As a mother I find myself continually walking a fine line between “Tiger Mom” and fat lazy American mom.
On the one hand I grew up in the 1980′s and reminisce fondly of my childhood years where there was little to no parent interaction and we would play outside all day, enjoying life without being shuffled around from activity to activity. Other times I am swayed by the mothers of Goopville that live in their SUV’s driving their children from sport to sport, music lesson to karate and wonder if I am
shoving enough down their throats doing enough.
This week I wavered back and forth quite a bit.
Over the weekend, Michael had baseball tryouts. Because he is young for his grade he misses the cut-off for moving into the league for nine and ten-year-olds. Instead of staying behind with seven and eight year olds he wanted to try out to move up with some friends from last year’s team.
I have mentioned before how Mr. Gaga is quick to dismiss the children’s athletic abilities. The stress leading up to the try-outs was intense. Thank God I was working and did not have to witness the actual try-outs because Mr. Gaga said it was agonizing. They waited and watched each kid get up and field balls, catch pop-ups and hit. He said Michael’s face was bloodless and zombie-like as he waited anxiously for his turn.
A table of
washed up dads that are living vicariously through their children men took notes while staring down boys showing off their baseball moves. They didn’t crack a smile once as they dismissed each child and called up the next.
When it was Michael’s turn, Mr. Gaga said he did ok, but we would have to wait until Wednesday to find out the results.
We found out mid-week that he made the team which was great news, but then I was bloodless and zombie-like. I started to worry that we made a bad decision to let him try out.
“Maybe I should have let him stay with the younger kids so he could be the star of the team,” I said to Mr. Gaga. “I always push him and every other mother holds their kids back so they can be superstars…..now he is going to have to keep up with ten-year-olds!!” I said wringing my hands.
“It will be fine.” Mr. Gaga answered dismissively.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, we had conference week to contend with. I was determined to find out if Michael was stupid or smart.
His teacher showed me some of what he has been working on. The minute she started to speak about math and scores I lost interest and couldn’t understand what she was saying. As she rambled on about “math facts” and “common core” I blacked out and started to think about what I would make for dinner. When the endless ramblings wouldn’t end, I cut her short and said, “Let’s pretend it’s the 1980′s. Would he be in the smart class or not?”
She stared back at me blankly and didn’t even smile. I then realized she probably doesn’t even know about the 1980′s. She was probably born in 1990!!!
She showed me some test scores that indicated that he was reading and
drawing groups of bananas doing math at an above average level. This was the most information I got out of a teacher in years!!
Sam’s was the usual meeting about how wonderful and amazing he his. When I mentioned that he gets extremely frustrated with the common core math problems, she wasn’t surprised.
“Well do you write out the answers for him?” she asked.
“NO! I would never!” I defended myself from this horrific accusation.
“Okay, well you can if you would like,” she answered sweetly, ” a lot of parents do that part of the homework for their kids.”
“Well, not this one!” I exclaimed. “I already completed the first grade, this is not my problem!” I exclaimed defiantly.
“Okay,” she answered calmly. “But did Sam ever ask you to do it for him?”
“Um no – because he knows better. He knows that I would laugh in his face.”
“Ok…..well if you ever change your mind…” she drifted off.
Now the teachers are telling us to do the kids common core homework because it is too hard?!!
The teacher is telling me that many parents are actually writing out the homework answers when their kids are perfectly capable of writing!!
Meanwhile, on top of all of this achievement we have started the dreaded swimming lesson season. I have told stories in the past about how furious I become during these lessons. How my children flail about year after year, excuse themselves from their swimming lessons to go poop and how they never seem to progress despite years of lessons.
As a result, when we began lessons a couple months ago they were placed at the same level that they have been for years, while other children have swum and gone.
On the first day, Michael and Sam hopped in the water waiting for their class to begin. The instructor asked where my children were.
“They are right there in the pool waiting for their “clownfish toddler swim program”….why?”
The teachers were even visibly shocked this session as it was noticably absurd to have thirty five year olds in such a low level swim class. Michael especially towered over the other children.
I warned him that he better not go to the bathroom once and that he better advance this year or there would be hell to pay.
Like the years before spent behind the glass watching my pathetic swimmers….I was disgusted. Watching my huge children flail about in the water with 5 year olds was painful.
I stormed into talk to the instructor after the lesson was over.
“Um – can he advance to the next level? He’s like 45 years old – and it seems absurd…” I said briskly.
“Yes – we definitely want to work with him so he can move forward,” the instructor said kindly. “Now maybe have you considered when this program is over – taking lessons at the School of Swimming or the YMCA?” she said carefully because she clearly thought she was dealing with an idiot.
“Yes!” I said cheerfully. “We have participated in both of those programs as well as two others, swimming lessons for three years at the beach and your program for three seasons!!”
My tone changed then, “I am into these two for thousands of dollars in swimming lessons,” I said pointing to my two children that were wrapped up in their towels laughing and fooling around, oblivious about what losers they were.
“I am NOT signing up for any other programs. I am signed up here and you will teach him to swim!” I shrieked.
Last week in the midst of waiting to find out if Michael was an idiot at his conference and if he made the baseball team – the swimming teacher confirmed that he in fact has made progress and will likely pass onto the next level of swimming this week!!
It is a swimming miracle sent from Jesus.
In the end of all of this stress, it turns out that Michael is smart, can swim and made the baseball team.
I don’t know how those Tiger moms do it….I am just not cut out for all of this over-achievement.
I MET A FEW WOMEN THIS WEEK THAT RANDOMLY KNEW ABOUT MY SECRET IDENTITY AND ASKED IF I REALLY SWORE IN FRONT OF MY KIDS AND THE ANSWER IS YES!!! CAN’T I HAVE ONE PLEASURE IN LIFE? BUT I DID CHALLENGE MYSELF TO A BLOG POST MINUS ANY CURSING AND A NOD TO JESUS…I WILL BE BACK TO MY OLD SELF NEXT WEEK….NOT TO WORRY.
PLEASE CLICK THE BANNER BELOW TO KEEP ME IN THE RUNNING AS AMERICA’S FUNNIEST MOTHER!! XO, LADY GOO GOO GAGA