Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

In which I admit defeat

I have overscheduled my daughter. I am now officially one of 'those' parents--the ones who the rest of you look at and laugh at in a condescending "what COULD she be thinking" kind of way. The one who the media write about. The one who is destroying childhood for children. It's me. I've done it.

Let's review: Em is 9, in fourth grade. In addition to school from 8 until 2:30 daily, she has chorus after school on Mondays from 2:30 to 3:15 on Mondays (and now on Wednesdays as well until the spring concert is over), Hebrew school from 4:15 to 6:30 on Tuesdays, and from 9:30 to noon on Sundays, Girl Scouts from 3 to 5 every other Thursday, and soccer practice once a week plus a once-a-week game on Saturdays starting in the fall and continuing through November. She takes flute in school, and has to practice at least half an hour, three to four times a week.

But wait, there's more. There are reports to be done (the mission report is just past, but now we're knee-deep in the year's big science project). There's homework for school, review for Hebrew school. There's our usually weekly get-together with our 'gang' of friends, every Sunday afternoon/evening.

And then there are the social engagements: Playdates, study dates, sleepovers. This child simply Never Stops Going.

Let's look at just this weekend, for instance. Last night we had a new member celebration/potluck at our temple at 6 pm, after which Em went off to have a sleepover at her friend Cat's house. This morning was the religious school's Saturday services (something they sponsor just twice a year), so Cat's mom brought them at 10:30, and N and I met them there. We left right after the services (and lunch) to get Em over to her friend C's house so they could spend the next 4 hours conducting their science experiment, the results of which are due on Monday. She came home around 6, and I thought she might hang around a little, since Uncle Stevie is here for dinner, but she saw some of her friends playing out on the street and so is out there now, Heely-ing around. She wants to invite her friend J to dinner, which would undoubtedly turn into a sleepover request, but I said no. BECAUSE...tomorrow at 9:30 is Hebrew school for both she and N, and then N's kindy teacher is coming at 1 to pick them up for a lunch-and-bookstore date that we purchased for them at the school fundraiser. They'll be back around 4, and then we'll be off to Deb's house for our 'gang' get-together.

Then, Monday, school starts again.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

But here's the rub: We've already cut out SEVERAL things. No more swimming lessons, no more gymnastics, no more guitar. What next? And what do you do about a kid who simply fills any vacuum in her schedule with more friends, more playing, more things to do. Look up at my weekend. Look up at her schedule. What would YOU cut out? What would you deny her out of those experiences? And HOW would you deny her them? Chain her to the couch? Ground her for being too...social?

I think I take it back: I haven't overscheduled my daughter. She has overscheduled herself. I'm just a dazed and exhausted bystander.

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