Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Powder-puffing my kids part 1

Check out Miss K rocking out her gymnastics - isn't she great? No - of course that isn't her. I'd never let her out in a scrunchie that co-ordinates with her leotard. Its some random girl lifted off google images and planted on some random woman's blog. Apologies to her. She is merely a prop for my introduction.

So, Elder K does gymnastics. So do several of her friends. K is a perfectly competent gymnast. She is pretty flexible, does a mean split. She points her toes at the appropriate moment. Her cartwheels are actually perpendicular to the ground. Hell, she can even actually spring on a spring board, and many a mother's who spend hours watching beginners gymnastics will know that's quite an achievement. However, competent is all she is. Unfortunately all her friends who do gymnastics with her happen to be MORE than competent gymnasts. In fact one is being fast tracked into the super-competitive group while the other two are in the advanced class. None of them are actually in her class anymore, just in the same club. The child is gutted, and claims she is rubbish at gymnastics. Now, just to be clear, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, in her parental gene pool that suggests she has the potential to be anymore than a moderately watchable amateur gymnast. In fact, she is quite lucky she can use a spring board at all to be honest, I'm not sure her father can (a subtle test to see if he actually reads my blog...). I've explained to her that everyone has different talents, and it just so happens that all three of her friends are talented in this particular area. I've pointed out how talented she is at maths, what an excellent dancer she is, that she has great hair, lovely handwriting and magnificent elbows. She's not buying it. She is quite certain it is "one of the things that mum's say to make you feel better". As it turns out in this case, its not. Its actually true. She does have lovely elbows. Just not enough upper body strength to be an Olympian. Or even a Suffolkian. We've had a long chat about acceptting and loving ourselves for who we are. I've explained some of the areas I don't excel in (not everyone appreciates my elbows for example). She now says she doesn't really mind and is happy where she is (that elbow talk was powerful). She got her first badge. She can to do a handspring on the vault. She is still better than the average child on the playground at handstands and cartwheels.  She is content and at peace. Apparently as long as she can show off, she's good...

So lets hope that's it. I have occasionally been accused of powder-puffing my kids in such a way that they are not prepared for the real world. They live in a world where if one gets something from the shops, they all do. They have to share the party packs out between them regardless of who actually went to the party (well actually they go in a sweetie tin, get forgotten about and get eaten by my and DH). I like fair. Fair is good. Fair makes sense. especially when you are under 11. But unfortunately the real world is not fair. Miss K seems to have had her first encounter with an unfair world which hands talents out according to its own cunning plan, and has discovered that wanting to be excellent at gymnastics is not enough. That it requires a natural level of strength and muscle tone she just does not have. It requires you to be able to do a chin up, something I have never ever managed (A scene from cool runnings is jumping to mind here). Perhaps I can find a Little Miss Suffolk Handwriting and Elbows' pageant for her to enter in order to pep her up...


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