via random.com) to win this bag . . . drumroll, please!
And the lucky winner is . . . frostedwithgrace!
Congrats, Jen, you will have a new bag coming your way via the USPS very soon. I promise!