Today at work someone was asking for suggestions of a musical instrument for their young daughter to take up.
I am the wrong person to ask.
I am a chronic quitter, always have been.
When I was in elementary school I took gymnastics classes. Within weeks I was told I was “too tall” to be in the tumbling class and “not advanced enough” for the next class.
So, I quit.
I took up the flute, but learning how to read music gave me the same kind of panic attack as those timed multiplication charts.
So, I quit.
I took Jazz dance with a friend of mine from the ‘hood and couldn’t memorize the steps to save my life. Not to mention that I resembled a knock-kneed skeleton on crack.
So, I quit.
I was an aspiring artist for awhile, until I had a teacher who was a tad too touchy feely in middle school. I figured if I started drawing like a kindergartener, he’d keep his man paws off my bony shoulders.
So, I quit.
In 6th grade, I was forced by my mother to audition for a play. (there were tears, refusals… much drama, how apropos) I screwed up my lines the very first night of the run and… wanted to quit.
But, the lure of the stage was too great. The chance to be someone else, so that even if you DID mess up, it was almost like it wasn’t you anyway, so who cares?
No groping theatre teachers either, for obvious reasons.
In retrospect, I would’ve excelled at soccer or swimming. But, those weren’t given as options back then.
Everything was clearly delineated by gender.
My big brothers played football, soccer, did karate, track and even golf.
I… played in the backyard pool and read a lot of books with my door shut.
Now, I am at a loss when it comes to how to go about getting my children involved in extracurricular activities.
I tried to offer my daughter every possible sports option, even the clearly masculine ones like football. (I did forget about wrestling, but I don’t even want to watch my son wrestle. I don’t want to watch anyone wrestle)
She immediately expressed an interest in dancing (which I’ve mentioned is not going to be her strong suit) and horse back riding. (which could kill her)
My son’s obsession with balls and in particular kicking them will make soccer the likely choice.
But, how does a quitter teach their children not to quit?
How does someone with zero aptitude or athleticism ensure that their children lead healthy, well-rounded little lives?
I see other parents generally pushing their kids toward their favorite activities.
The hockey dad puts his son in hockey.
The Capoeira mom puts the kids in Capoeira. (Hi, Lissette!)
So, what does the mom who writes news, reads and drags herself to the Y to workout put her kids in?
“Honey, I am signing you up for boredom on Saturdays and Mediocrity on Sundays. Wednesday nights are for slovenly laziness and if the spirit moves you, perhaps a vigorous stroll.”
I asked her what it was.
She said, “Dirt. I dig and dig and dig at school.”
I asked, “Why?”
She responded, “I dig for worms and snakes.” “I dig for worms and snakes.” “I dig for worms and snakes.”
Seriously, she said it three times while looking zoned out. Sounded just like Rain Man.
Yet, I find my daughter’s bizarre eccentricities endearing.
Occasionally while I’m putting her to sleep, she launches into rapid-fire monologues, complete non sequiturs.
Last night, she randomly said, “Jimmy James (boy from school) can’t find my house. It’s way too far away. We can’t find his house either. It’s way, way, way, way far away.”
So, I’m wondering if they plot escape from the playground at daycare together. Then I picture them bumping into the enormous gator that lives in the lake nearby. (Reason #465 why I wish I was a stay-at-home mom.)
As I’m reading her Mother Goose, she starts twirling my hair with her finger and says, “I like your hair growing long like mine.”
Then she says, “Ha! You cut my hair outside at our old house!” (Holy crap, that was at least a year and a half ago. I don’t even remember it.)
Then she gets obsessed with the fact that there is no actual Mother Goose inside the Mother Goose book, so I have to go find the other Mother Goose book we have so she can flip through the entire thing to find said gander.
As I walk out to leave, she tells me it makes her happy that daddy helped her put on her sneakers and that I let her wear them to bed. She explains that she likes sneakers with dresses now.
She’s random, weird and perhaps slightly unhinged and I adore her.