Let's be honest. Sometimes, as parents, we're judgey. I confess; I am a judgey parent. I'm quite often a judgey parent. I say things like, "Oh, I would never let my kid behave like that," or, "I would never let my kid eat like that." Take, for example, the lady I ran into at the doctor's office waiting room the other day. She had two kids who were, well, not exactly well-behaved. They were so not well-behaved that an elderly gentleman (and by elderly I mean old and cranky) actually yelled at one of the children and told the mom her kids were "brats." (They were. It's true). Every other parent in the place looked at that mother with their "I would never let my children act like that" eyes (I fully admit to being one of those parents). The reality is, however, that what we were all thinking was, "Thank goodness my kid is somewhat behaving today," and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Well, today, I was that parent; the one that every other parent in the place looks at with the "I'm so glad my child isn't acting like yours" look. Today was Gavin's first day of soccer class: forty-five minutes, once a week, with kids his age, kicking around soccer balls and running around like wild animals. And, we were so excited, right? He was dressed to impress with his new soccer shoes, shinguards, soccer socks, and soccer shorts. He was going to have a blast, burn some energy, and hone his skills so he could one day score the winning goal in the World Cup, right? Wrong.
Apparently, Gavin was still a little tired from his adventures with his cousins yesterday. What this translated to was a tired, whiny, pathetic toddler who cried 90% of the time, clung to my legs, refused to pay attention, and pretty much hated the whole experience. Five minutes into the class, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Mommy, I'm tired. I just want to go home." Great. Now I can't use that as a threat.
Oh, I tried to get him to have fun and participate. Heck, I even participated. There I was, the only parent on the field, dribbling the ball, running and touching the wall, and whatever other silly things they asked the kids to do. Alas, nothing worked. Ignoring him made him cry more; threatening to leave him alone the field made him cry more; acting like I was having fun only made him cling to my legs more. It was a lost cause. There was no way this kid was going to participate. But, damn if I didn't try. I tried anything and everything that came to mind in those forty minutes (Why only forty minutes you ask? Just wait.) to get him to at least give it a try.
The frustrating part is he's normally a happy, fun-loving kid who LOVES to play soccer and pretty much any other sport that involves some type of ball (Minds out of the gutter, folks). All my attempts failed. They failed so miserably that, in the last five minutes of class, he was sobbing uncontrollably and threw himself to the ground. At that point, nothing was going to work. No soothing words, no negotiation tactics, were going to make him stop crying and go kick the ball into the net. So, I waved my white flag, pick him up, carried him off of the field, and parked his pathetic little butt on the bleachers so he could watch everyone else finish the class.
So, today, I should be humbled by the fact that I was that parent. The parent everyone is judging, while at the same time secretly rejoicing in the fact that their kid was far better behaved then mine (except for the parents of the one kid who refused to do anything but sit in the goal). This whole experience should probably make me way more sympathetic towards other parents in the future. Eh, doubt it.
Get thee to an independent bookstore.
1 hour ago