June Journals #5 – Watch me, Mummy!

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Our Garden Gym

The sun came out yesterday. It was amazing. We went from March to June in an hour. I finally got the lawn mowed after my run, so my daughter was back to gymnastics in the garden.

Back to more, ‘Mummy, watch me, please!’

I love watching my daughter do her routines. It takes me back to my own childhood, when we put on plays and dance routines and all sorts for our parents. A simple time. And it’s beautiful watching how far she has come, with just her own hard work.

But.

There’s always a but, isn’t there? I think parenting should be renamed, ‘But…’

The ‘but’ here is that my daughter also gets super frustrated when she can’t do the gymnastics she sees on YouTube. You know, those kids who’ve spent hours a week in classes since they were three.

Yesterday, we printed off the Proficiency Awards worksheets, so she can see how much she can already do. I (foolishly) thought it would improve her confidence, maybe even make her want to join a club.

No.

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Me & My Sis

My independent Aquarius refuses tuition. But… I’m at the end of what I can teach, both through my ability to demonstrate (I never did bend well, and my wrists are beyond weak) and through my limited store of patience. A teacher I am not.

With karate, she will listen to her instructor a zillion times more than me (except when he says she’s ready for her next exam, but that’s a whole other problem). I think with gym classes she would flourish.

If she just had fun at home, it wouldn’t occur to me to put her in classes. I think kids do far too much scheduled activity. But just as we’ve reached the limit of what I can teach them in the pool, if she wants to improve – and she does – then a professional is required. Even pro athletes have a coach.

Not my daughter.

And it’s becoming a problem. How do you parent it? Like with the karate, what’s the best option? Do you make them do the exam, knowing they’ll be fine, or let them languish and get bored while their peers move on? Is it just for fun, or should it also be about putting in some effort, wanting to improve?

I have no idea.

All I know is that it was easy to, ‘Watch me, Mummy’ when it didn’t end in a dramatic exit. And that’s without the whole, ‘I wish I didn’t have a brother’.

There’s definitely no solution for that one!

5 thoughts on “June Journals #5 – Watch me, Mummy!

  1. I think you should try and push her a little. Passing the exam would give her a huge boost and make the next stages of karate more challenging. And fun.
    Same for the gym lessons.
    My mum never pushed us. Mainly (in hindsight) out of laziness (so she didn’t have to taxi us around) and to save money. Her defence would be “but you’d never have been world champions abyway so what was the point?” The point is (was) everything else that progressing in a hobby / sport brings (even if not at champion level). Alex didn’t want to do swimming lessons (went through four months of bullying at nursery and confidence plummeted and he stopped all activities. Tried to start with swimming. He didn’t want to. That was a recap of what went on before). He really didn’t want to. Scared. In tears. Etc. we agreed on private lessons. He’s loving them. Confidence boosted as he can jump in now. Swim s little. Etc.
    but if I had let him decide he’d still be on the sofa telling me K called me skinny and ugly today and that I can’t run fast and that I smell etc
    Trying pushing a teeny bit?…

  2. I agree that a little pushing is good. We’ve taken her to all her other exams even though she cries. The difference this time is she’s had some supply teachers who eroded her confidence. We had the same with swimming lessons, learning to ride a bike, etc, and the thing is she goes off and teaches herself! I think we’re going to try and convince a grandparent to come to the exam. Cunning might trump stubborn!

  3. McMini is like this. For some years he wanted to learn the drums. We borrowed a set and after playing them a couple of times, he hasn’t touched them. I have the name of two really good teachers but neither of them could do regular lessons, only as and when. He is incredibly musical, much more musical than me and has great rhythm. But by the time I was 7 years old, I had been able to read music for 3 years and had passed Grade 1 violin. To me it wasn’t a chore but to him it seems it is. Ditto with swimming. It went well at school. He learned to swim (in the last session) but hasn’t done it since and isn’t showing any interest so I’ve booked him some lessons in the holidays, just to boost his confidence.

    On the up side, he loves football club and really enjoys playing even though he isn’t that good (he thinks he’s brilliant). I’m not sure what the answer is. Just when I think he won’t work at anything, he suddenly hits on something he does like and works at it without any effort on my part. I think all you can do is help them find their niches by giving them as many options as possible and a little light pressure now and again.

    For what it’s worth, the cunning plan sounds like a winner.

    Cheers

    MTM

  4. Haha maybe it’s the modern generation (god that makes me sound old!) We have drums and a piano and guitars but NO to lessons! Although daughter followed five piano lessons on YouTube, learned one little song, and that was enough. Saved me a fortune in lessons.
    The cunning plan has indeed worked. Granddad is coming. There were tears when I said she really needed to do the exam, but we got to the bottom of her fear. The head of the club does the kata part of all exams (her least favourite bit) and it terrifies her. So we drew a picture of sensei wearing a tutu and pink sparkly heels and by the end she was giggling. But, oh my, I felt like I walked a tightrope across a ravine of hungry crocs! And we have to do it all again on the actual exam day, (and hope she doesn’t giggle in sensei’s face).
    I guess the difference for their generation is a) the possibilities are endless and b) finding your niche is a ‘thing’ rather than just getting a job to pay the mortgage. Haven’t decided yet which makes you happier :/

  5. Pingback: June Journals #18 ~ Exam Day | writermummy

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