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Monday, December 10, 2007

Parental Expectations

Given the gene pool around here, I anticipated that my children would also be allergic to exercise. We don’t watch sport nor to we engage in anything that hazardous to health and mental well being.

That aside it would appear that my children, like most children have excessive amount of energy, the trampolene only gets us so far. Sometimes I just have to work with what I have and exploit it to the full.

“Ooo I am love!” he coos.
“What do you love dear?”
“Dem golden balls!” He clutches a yellow tennis ball in each hand, enraptured.
“Those are tennis balls actually.”
“Tennis balls? What is it be ‘tennis’?”
“It’s a game that two or four people play with rackets.”
“What is it be dah ‘racket’?”
“Hang on a minute, I’ll show you.” I dash off into the garage and present him with a rather dusty tennis racket.
“Ooo dis is dah good stick fing. I am liking it very much. I can be keeped it?”
“Be my guest.” I had temporarily forgotten his current liking for long handled things. Dragging a tennis racket around with us everywhere would be a considerable improvement on the toilet plunger, so much easier to explain, or rather not explain at all.

A general group interest develops between the children, the balls and the tennis racket. My daughter fetches two more from the garage. After a few minutes of wild instruction I decide that we will decamp to the park, if I hope to retain my windows in tact.

I decide that the best approach is to ambush them. Since ‘outside’ and ‘not in the house’ is a recipe for disaster, I decide to be sneaky.
“Let’s all get in the car then, as we need to nip out and buy some milk.” I gather tennis rackets and sundry bribes whilst the salmon weep, wail and slap around on the floor in protest. This is only to be expected, firstly because it is a transition, and they hate those, and secondly because they hate the car.

Before too long, about 25 minutes, we zip along to the milk shop. I warn them of the detour, now that they are all safely strapped in, “we’ll just drop in at the park for a while to enjoy the sunshine and a breath of fresh air.” It’s a statement, not a question, but verbal protests make my ears bleed.

I park in a safe spot, lock the road side door and release them into the safety of the park the other side. The boys roll on the grass. A casual passer by might think they were having run rolling in the leaves, although the screams might give another message, “I am die in dah sun!”
“I am be melting!”
I drag the sack of play things from the back of the car, together with a cartoon of Goldfish Crackers to bribe them into movement.

The tennis court is some distance from the rest of the park. This is good because it means that no-one is particularly bothered by the screamers. I delight in the surrounding wire mesh fence. Escape is impossible as the latch on the door is too complicated and cold for them to consider touching.

I play with my daughter so that the boys can observe as that is how they learn best. I am confident that when they see how much fun we are having they are bound to want to join in too. My youngest son decides that he will join in. He hold the red plastic baseball bat in a fierce grip as he charges around trying to hit the tennis ball. I am so glad that no-one is watching. I am so glad that there are no American’s around to bear witness to this travesty. I watch my son race around like a hare at the Greyhound track.

I saunter over to my other son. Kinesthetic learning is the way forward. He is already willing to have a go after his virtual experience with the Wii. I need him to be successful. We stand together like spoons as I guide his body through the motions. I remember that I have always been a lousy tennis player but I have the basics. Together we are poised. We teeter on the edge of positive reinforcement as the racket head makes contact with the ball and it flies over the net. He whips around to face me, wordless but beaming.

Of course it was a one hit wonder!

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