Tuesday, April 15, 2008

talking out both sides

I was killing time during the girls' gymnastics class, and started reading a book in a store. The book was "Alternadad," which you might actually know about (who knows?), since the author has a blog - also called Alternadad - but he only posts on a Parents . com blog that my once-over just now proclaimed "pretty darn good!"

The book is about the pregnancy and baby years, and how he got used to fatherhood. Sounds interesting.

I read a section about a parent-and-me gymnastics class he and his son enrolled in through a national chain of gymnastics schools.

It was not a glowing endorsement of the gymnastics class, to say the least. It was described as: horribly corporate school, sickeningly upbeat teacher, mind-bleeding music, and 'the kind of parents I hate to be around.'

I felt my hackles raise. My girls both took classes at this chain, before we switched to our current gymnastics school. The "corporate" place was wonderful for them, doing a great job of getting the girls to try physical activities in a nurturing, non-competitive environment. I have a lot of respect for a gymnastics place that is not trying to turn out prize-winning gymnasts, instead teaching children to enjoy exercising their bodies. This guy was bashing the place our family loves!

And besides, why is it that the 'hip' parents (or ones who try hard to show us all how 'hip' they are) have to loathe not only the usual kid activities, but also the parents who take their children to said activities? Some kids enjoy this, other kids enjoy that. How much does this really tell you about the kids' parents, I ask you? Just because you like something, or don't like something, doesn't tell you whether you would like parents who enjoy different family activities.

My girls love to take dance class. They have chosen that activity over soccer. I know a mom who thinks any parent who enrolls their daughter in ballet is dooming her to gender-roles-related issues. According to her, all parents need to put their daughters in sports, and if they put them in ballet, the daughters won't grow up to be strong, independent women.
Sheesh, this is so ridiculous to me. My girls like dance, and I respect their opinions. If I don't respect their preferences, what am I teaching my daughters? --That their opinions don't matter. Talk about unhealthy. This woman's daughter dresses up in princess and ballerina stuff when she plays at friends' houses, because she likes that stuff and her mom won't let her play that. To me, that's sad.

Anyway, back to that book. So I was all up in a huff about the bashing of the gym class and the other parents at the gym class.

Then I realized, he was taking the parent-and-me class. I refused to enroll the girls until they turned three because I did not want to be in the class with them. And it was for many of the same reasons that he didn't like the class! I would have felt ridiculous standing around with other parents singing silly songs about the balance beam, with my kid who wasn't interested in the planned activity but rather wanted to roll down the "cheese wedge." And that music is AWFUL!

Alright, I'll practice what I preach and cut this guy a break. Maybe he's not a poseur wanting to be hipper than the rest of us 'nauseating' parents. And maybe I'm really an alterna-mom wrapped up in an Ann Taylor LOFT package.

You never can tell.

No comments: