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Mar 1, 2011

Dealing with Mama's planning mistakes

I pride myself to be a pretty good planner. I plan things in advance, I put them in a calendar, and in most cases I really remember appointments and dates in my head. So I rarely miss things. Well, I made 2 planning mistakes within 2 weeks of each other... With a full-time job, 2 kids and lack of sleep, I think I have reached the point where my planning process isn't robust enough. I need another back-up strategy. And both mistakes were for really exciting events for Daniel, so disappointing for him. Bad mommy!
It was interesting to see how he responded, though. In both cases, I think I was the most upset of us 2, hating myself for missing something. Daniel handled his disappointment very well, and I have to say I was very impressed by it.

The first mistake happened when scheduling a playdate with one of Daniel's best friends. I completely missed the "detail" of the mom writing "next" weekend and not "this" weekend. So, there we went, at the playground a week too early... and the friend never showed up. Daniel was so eager to see his friend, running in anticipation. For the first 10 minutes, he was running around the park, checking to the side where his friend might be coming from. After 10 minutes, we suggested him to start playing instead of just checking, and he reluctantly started using the slides, etc... As time went by (and for us adults it was clear that the friend wasn't going to come), it was interesting that Daniel remained optimistic that his friend would show up. He came up with all kinds of excuses why he might be late, but on his way soon: maybe he took a longer nap, maybe his car needs gas, etc... Daniel didn't want to give up, but I knew he would eventually need to face the reality. I was so heart-broken.
Fortunately, over time, Daniel got more and more involved with the playground structures, so he still had some fun by himself. And when we faced him with the fact that we would need to go home without seeing his friend, he accepted it pretty well. He still kept asking when we would see his friend again, and the week-long wait was almost unbearable. Thankfully the playdate really happened a week later, and I think this was the most important for Daniel.

My second mistake happened the following weekend after I noticed that there was still a lot of snow on the mountains around us. Daniel had been asking to go see the snow all winter and I thought that there might be a way for us to get close to the snow without having to drive 5 hours, maybe just one. We didn't need much snow. Maybe just a few inches to walk in it and build a snowman. I checked the webcams at the top of the mountains and they all showed enough snow. So we got ready: I fought with Daniel to take an early nap, we packed things to build a snowman, we got all our winter gear ready (Daniel insisted on wearing his gloved in the car), and we started driving. A long drive: over an hour, and at the end, many curves that made the kids dizzy. And then, right when we got to the last 10 miles, we were told that the road to the top was closed: too much snow at the top (no snow where the sign was, though). Oh no!!!!! I hadn't even thought to check the road conditions. I knew the snow had to have been there for a few days at least. I didn't even consider the fact that the road could be closed.

As we turned around, I felt so bad about making such a big deal out of it, just to get nothing. We might have as well stayed home and gone to the playground instead. I kept apologizing to the kids (I don't think they understood, though). I quickly tried to salvage the situation and redirected us to the nearby kids park Happy Hollow, which we ended up visiting for the rest of the afternoon. The kids had fun after all, and Daniel actually didn't complain too much about not seeing the snow. It looks like he was more confused than anything. He kept asking why the road was closed, and why it's difficult to drive on the snow. This seemed to be a bigger concern than not being able to build a snowman. He never really expressed any frustration about not being able to see the snow. Still, it took me a couple of days to stop being angry at myself for this.
Then, the weather forecast showed a slight chance of snow right in our backyard and I hoped that it would turn out to be true. A good way to redeem myself, I thought. Well, not surprisingly, the snow didn't come. But the road to the snow-covered summit is still closed. I guess we won't be able to see the snow this year. Hopefully next year, our quest for snow will be more successful. I think we will take less chances and go to the real mountains

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