December 6th, 2010

You Will Learn to Play Trombone, and You’ll Like It

Angie McCullagh

As a mom, I, of course, want to expose my children to all sorts of social and cultural opportunities. And living in a large city (Seattle) there are lessons and groups for every interest a child or parent might want to embark upon.

Milo and Belle could take part in soccer, basketball, curling, Karate, painting, cooking, trombone playing, French, 4-H, etcetera, etcetera. So, the question becomes, what do you choose? What doors do you attempt to open for your kids?

Some people say to wait and see what activities your children gravitate toward. But how will Milo and Belle know that curling even exists without us guiding them toward it. Besides, if Milo had his druthers, I’m pretty sure he’d prefer to spend all his free time practicing headstands on our living room couch. He needs nudges, is what I’m saying. Sometimes he actually needs to be shoved. Hard.

Milo is exceedingly fearful of trying new things. And he expresses his fear with uncooperativeness, whining, and refusals to attempt an unfamiliar task. More than once, to get to swim lessons on time, my husband had to toss our almost eight-year-old son over his shoulder and lug him out to the waiting car.

None of which is much fun for anyone.

Just this past Saturday we scored free tickets to see a show at the Seattle Children’s Theatre. Thereby introducing our kids to drama. So I asked Milo and Belle to put on decent clothes (in our house this basically means no stained sweatpants or ripped Crocs, both of which Milo was planning to wear), go to the bathroom, and get in the car.

Talk about drama! You would’ve thought I was demanding that my son wash the dishes, take out the trash, vacuum the rugs, and eat a bowl of brussel sprouts, all while wearing a suit complete with clip-on tie.

That’s how bad he feigned to have it. We finally loaded everyone up and made it to the play on time. But it was not pleasant. And I started asking myself, how badly do I want him to learn piano, join a baseball team, and take ski lessons? He’s acting enthusiastic about these things now, but what’s it going to be like on a day when he just wants to hang off the back of the recliner instead of going somewhere?

And how important are piano, baseball, and skiing for that matter? All the other parents seem to be signing their kids up for such ventures. If I don’t, is Milo destined to spend his life aimlessly contorted across living room furniture?

With a limited budget, time, and patience, I’m having a hard time deciding which extracurricular activities are really worthwhile, and which are just going to muddle our lives with too much detritus.

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)