Posted by: heartfull | April 3, 2008

Slowing Down

I looked at Bird’s backpack mail yesterday afternoon and saw the flyer for choir auditions.

“Bird, do you want to practice “Happy Birthday” or “Twinkle, Twinkle”? ”

“Why?”

“Because those are the pieces you have to sing for your audition next week.”

“What auditions?”

Sigh “For Choir!”

“Oh, uh, mumble mumble mumble.”

“Are you thinking you don’t want to do choir next year?”

“I just like coming home after school and relaxing, mom. I don’t want to do all that stuff.”

Waives of relief wash over me as I respond that that is fine. I, too, don’t like doing so much stuff after school. Last fall was a nightmare – between Bird’s four activities (dance, piano, soccer and choir) and Mare’s two (dance and soccer), we were in the van every school day but Wednesday until dinner time. Truly, it sucked.

At dinner we decided that one activity plus piano was it. Piano is year round. June and July will be swim team, though she is going to a camp at her dance studio in June (afternoon “Nutcracker” camp – I’ll be needing that, I think…) Her dance studio has a summer class the beginning of August, which I’ll sign her up for, knowing that we’ll stop dance while soccer is going on in September and October (though soccer is up in the air right now – the bees are very worrisome for her.) Then dance and piano the rest of the school year. Ah – bliss.

Mare will have gymnastics only in first grade. I will sign her up for piano in second grade.

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The kids played outside after school yesterday. All three of them jumped on the trampoline, rolling around, giggling, making up games. And that is exactly the reason I don’t want to ever repeat last fall again. Unstructured afternoons that allow energy and imagination to collide are exactly what childhood is all about.

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So, the question is, why can’t I put my foot down and declare “You will not do choir next year”? Why do I have to let Bird make that call, even though I know it is best for her to not do it? “Weak! Weak! Weak!” I scream at myself.

The answer, I suppose, is that I like the idea of all these activities. I like the grace that dance classes afford. I like the athleticism and camaraderie that team sports encourage. I like the life-long skills choir and piano teach. I want well-rounded children who are interested in the best that life has to offer. And yet, I don’t know if cramming it down their throats at the age of 7 and 8 is the best way to increase their interest. In fact, I would go so far as to state that it isn’t.

Bird is my oldest. I’m learning more and more about this parenting thing every day.

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Responses

  1. With my oldest being 14… I still learn new things about being a mom every single day. And I still question myself and second guess myself. Thats just one of the parts of being a mom I guess! As for all of the activities… I agree that unstructured play is very important but some structure is necessary too. My DD went years with no structured activities and I regret it. She has no drive to be involved now… maybe it is just being a teen! LOL


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