I was having a lovely Dim Sum lunch yesterday with the girlie and my parents. We hadn't had a visit with them in a little while, so it was nice to have a chat with them about the kids, how they were doing. My parents miss seeing them, now that they've gotten older and there are smaller babies to attend to they don't have as regular visits. I'm sure they're thinking I need to make the effort to get them together more; which will likely be easier in the summer.
We were talking about the end of school coming around, and my mom mentioned that the L-boy thinks he might get an A in math in his report card. I actually heard him telling her over the phone about how well he just did on his multiplication, division and fractions unit. He was very proud of this unit as he had the fewest mistakes of any previous booklet. Mom was pleased, but she did say that when I was in Grade 2 I knew all of my multiplication tables inside and out. Yes, I remember because I was there, and I used to chant them in a trance while walking through the house bored out of my gourd. If I missed something or let up with the chant, I would hear her yelling from the kitchen ..."and what was 6 x 8 again?? Are you sure? I can't hear you!!!!" And my Dad taught me how to do long division that year too.
My parents made it a point to tell me that they thought my boy was very bright; but because he is, he needs to be guided, to help him to be more careful about his work. Then they asked me what I wanted him to be when he grows up ... a doctor? A lawyer? Or maybe the girlie might be better as a lawyer, after all she's pretty stubborn and tenacious.
Hmmmm, expect much? At this point, I just want my kids to enjoy being children, play, enjoy and learn something in school, try a few sports and other activites, and not want for anything. The marks don't mean much to me at this point. As long as he's not struggling and still learning, (he's a solid B+ student ) all is good.
My mom asked me if I would consider putting the boy in tutoring to strengthen his skills. Maybe get him a workbook for Grade 3 now, so that he can work ahead. Now I know this is something that happens A LOT in my boy's school. And the pressure is already on; I know that there are some kids in his class who do the after school tutoring not to keep up, but to get ahead. I said certainly I'd get him a tutor, if he needed one. At this point, we (as in his father and myself) don't think he needs one. Hmpffffttt... me bad mommy. Lunch wasn't feeling too lovely at this point.
I struggle with this almost on a daily basis. Am I too lax with the kids? Are they not enrolled in enough lessons? Are they not exposed to enough of the world, are they not being nurtured enough to do their best, to excel? But then again, they are only 8 and 3. Heaven forbid that I admit to the folks that the girlie cannot yet spell her name, but she does know her ABCs and she can count. I haven't told my parents that she can't yet recognize all her numbers or write them very well. I figure we'll have all summer to nail that down before kindergarten starts. Have I really swung way over to the other side of the pendulum in my desire to let my kids have a childhood?
What do I want my kids to be when they grow up? I want them to be happy, well-adjusted, and comfortable with who they are and what they are doing. I don't want my own expectations to get in the way. I don't blame my parents ; this is what they know, they've done well by their philosophies, and not to use it as an excuse, but to a great extent this is cultural.
I am afraid, though, that my legacy is to eventually expect too much from my kids. Although I'm not a royal screw-up despite my struggles within myself as to whether I did as well as I could have(ie. to be a lawyer, doctor, dentist, you know .... a, ahem, real profession); I know I will wonder whether I will have done enough, given them and guided them enough, so that they really will know for themselves, who they want to be.
I'm still waiting for this for me.
Hi, my name is Karen, and I want to be Pocahontas when I grow up.