Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The other mom

The other mom sat in front of me at gymnastics. Her daughter was practicing cartwheels and flips. Her daughter was wonderful. She applauded each time. Then she mimed the arm movements so her daughter would do them better.

I thought, It must be nice. 

It must be nice to be able to get perfectionistic with your child's performance. To sit back and applaud and not worry about anything except your child being even more perfect. It must be so freeing.

This was what I saw at gymnastics:

My son walking onto the mat and immediately, .5 seconds, going into silly mode because there were too many kids and there was too much going on and when he's overstimulated, he jumps around, lies on the floor and makes goofy high-pitched noises like a cartoon character. So he jumped around and lay down on the floor instead of warming up. He ran off to try the trampoline by himself when he was supposed to be waiting his turn at a different exercise. He told his instructor "No!" so many times, and so clearly, that I could hear him up in the bleachers.

I hate to think what the other mom was thinking. Assuming she saw anyone else on that mat besides her daughter.

I walked downstairs at one point, calmly headed to the mat, quietly asked, "Do you need me to talk to him?"

"Yes, he's being disruptive to the rest of the class," the instructor said.

Ah yes, the most commonly heard phrase in our household. He's being disruptive.

So I talked to him, and got him to take a few deep breaths, and sent him back. He was mostly better after that.

I sat there, eyes on him, and wondered whether the class was a mistake, whether the gym would give me a refund if I had to pull him, whether the gym would hate me for pulling him and whether that would hurt his sister, who also takes classes there, and loves it. Amazing how one disruptive kid can affect so many other people at the same time.

I wondered why his school had been so quick to suspend him and yet so equally quick to deny him a one-on-one aide. I wondered exactly what we were supposed to do about him if no one was willing to help us. Ground him until college? Send him to a monastery?

The other mom kept applauding, and occasionally ignoring everything to check her phone, and for an instant, I was jealous.

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