April 26, 2010

Summertime...an' the livin' is easy...

OK, so it's nowhere near summer...in fact summer is still technically almost 2 whole months away, but a girl can hope!

Really, this is just a lament as to what to do with Captain Chaos...you see, Farmwife's #1 Son is starting tee-ball this summer, and I'm at a loss...when do you start your kids in something, and how do you know if you're starting them because they want to do it, versus just living vicariously through your children?

You see, being one of 5 children, there was never enough money to do all the things we thought we wanted to do. For instance, I wanted to dance. Desperately. I had visions of myself in a tutu, leotard, toe shoes, and a crown, as the lead in "Swan Lake", or "The Nutcracker"...or as a much better, less dysfunctional Liza Minelli in "Cabaret", Ginger Rogers, dancing with Fred Astaire...well, you get my drift...and then, I started reading some books about a girl that was a piano-playing prodigy that struggled with all the things normal girls deal with along with her insane amount of talent while determining what God had in mind for her life...I wish I could remember the name of those books...they were a series, and the title had her name in it a la Nancy Drew...something with Gail??? hmmmm...

But, I digress...after dancing came visions of being the next Chrissy Everett and I took tennis lessons from one of my oldest brother's friends...and then I wanted to write, and then, and then, and then...

But through it all, my folks knew that we had only so much money, and they had only so much time and energy to get all 5 of us to and from places and events. SO, I took piano and clarinet lessons, babysat, tutored, and was somewhat brainy and musical but not quite good enough to have anything come of it.

BB's mom wouldn't let him play football because she was afraid he'd get hurt. He wrestled in High School, but...he was the science guy - computer club, chess, other things of that nature...

Last summer, we bought a set of Walter H.agan junior clubs for BB and DG to share, before we knew we were having a 3rd child. BB took Captain out to the driving range about 2 weeks ago, and he seemed to enjoy it, but how do you know when it's time to start lessons in things?

I mean, here we are, learning and committing to being debt-free and living like no one else...but I want my kids to learn how to swim, how to swing a bat, throw a ball, swing a racket, play a tune, read music, know the 5 positions, and some basic dance steps, so they can decide what they are passionate about, and we can help them pursue that passion as they grow...

I'm not looking to raise the Tiger W.oods of their generation in whatever field they choose, but I want them to excel and whatever they choose to pursue...

And right now, I'm just not sure how much of my desire is my desire, and how much is my desire to help my kids...and still let them enjoy their childhood...

I'd appreciate any feedback on when is ok to start kids in things...

For the record, Captain will be 4 in June, DG just turned 2 in January, and we are already committed to NOT overscheduling our children as they get older...

2 comments:

Inkling said...

That's a hard one, I"ll admit. When we were kids, it was easy to play soccer because it wasn't too expensive ($25 for shirt, socks, and team pic), and the games were never on Sundays. Nowadays, it seems like you have to start your kiddos in a sport before they can barely run properly, and the games are ALWAYS on Sundays. Where we live, parents enroll their kiddos in the hockey league BEFORE birth. Talk about crazy.

I don't have any advice that is based upon real wisdom. Does the local leisure center (YMCA type place) offer any special groups or classes you could visit or drop in on so that you could see what Cap'n is drawn to? Ours has music, ball time, dance, etc. that kids can visit during the week without committing to the whole program.

Though the pressure is huge for kids to be enrolled in sports or structured stuff before they even begin school, I am hoping to not do anything like that until our little guy is at least seven. Before that, we hope to just let him "free play", and we are going to try to help him experience things in an unstructured way with other kiddos or with us (we're counting down the days until he's three and can put him in the preschool body harness to take him climbing). If I had a little girl, I'd probably start dance sooner, just because it is a good time to begin when they are only 4 or 5. But I wouldn't use a professional studio, instead looking for something a little more casual (and something that didn't focus so much on the make-up and image part of it at such an early age). Our pastor's daughter has a studio like that, and if I ever get to have a little girl, that's where I'd be comfortable sending her. I've seen the recitals and watched how she interacts and how low-stress it is for everyone. Hopefully, you'll have something like that in your area.

p.s. Thank you, thank you, thank you for praying, loving, and all around being a compassionate and listening friend. My remaining sanity thank you. =)

FarmWife said...

First of all, Elizabeth Gail & the ___________? They're books about a little girl in the foster program who's adopted by the Johnson family & goes to live on their farm. My great-aunts picked up the entire series at a yard sale for BabyGirl. We've not gotten far in them. Oh, and they're written by Hilda Stahl.

Secondly, if I could pick & choose among activities, I'd put all the FarmHands in swimming lessons. T-ball is what is available (within 5-10 miles) and affordable ($10 for the first child, $20 for the family). We're just trying it on for size this year.

I danced Ballet when I was 3 & 4 years old (and an only child) then switched to swimming at 5. It was my choice between the two. Then later in life I took classes at the local college (calligraphy and sign language). Again, my choice. Bubba & I took Karate after moving to TN & I joined band & an acting guild in high school.

Mama let us do one or 2 activites of our choosing at a time once we were old enough to balance. Until then, it was one activity of our choice.

Ask Cap & DG what they want to do. Call around. Some places will give you a discount for multiple kids in an activity. Some may even let them try it out for a lesson or two to see if they like it.

Good luck!! :)