Second Time Around: Still Crazy

One of the bonus features of having a second child should be that you get to improve the stuff that you Effed up the first time.

Um, it’s not working out like that for me.

When my first child was born, I signed up for classes all around town: Gymboree, cooking, art, dance, music.  Most of the time, I had a hard time enjoying them because I was so anxious about being sure Sadie didn’t fall off a balance beam or chop her fingers off.  All the other mothers seemed to be taking classes with their BFF’s, while I sat lonely and praying the 45 minutes would be over soon.

I never made a single friend in any of the classes, which I attribute to the fact that I exude a “get the fuck away from me” vibe.  (Still, shouldn’t some intrepid mother see through all that?)

But, then I had another baby.  I was determined that I would do classes with him, just like I did with his older sister.  He will NOT be the deprived second sibling– not on my watch.  In my fantasy, I was going to make friends and be that easy-going mom who just loves her baby no matter what is going on in the class.

Plus, this time around, I avoided Gymboree because the forced cheerfulness and incessant sales job the teachers did gave me the hives.

My first foray into the world of toddler classes with Simon was music.  He loves music, and he loves me.  This should have been a slam dunk.

Mom, when can I take fencing?

Mom, when can I take fencing?

Yeah, a slam dunk right through the basket of my expectations of growing as a mother and a person.

But tell me this: Why does it always seem like it’s my kid who won’t pay attention or follow directions?  The chirpy teacher says, “Everyone gets 1 instrument from the bucket.”  Why does my son subsequently toddle over with some sticks, a kazoo, and some drums?  When it’s time to dance, guess who’s ready for that nap he hasn’t taken in about 7 weeks?  When we get our 2 minutes of quiet time to stare into our babies’ eyes and listen to a Bach concerto, how come Simon decides that’s actually the ideal time to pull little Lucy’s hair and body tackle Noah?

The biggest question of all: Why do I care?  Sure, I don’t want him drawing blood from the other participants in neighborhood music class, but short of that, why is it so upsetting that Simon doesn’t want to jig or spin in a circle when the teacher commands?  He’s 20 months old. Why can’t I delight in his affable chubbiness and just R-E-L-A-X?

Truth is, I don’t even know what the other kids are doing because I am so focused on whether Simon is going to use his sticks like Oriental hand weapons.  For all I know, none of the kids pay attention and all of the mothers feel lonely and anxious and just want to go home and scrape the burnt cheesy bits off the leftover lasagna.  Maybe the really smart moms, just stay home in the first place and don’t bother with the classes.

At this rate I am going to have about 8 more kids to get this right.

34 thoughts on “Second Time Around: Still Crazy

    • Sigh. I guess it’s like wanting myself to be someone different. I don’t really ask my kids to be someone different (though an occasional please or thank you wouldn’t kill them, would it?). I am what I am and I am doing my best.
      ;-)

  1. I loved the “burnt cheesy bits off the leftover lasagna.” That would totally be me ;)

    What is right anyway? He looks happy, he’s experiencing the world. Not sure I’d go the 8 kids route, but hey, it’s your decision…

    • I am sure I have about 3 years left for child bearing so I am not sure the math is gonna work out there! He is happy, despite me hoping he’ll follow directions and not bear hug littler kids.

  2. This reminds me of the movie Parenthood, where Steve Martin’s character had the little boy who liked to put his head in a bucket and ram things with it. He was always so embarrassed at the things his little boy would do.

    Here’s a tip: the quirky ones are always more interesting.

    I was once invited to judge a Junior Miss pageant. I thought it would be interesting to take my 6 year old daughter to it as I judged. Another judge asked me why I didn’t enter my beautiful daughter in the pageant. I wish I could have said it was because I totally disagreed with the objectification of women thing, but it wasn’t. It was because I was afraid of the answers my daughter would give during the interview phase of the competition. And if to illustrate my point, the judge looked at my daughter and asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. At the question, I held my breath.

    My daughter smiled and answered, “I want to work in a bank.” I was finally able to exhale. Then she added, “Because I want to steal all the money.”

    Fourteen years later, people love her quirky sense of humor. And I have to say she’s never stolen a dime or visited any federal prisons.

    Your kids are great. You are great. Relax.

    • I am not surprised I like the sound of your daughter, but having an illustration is so fun. I love her. What a great sense of humor. I wonder if Mr. Man will have the same one? I love that my kids are quirky….I just want to enjoy it even when I am surrounded by other moms and kids who seem to be doing what they are supposed to. But then again, I had conformity, so maybe I should make up my mind.

      Me = cray-zee.

  3. Ha! I love this. I can’t say I’m smart but I am lazy and haven’t signed second child up for a single thing. Though I admit I’m starting to think I really should. The guilt was creeping in just this week. And then I was thinking I’m probably too late already and found myself wanting to have another child to right some of the wrongs, or at least to try to do things differently. Those mommy hormones are EVIL. By the way, I also give off those vibes, but how come when I get the balls to speak to one of the other moms who gives off that vibe, she actually wants me to get the fuck away from her??

    • I know! My vibe is just a smoke screen, but other moms have the “get the EF away from me” wall and they mean business. I just me, “don’t hurt me or judge me.” OTher moms, literally mean “Get the EF away from me.”

  4. I, too, sucked at all those classes – including Gymboree. We even tried out The Little Gym and some other place I can’t remember now. (I think it was called My Gym?) All very stressful, as I can recall. And most of the time it was a huge beating just to get Ian in the car. As for Luke … well … second kid syndrome I’m afraid. But he does want to do hip hop like his brother and we tried going last week but he threw a tantrum instead because he was too scared to go poo poo. Have I mentioned how tired I am?

    • Noooooo!!! That happens here too. Someone will be DYING to attend a class, then when it’s time to go, he/she won’t get out of the car. I am grateful to have options, but they don’t work like I want them to.

  5. Given my age I only have one. Hopefully I don’t screw it up since they’ll be no do-overs. We aren’t in any classes though. Am I already failing? I’m lucky if there’s time to pee, I can’t imagine a class right now!

    Everyone always says to sign up for these things to meet other moms but even on the first day cliques are already formed. That would be my fate too and you feel like an idiot.

  6. LOVE this! I also never managed to make friends at any of my mommy/baby classes. I attribute it to the fact that all of the other moms wanted to talk about their kids whereas I was more interested in discussing anything but!

  7. Hah, I used to work as a Gymboree teacher…briefly. I found my coworkers scary. Actually, scratch that, they just plain, old-fashioned, pissed me off. I had a “meeting” with them and the basically said, outright, that they put their “cheap shit” in their location in the West Valley because, you know, those parents don’t have the cash–so why impress? But, the class cost the same whether you took it East Valley or West Valley. I left, telling them I thought they were a bunch of Plasticine-faced disingenuous freaks. I stand by this assessment. I didn’t ask for a reference.

    Classes can be fun. But, it’s just like any other parenting adventure. The trick is to pretend the other parents in the room (and sometimes even the instructors) don’t exist and that the only things that matter are 1) Your child has fun and learns something. 2) Neither you nor your child kill anyone during the allotted time.

      • Yeah, I can scarcely believe it, myself. No doubt they tightened up the hiring practices after they realized they’d let one of the unwashed in ;)

        You’re there for your kid–not to please a pack of walking neuroses in search of a more effective SSRIs. Some older lady at an art festival once advised me that as we ladies age we don’t get meaner, we just get saltier. At 60 I suspect I’ll be labeled MORTON. Good luck!

  8. I loved this because I always seemed to show up to the same type of Gymboree class! The whole mommy co-op and then me. I was the one without the pedicure for gym day, no makeup and sweats. I don’t think I ever went to all of the sessions for any of those “must do activities”

    I wonder if this is part of the reason why my 7 year old has little interest in birthday parties and play dates?!

  9. Hate classes. Hate other moms. (Usually dig stay-at-home dads, though. Not sure why.) Hate when my kids are exactly the opposite of everyone else there.

    What I’ve learned:
    One: the burned cheese bits on the lasagne are the best.
    Two: The parents who roll their eyes at the teacher are the first picks for potential friends.
    Three: Nobody likes those classes.
    Four: Parenting boys has been an exercise in “Oh my god don’t hit anybody. Please don’t hit anybody. I will buy you a pony if for one day you do not hit anybody. Everyone will judge me if you don’t quit effing hitting everyone!”
    Five: Local rec center classes are cheaper and you get to skip the snotty class warfare of the pricey classes.

    • Yes! To all of it– yes. Those cheesy bits sustain me. Just found out about rec center class– 20 bucks for 3 months. Can’t beat it. The first one to roll her eyes (or his) wins the friendship lottery: me!

  10. You should just come over to my house and hang out. Just so happens I made lasagna tonight. And by made I mean I put the frozen Costco lasagna in the oven.

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