Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

Like most people, I had a lot of ideas about how I'd parent before I had kids. And like most people, most of my ideas turned out to be wrong.

The latest idea to fall is the idea that I wouldn't sign my kids up for a lot of classes and activities. We started out well- Pumpkin hadn't been to so much as a Mommy and Me music class before she turned three. But then we decided we wanted Pumpkin to learn a foreign language, and the earlier you start that, the better, so she's taking Chinese lessons. And of course, you have to do swim lessons.  (And to be fair, they have been a huge help with getting Pumpkin comfortable in the water- and given where we live, I consider swimming to be a necessary life skill.)

Still, when one of the other parents at day care sent out an email about soccer lessons one day a week after day care, I thought "no way- we don't have time."

But, since I am a true co-parent, I forwarded the email to Hubby. Turns out, he's quite keen on the idea. He's worried- I kid you not- about her "ball skills". I pointed out that she's four. He pointed out that her baby sister is actually better at throwing and kicking than she is. I had to concede that point, but I think Petunia may just be unusually good in that regard. The kid can throw one handed and catch reliably already, and she is not yet two.

Regardless, Pumpkin is now signed up for seven weeks of soccer class. We've sort of figured out how to make that fit in our schedule. And I've resigned myself to the fact that we're going to be parents like all the other parents- swearing that we don't want to overschedule our kids while we somehow find their schedule filling up.

In other news, I have finally found a dinner that everyone in the family likes- gnocchi. The only problem is that it requires three different toppings: pesto for me and Hubby, cheese and nothing else for Pumpkin, and red sauce for Petunia. It is a good thing that I gave up on the idea that my kids wouldn't be picky eaters a long time ago.


  1. Anonymous4:02 AM

    4 years of ignoring picky eating (except for assuring DS that he would grow into liking foods he disliked when he was older), our little guy has eaten corn chowder complete with green, carroty, and potatoey bits all up with a spoon and green chicken chili all up saying it was delicious (we're two nights into zero picky eating). Hungry Monkey talks about how all kids get picky (most likely for evolutionary reasons) and most of them will grow out of it if you don't let it be a big deal. We have definitely seen that to be the case, and thank goodness. We have never gone so far as to make him a separate dinner unless we have leftovers ready to go, but generally he can eat a banana or something that takes no effort on our parts if he doesn't like a family meal. Lots of "If you don't like the onion, don't eat it. Take it out."

    I've sworn I won't schedule DS as much as my mom scheduled us, and if I do I will hire someone to do the driving around. That fits very well with my lazy tendencies-- I'm not doing it for DS but because I would rather do my thing than sit in the car.

    Right now DS is doing swimming. At some point I would like to add piano. I wish more of these kinds of things were connected with school so we wouldn't have to drive.

  2. We had DS in a lot of activities before he was three - because he was with a nanny and home all day we wanted to give him lots of opportunities for getting out and trying things. But this year, he started 5 day per week Montessori and we stopped all activities except for swimming (which is really a non-negotiable as far as a I am concerned). I see pre-school as many activities all rolled into one (music, art, french, etc.).

    Cracks me up that your husband is worried about her "ball schools".

  3. The milliner1:07 PM

    I agree with @Jac that pre-school seems to be a lot of the extra-curricular activities rolled into one.

    DS is currently in zero extra activities. I'd like to get him into swimming lessons again. He did them at 6 months, but not since. How we ever got to the pool for 8am every Sat am, I'll never know. I am conscious of overscheduling our weekends though, and have purposely scaled back a few times when I could see it was too much for DS. I'm becoming more conscious of overscheduling as DS gets older. But I think to that how the kid is reacting to
    everything has to be a big barometer too. As long as you're looking as objectively as possible, and not rationalizing a pattern of reactions or behavior, I have to think everything will turn out.

    That "ball skills" thing has to be a guy thing. DH seems very interested in keeping an eye on this as well and isvery proud of DS when he shows great skill in this area.

  4. Meant to say "ball skills".

    I am apparently brain-dead.

  5. You know, in general, I don't think it qualifies as anything even close to the "overscheduling" the media so often codes as a negative if your kid is really, truly enjoying the activities, while learning valuable life skills that are harder to pick up when the kid is older, such as a tonal language and swimming. Soccer is only 7 sessions? Sounds just perfect.

    DS has tried a lot of brief classes in his 3.5 years: swimming, gymnastics, soccer, art, music, foreign language, and preschool. My kid makes it perfectly clear when he is not into something - and that's when we stop going. In addition to preschool, he's chosen to keep doing only soccer and swimming, both of which are under an hour-long and last no more than 2 weeks at a time.

    Gnocchi is awesome - I can see why everyone loves it.

  6. Yeah, I don't think it's over-scheduling unless there's stress and coercion involved. Tate did some stuff at his daycare, tennis and a tumbling class, and soccer through the Y. Oh to be able to get him to take swimming lessons, though. I agree about learning to swim as a necessity but when water in the eyes makes your kid scream?!? Swimming just isn't so much fun. :(

  7. We are facing this dilemma too. My son will be in kindergarten next year and I want to sign him up for a foreign language class; however, he loves his swimming and sports classes, and has also mentioned an interest in taking a theater and/or music class. Yikes!

    On the other hand, in our case the alternative would be for him to hang out with our sitter and his baby brother. When the weather is nice this works pretty well, but in the winter, it's no fun at all for him or for sitter and brother. So I'm starting to see a value in all of these after-school classes, as long as some of them have an element of free play or creativity.

    To that end, I'm thinking of doing a Dalcroze music class versus instrument lessons; the theater class could be improvisation or creative-play oriented; and I'm searching high and low for a less structured foreign language class that's more conversational. But I hear you on this.

  8. I was just chatting with my daughter about different classes. Her "dance camp" (two mornings a week for the next two weeks while she's on summer break from her pre-school) starts for her tomorrow. I also talked about how she could sign up for a music class and an "arts" class in the fall. One of each is probably my maximum, partly because of costs.

    She started getting really upset. Apparently it's really hard to pick. I'm pretty sure she's going to be the kind of kid who wants to do everything. And as long as we can afford it and get her places, I have no problem channeling her high energy into different activities!

    Like others have said, as long as she is enjoying them and we can manage it, I'll sign her up! I loved taking lots of different classes and activities when I was little.

    Am I the only one who doesn't like gnocchi? I think it's a texture thing...


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.