Expect great things!

One of the trickiest things about parenting for me these past six years has been managing expectations.

It all started with What to Expect When You’re Expecting and What to Expect: The First Year. These books led me to believe my baby boy would behave in a certain way (the correct way). And if he didn’t, I was worried, frustrated and, when it came to sleep, even resentful.

Comparing my kid to friends’ kids was worse. Our friend’s son took religious 3-hour afternoon naps. Naturally, mine would, too. Um ... nope! All the books said my son should be sleeping “at least” 12 hours a night. Uh-huh. And why does every kid but mine love bananas? And why isn’t he more cuddly?

Finally, I realized my son is a one-of-a-kind kid. He could never be described by a book. And that’s a really beautiful thing. He’ll sleep when he sleeps, eat what he eats and he’ll even love me in his very own precious way.

Now I can just enjoy my unique boy and bask in him being just who he is — our one and only, wonderful Sam. Each day I strive to meet him where he is, not where I expect him to be necessarily (other than being a generally kind, somewhat clean, decent human being).

In the June issue of Minnesota Parent magazine, the concept of unrealistic expectations was highlighted for me in a story about car-seat safety, of all places. Local mother and passenger safety guru Heather Darby points out that parents can put their children in danger by rushing them onto the next type of car seat.

Putting a young toddler in front-facing seat or young preschooler in a booster can be a very bad idea if you do it too soon.

“We’re always kind of looking for that next milestone,” Darby said. “When it comes to car seats, you want to do the opposite.”

With this issue, I hope we can help you manage expectations — not just with how not to get ahead of yourself with car seats, but also with a feature on local, age-appropriate parks.

Got a so-called picky eater? Columnist Jen Wittes has advice on how to manage your expectations — but not give up either!

As for me, I’m going to try to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Because, as Teens and Tweens columnist Joy Riggs explains this month: Someday soon, we’ll likely be spending part of our summer not touring neighborhood parks, but colleges.

Just thinking about that makes me feel sleep-deprived, but for a very different reasons.

Sarah Dorison is the Editor of Minnesota Parent and Minnesota Good Age magazines. She lives in Golden Valley with her husband and their 6-year-old son. Follow her parenting adventures and photography at instagram.com/mnparent. Write her at editor@mnparent.com.