I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is That A Chopper I Hear?

Last night was my kids' "celebration evening" which is a fancy way of saying it was their speech night. Speech night, for those not in Australia, is this curious thing which happens at the end of every school year. Basically it's awards, achievements, and a bunch of general 'stuff' about the school year all packed into one evening. Most of the time you have to also suffer a performance from the school orchestra (why someone doesn't put them out of their misery, I'll never know.) Anyway it's a fun-slash-boring night and this year was the first time the school did it coupled with the 6th grade graduation.

A couple of weeks ago DH got a phone call telling him that 2 of our kids would be receiving awards. (BRAG: DD1 for Achievement in English Literature and DS for Academic Achievement). Anyway while we knew about it ahead of time, the kids find out about it on the night itself. It didn't occur to me that this would be an issue - my kids have known for a long time that achievement is earned, that is requires personal effort, and that it's an HONOUR and not a right to be recognised by your peers and teachers. It didn't occur to me to actually need to console DD2 (who didn't win an award) beyond a cuddle afterwards.

As is happens, Helicopter Mom was sitting a couple of seats away. Her elder daughter won two very prestigious awards, and I went to congratulate her. "Oh, thanks," she says. "What are you going to do about DD2 not winning anything? How are you going to deal with that?"

Wait a sec. DEAL with that? I need to deal with this? I temporarily thought I'd forgotten a major rule in the Mothering 101 Handbook, and scanned my brain for an answer for her. Then I realised this was Helicopter Mom, so to her, OF COURSE I would need some sort of 'solution' for the non-problem which was my kid not getting an award. I bit my tongue - aren't you all proud of me? - and I just said that DD2 had herself received a number of awards earlier this year, and that ALL my kids understand that achievement is individual, etc etc.

To which she brightened up and said, "Oh yeah! My other DD won an award this year, too, I'll remind her of that when she gets upset at not winning anything." She then proceeded to tell me how she's just not sure how she's going to deal with it (eg the mother having to deal with her child who did not win) and so on. At this point I wisely decided to exit stage left. I went over to my kids and doled out plenty of hugs and cuddles and "yay you's" and we all felt happy and proud and sparkly.

...and then I approached my DD2, and I gave her a hug, picked up my pretend microphone, and in a loud announcer's voice said, "And the award for best performance in a Ro-Sham-Bo championship goes to..... DD2!!!" and then she and I had a play-off, right there in the middle of the 8 jilion kids and pushy parents. She smiled (even though I won), I smiled, and we left.

End of story. No needing to "deal" with anything. No... nothing. If nothing else DD2 has yet again learned two lessons tonight. The first lesson, which is the MOST important - is that life is inherently unfair. No amount of helicopter moms trying to even up the score will help, no amount of begging, no amount of wishing. Life, sometimes, just sucks ass and that's all there is to it.

The second lesson she learned? That no matter what happens, there will always be a hug at the end of it.


M.B. said...

I loved this!

ps. (What, pray tell, is a Ro-Sham-Bo?)


Kat said...

Loved this blog. I want to add that the sour grapes created by these awards nights gets in the way of enjoyming the crappy music (lovingly practiced) and beaming graduates. Several parents and kids unhappily commented to me and my DD that "she ALWAYS get an award".

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

MB: Ro-Sham-Bo - Rock Paper Scissors. For some reason I always thought DH taught me that name for it, as I certainly only ever heard it here in Australia. I said it a few weeks ago and he had NO idea what I was talking about! So I guess I didn't learn it from him... ! I think it's Japanese in origin. Sounds WAY more cool than Rock/Paper/Scissors. :)

And Kat: Why do people say that as though it's a bad thing? What, like you're supposed to be annoyed she's being recognised? I think someone needs to tell those kids and parents that they would have more 'luck' in award nights if they stopped complaining and starting working. :)