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this isn’t the Tour de France, people

August 29, 2013

huffypinkbikeI love to laugh at parents this time of year. Ok, I like laughing at most parents most of the year. Right now, though, we’re all trying to figure out what after school activities we’re willing to commit to, which ones our kids want to participate in, and how we’re going to afford it all.
It’s a tricky balance. We want our kids to do fun things with their friends. It’s important to expose them to team sports, winning and losing, and a variety of cultural experiences. Blah, blah, and blah. It’s also good for them to have free time.
We’ve gone through phases when soccer has overlapped play rehearsal, which overlapped piano lessons. For about two weeks of the year, I think I might go crazy. For those of you with really, really involved kids, I don’t know how you do it. If you have a lot of really, really involved kids, you must drink a lot of wine.
Since he was about four, The Boy played soccer. For many reasons, he isn’t this season. I felt the need to replace the time slots once occupied by practices and games. Talking to The Boy, though, he’d like to ride his bike after school. Sounds good to me.
The Girl put all eggs in one basket. One day per week, she takes two dance classes. In the past, she’s played tennis, done swim team, and acted in a play. She loves dance. Otherwise, she wants to play in the yard. I’ve asked if she still wants to play tennis, to be sure we aren’t short changing her or anything. She says she’s fine for now.
They aren’t lazy kids. It may sound like they are, because we are much less involved than most of their friends. If they don’t want to be on a soccer team, so be it. The last thing I want is to pay a bunch of money to drag a kid to an activity that I have to watch after scarfing down Chick Fil A in the car. They love to play in the yard and go home with friends. We like sitting down to dinner as a family. They need time to do their homework.
Speaking of that, homework sucks. It’s repetitive busy work. From what I can tell, it’s probably creating good after-school study habits, otherwise its benefits are lacking. Writing and rewriting spelling words can take a normally happy family and turn us into miserable fools.
Many of your kids are really talented. She’s the star keeper on the soccer team. He has the lowest ERA in Little League. The other daughter made dance company and travels for the tennis team. As long as they actually like it, they should be doing it. We need to be careful about making them too busy. Being a kid is important, too. I think it’s actually good for them.
Today, mine are outside racing cars on a chalk drawn track. They won’t win any Olympic medals or scholarships for it, and that’s ok.
Last week, I got the nicest message from one of The Girl’s dance teachers. I’d sent her one, telling her that we loved dance so much, and we couldn’t wait for classes to start back up again. She replied saying she was glad, and with The Girl’s concentration and drive, we might have a little star on our hands. Now, I’m sure she says that to all parents. It’s a really nice thing to say. I’m more interested in finding things my kids truly enjoy doing. They don’t need to be stars. Most of them won’t be anyway. Maybe we can learn something from Miley.

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