Future Olympic Hopeful

I am writing this post from the Kings County Supreme Court, where I am currently awaiting jury duty. Meaning I am sitting in a large, overly air conditioned room, waiting for my name to be called and pondering some of life's big questions, such as "How long will the battery on my laptop last?", "Is it safe to check my email on the public wifi in the courthouse?", "How much of Game of Thrones can I read today?" and "What time do we break for lunch?"

I could write a whole blog post on the jury system. (Actually, I know nothing about the jury system other than that the video says I am supposed to be proud to be here.) I could also write a whole post about the different characters one sees in the waiting room at the Kings County courthouse. But, as it so happens, I have a different story to tell.

(Also, it is illegal. As was explained to us by the guy giving the introductory speech. After he pulled up an app that looked up everyone who had Facebooked or Tweeted from the courthouse (including me!) and then read off someone's actual post. This guy is now my hero!) 

Yesterday Maya took her first swim lesson, at our local public pool. She actually already knows how to swim, but I had signed her up earlier in the summer for free lessons and nothing free is ever bad. (Insert dramatic pause.) The class was for ages 2-5, so she was one of the oldest kids there, but it was still fun, a bunch of songs that basically trick the kids into doing important skills like spitting germy bubbles at each other and kicking chlorinated water into everyone's faces. At the end of the class, I asked the instructor if there was any way to move her into the 6 year old class. (Yup, I was that mom.) There wasn't, but he mentioned that she could try for those classes in the fall, as well as the local swim team, which she could join once she could swim one length of the pool. 

I am not super competitive but I couldn't help picturing my daughter as Michael Phelps, speeding across the pool to Olympic gold. (By the way, if you also have a five year old daughter, I do not recommend picturing her as Michael Phelps. Its creepy.) 

When I asked Maya if she wanted to join a swim team she said "Maybe when I am seven". Matthew said "I am going to have some questions for the swim coach before she joins any team." Which got me thinking about teachers and coaches and how we, as parents, decide who is allowed to teach our child.

For the most part, when it comes to school, we don't really have many choices. We can usually, if we are lucky, choose which school to send our child to. Hopefully we have done some research and we know the philosophy of the place, how many kids are in the classes, and how much homework and testing to expect. After that we have to just throw her on the bus and hope for the best. But when it comes to extra curricular activities, namely teams and classes, we can be choosy. We can, in fact, choose no classes, or we can choose one for every day, or, like most parents, something in between. 

Of course, I am not just a mommy. I am also a karate instructor and a former preschool teacher, and as such, I am very critical of other teachers. Not in a bitchy, judgmental way, but I am going to have a few questions before I sign my child up for a program that I am not familiar with. You should too. And if you aren't sure what to ask, I have compiled this helpful list. You're welcome.

Things to Ask Before Signing Your Child Up For A Team or Class:

  1. How competitive is this program? But before you ask this, ask yourself, how competitive do I want my child to be? Are they the type of kid who can handle winning and losing gracefully? (Read previous post http://mamommyarchives.blogspot.com/2013/07/spaceships-or-flowers.html) Do I even want them to compete? 
  2. If it is a team that plays games, like soccer, do the kids actually learn any skills first? Or do they just compete against other teams in a big messy free for all where the kids whose dads (or moms!) threw a ball around when they were four succeed and everyone else picks their nose in the outfield. I highly recommend only joining a team that has actual practices. Otherwise, what is the point?
  3. How do the teachers speak to the kids? Are they belittling or encouraging? Is everyone treated equally or do the superstars in the group get all the attention? Maybe the Bela Karoyli style of coaching (motivation by calling your gymnasts "pregnant goats" ) works for your child but I sure as hell ain't letting him near my kid.
  4. Can I watch/try a class first? If the answer is no, be very suspicious. I would.
  5. What is capoiera anyway? If you aren't sure what the hell you are signing you kid up for, ask. Or at least, Google it. That way when he comes home and says he needs to install mats in the basement you at least have a frame of reference. 
There are a million more questions but I will leave it at that for now. Just make sure you feel comfortable with the person/people who will be imparting not only sports but life lessons on your child. Don't just hand over your credit card.

10:30? Is that all?

Sigh, its going to be a very, very long day. 
I wonder if anyone in this courtroom wants to work on triangle chokes?


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