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  • I’m Thinking Of Taking Up Tennis Again

    January 24, 2007

    Back in September, on the first day of school, Sean bounced right into the classroom and started playing with the train set. He didn’t look back or take notice when I left the room, so I left feeling smugly satisfied with how well it went. I flashed “poor you” glances at the mothers whom I passed in the hall on my way out, sobbing mothers pulling unwilling children down the hall like stubborn mules, mother’s whose children aren’t as secure and well adjusted as mine. Tsk.

    And that was the last time I took Sean to school without incident.

    Anytime I mention the word “school” the whining and negotiating begins.

    “Oh I don’t like school! I don’t want to go to school! I have too many important things to do at home!” he informs me. “Oh really?” I ask, “Like what?”

    “I have to play with you Mommy!”

    I should probably stop here to admit — I am fun. So there’s no countering that argument.

    Nonetheless. He needs to go to school two days a week because I have important things to do at home too. Like blog. Or go to TJMaxx.

    To no avail, I have tried everything I can think of to foster the idea that school is fun. “Sean!” I encourage, “There are little people to play with at school – people who are not in their 40s and peri-menopausal!” Even given that, he remains convinced that it’s more fun at home. I am quite certain that most of the dramatics are for me. I am certain that once I leave, he has swell time.

    To make the drop off a little less stressful (for me), at his insistence, I carry him into the school. I carry him, his coat, his backpack and whatever other crap I’m hauling into the school that day. And it’s a lot — more than my middle-aged joints appreciate. And I usually try to soothe and comfort him as I carry him hoping that he will brighten by the time we reach the door to his classroom. All the while he digs his nails into my neck and pretends to sob. All the while I suffer “poor you” glances. And if there is anything that will lift your spirits and bolster your confidence as a parent, it’s walking away as your kid screams for you while the other parents cast their eyes downward as they pass you in the hall.

    Be that as it may.

    One day recently I had had enough. The soothing-calm-super-nanny approach wasn’t working, so I opted for tough love. On that particular day, I was laden down like a pack mule with schtuff and I simply could not carry him. But I could drag him. And so I did. I no longer cared what anyone thought. He of course wailed and flailed the entire way, which drew gasps and disapproving looks from the tennis-skirt-wearing moms, but frankly, I did not care because with my elbows I’m not playing tennis anymore anyway. And then at 2:30, when I picked him up, we did it in the reverse.

    As I was dragging him across the parking lot like a drunken cowboy riding on his spurs, a tennis mom, who has never once spoken to me or acknowledged my existence, flashed me a Crest white strips smile and oh so helpfully observed, “Hey, didn’t I see this same scene on the way in this morning?” And boy was that edifying.

    Lucky for her I was armed with only an empty backpack and not my tennis racket. Because I still have a pretty mean backhand.

    20 Comments »

    1. Roxanne says:

      One would hope that her Hilfiger clad toddler with his monogrammed pre-school sized back pack, threw up all over his zebra striped car seat, and unbeknownst to her, some of it splashed onto the back of her perfectly styled, incredibly expensive looking hair and left her wondering, “WHERE is that smell COMING from?” the rest of that evening.

      OR, you could have flashed her your own lovely smile, flipped your Mary Tyler Moore hair and said, “Would you rather hear about the time I stuck my foot in the toilet or the time Sean opened the stall door while my swimsuit was down?” I think she’d just keep walking the next time.

      January 24th, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    2. cathy says:

      my lord, what is he wailing about when you leave? you gotta love the the boy, he sure knows how to put on a good show!! gotta love the mom, she knows that’s all it is!!!

      January 24th, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    3. Robbin says:

      I don’t know if I am comforted or sad that it never really get’s better. I have yet to get out of dropping Harry at school without a heartwrenching meltdown.

      And I am not sure that I won’t be sadder when he stops pretending to miss me.

      January 24th, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    4. wordgirl says:

      With my youngest (Captain Clinger…as he was more commonly known)…oy! I could tell you stories, girlfriend!

      January 24th, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    5. lisa h. says:

      heehee! oh those “tennis moms”, i love it! who are they trying to impress with those skirts! i love this blog!

      January 25th, 2007 at 8:02 am

    6. kelli in the mirror says:

      That happens ALL the time with the kids I watch. Moms have to wrestle them into my house and then at the end of the day chase them down, force them to put on their coats, and drag them out of my house. πŸ™‚ Very common.

      January 25th, 2007 at 8:07 am

    7. Rae says:

      It confuses me, why people make comments like that. Not so helpful. Good job, though, sometimes dragging is all that works.

      January 25th, 2007 at 10:00 am

    8. Beck says:

      I just love when I’m all smug about something that some other kid does that my kids would never ever do, because then I just know that my kids will pretty soon pick up whatever it was I was smug about. Parenting is just one long lesson in humble, and also one long lesson in other women being frequently catty.

      January 25th, 2007 at 10:34 am

    9. Susan says:

      I so remember those days!

      When Chad was 4, he made a point of dilly-dallying (in typical 4-year-old fashion) every morning when he was supposed to be getting dressed. It would take a good 30 minutes just for him to get his pants on each day.

      Tired of the constant nagging, I finally growled, “TOMORROW? There will be none of this! Do you understand? Tomorrow you will get dressed in a timely fashion, and if you don’t — NO BLUE’S CLUES AFTER DAYCARE.” (That was his ritual, watching a video–kind of a wind-down time for both of us at the end of a long day.) I warned him that I wouldn’t forget, and I meant it, and he better remember because I WAS SERIOUS! and every other mean mommy warning I could throw his way.

      The next morning came and guess what? Dilly-dallying ensued. “That’s it! No Blue’s Clue’s tonight. None! I have had it, Chad. I’m sick of having to ask you a hundred times to get dressed. Maybe tomorrow you’ll remember!”

      He bawled his little eyes out and we eventually headed out the door. He didn’t speak a word the entire car ride to daycare. We walked into the classroom, FILLED with moms, no less, and he announced–in his clearest, most dramatic voice, “Well! Another SCARY MORNING AT HOME!”

      If looks from the other moms could’ve killed.

      January 25th, 2007 at 11:48 am

    10. mama speak says:

      I’m w/Roxanne on this one. TS likes to pull this stuff too. She can “suffer” well when it comes time to leave. “But mommy I want you to sit by me for a few minutes, I’m feeling shy.” In a whisper no less.
      The best part is at the end of the day, she’s taken to running across the room w/arms outstretched, “Mommy! I missed you!” and big hugs all around. =)
      They’re just testing boundries to make sure you really mean it.

      January 25th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    11. abogada says:

      Guess she’s never heard the old adage that if you don’t have anything helpful to say, shut the heck up! But, what goes around, comes around, eh?

      January 25th, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    12. Lela says:

      I’d high-five you if I could. You scored a big one for us middle-age mommies! Go Antique Mommy!

      January 25th, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    13. Antique Mommy says:

      Anyone having trouble leaving comments? It’s been reported that the comments pages sends you over to Best of AM – not a bad place to be, but still. Email me please and let me know if this happened to you.

      January 25th, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    14. Kelly says:

      So, that’s when you look at the tennis mom and say (in your sweetest southern drawl, of course), “Oh Buffy, I can only hope that little Samuel Brafferton Lee the fifth is as perceptive as you one day. We’ll just hope someone else teaches him tactfulness.”

      Seriously though, you make me laugh on the hardest mommy days! I am so glad someone else out there feels the same way about the Tennis Moms.

      January 25th, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    15. Karen Shanley says:

      I solved the problem by telling the teacher I was staying with my kid until she was ready to have me leave. She loved that I stayed for the first few days and volunteered me as the teacher’s helper. Then… not so much. Then… not at all. Then…she’d kiss me at the school door and announce it was time for me to go home. By the end of the first week, we were home-free. She never once shed a tear!

      After that, the school started inviting the moms to stay for the first few days. They set up coffee in the back room, and let them stay until the kids forgot they were there. Turns out to be a lot less wear and tear on everybody.

      January 25th, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    16. Peanut Butter's Mum says:

      Hmmm…. First thing that comes to my mind in response to Ms.Tennis Skirt is, “Back Off, B_ _ _ _ !” I hope you at least gave her the Look. *wink*

      Sorry you’ve had a rough time!

      January 25th, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    17. theresa says:

      This post brings back memories of bringing my twins to school. My little angel, Jenny, out of character, punched her teacher square in the face when she bent down to comfort her…..the teacher fell backwards on her butt.

      That was so embarassing.

      They grew up to be wonderful adults. Yet, Jen still has to call or see me everyday, it’s so sweet.

      January 26th, 2007 at 2:30 am

    18. Wendy Boucher says:

      Just do what I did and put those tennis moms in a book. You are a terrific writer and I’d buy it!

      January 26th, 2007 at 7:01 am

    19. Kari says:

      UGH! The joys, oh the joys! πŸ™‚ I have not had that exact experience with my son going to Kindergarten but there have been a few mornings when I wondered if I was going to have to carry him to the bus and stick him on and shout to the bus driver, “close the doors, hurry!” πŸ™‚ Have a blessed day!

      January 26th, 2007 at 10:07 am

    20. Big Mama says:

      Oh those tennis moms are so smug in their little white outfits. I wish you’d had your racket.

      January 26th, 2007 at 1:02 pm

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