I watched Mare at gymnastics the other day. She was distracted. She putz’d. She asked to get a drink. She went to the restroom. In between these activities, she craned her neck, watching the more advanced girls stretch and do flips.
I sat in the stands a fumed.
For the record, I didn’t fume because I have a burning desire to see my daughter join the ranks of Mary Lou. No, I fumed because I’m a cheap-ass mother who does not like to see her money wasted. If I’m paying money – a lot of money – for something, the kid better be taking full advantage of it or we are quitting and I’ll go buy myself a new pair of boots.
So, Mare and I had a talk after class. I observed that she spent a lot of time watching the advanced girls. I agreed that they got to do lots of fun things. I then pointed out that they got to do lots of fun things because they had spent a lot of time practicing and a lot of time listening to their coach. They were focused.
I reiterated this theme throughout the week.
Yesterday afternoon Mare whined about not wanting to go to gymnastics which really pissed me off. I informed her in no uncertain terms that I was not going to beg her to do this activity. It was expensive and I could think of a lot of uses for that money (like a new pair of boots…) Mare stopped whining, went in and put on her leotard and adopted a positive attitude.
Just before her class started (a make-up again) I tugged on her ears and mimed putting on new ones. I then whispered that the listening ears were now officially on. She beamed at me and ran on to the mat.
Chip was sleeping in the car so I couldn’t watch her practice. When I picked her up after class, she told me that she did a really great job listening and focusing. And she had a lot more fun.
“I think you need to put on my listening ears before every practice.”
Mare has a long way to go before she gets to do the interesting stuff. There are four levels of beginner classes, and she is only on the second level. I think she has more ability than she has been displaying lately, though, so it will be interesting to see if she masters a few things now that she is more focused. Of course, once they finish the beginner level, the options all require increased mat time which means more money. So while I’m curious to see what she does with this enthusiasm, I’m not quite sure what we’ll do when/if she finishes the four levels.
From what I’ve heard, the next step costs about the same as buying a pair of nice, leather boots every month. E-v-e-r-y month. Sigh… do I even need to mention that this momma has been wanting a new pair of boots for a couple years?