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Yesterday was Chula and Mieja’s first day taking swim lessons. I posted in the school’s parent yahoo groups, made couple of phone calls and registered them in a highly recommended swim school. They have classes once a week for 30 min. So I was fully aware that the money spent is for them to monkey around in water, which they did and had lots of fun. Well, I can dream that they freestyle across the Suez canal after these ten, once a week, thirty min classes, but again it will be just a dream.

Now I have to mention that of my M.A.N.Y pet peeves, one that will rank number one is my obsession towards maintaining a schedule and the other one that will be in the top ten is public water facilities.

My schedule goes like this:

– Swim class at 5.30PM = We have to leave home at 5.00PM.
-Leave home at 5.00PM = we must be ready dressed + kids’ back packs packed + their after swim snack ready + boots on + jackets on + customary potty round etc done by 4.55PM.
-Back pack ready at 4.55PM = start packing back pack at 4.30PM.
-They need to have a substantial snack before swim and it must be at least 90 min before the swim. So biggish snack/light early dinner at 4.00PM.
-Eat at 4.00PM = dinner, snack all done by 2.00PM. So I can go pick them up at 3.00PM. (Now if some one points out to me that we live exactly 1.8 miles away from school and it takes exactly 6 minutes one way even if all the four traffic lights are on, I will have to ask you to shut up and refer you to my pet peeve # 1. It has to be like this only.)
-I can hear the clock ticking, every second passes with an ominous thud, I am moving at warp speed, but the rest of family is not. So I feel this enormous pressure of carrying every one through my schedule in order to achieve the deliverable. Working on that folks…. might take a life time though.

Now to my next pet peeve about public water facilities. My most traumatic life experience so far, is that I had to dip in sea at Rameshwaram in order to ward off the ill effect of some planet in my husband’s birth chart. I consider it atrocious that I had to do it with him just because we are married. The very fact that I was forced to do it, created many ill effects for the husband that were not in his birth chart. Pity-huh?!

I see in water, things that no one can possibly see with their normal eye. I imagine one person swallowing water and coughing it out and their germs coming to me/my children crawling in slow motion with Jaws music playing inside my head.  The funny thing is that I am not your typical Purell worshipper. Water just seems to enhance my out of the box thinking.

So after the swim class, I washed, dried, dressed, blow dried the girls’ hair once at the pool side. Brought them home, dumped them directly in to the tub, shampooed their hair, scrubbed the top layer of skin off, rinse, repeat, ditto at home. Then the usual smahan after hair bath, churanam to clear sinus, blow dry their hair, moisturize etc etc ritual followed. Of course, I have a target bed time, so all this scrubbing activities have to be reverse engineered and timed accordingly. You all get a fair idea of how things roll right?

By 8.00PM, I was a wreck. I felt like eating murukku….. chewing the crispy, fried, oily snack seems to be the perfect solution to get rid of all that stress. Unfortunately there was no murukku at home and so the husband was collateral damage to the process of de-stressing.

The bigger point to all this is……. (yes, however pointless all this seems there is a point peeps) taking the children to an activity that I am not comfortable in is ‘this’ hard for me. I usually stick to my comfort zone of art, dance and dabble a little bit in music. The rest is like pulling a huge stone uphill by tying it to my hair. So hats off to the parents, Chinese and others, who are very sure about their choices for their kids and go through the hassle of taking them to various classes and putting in the grueling hours of practice and such. Amy Chua might call me lazy, but it is like that only. I just want to choose my battles.

PS: My opinion about Amy Chua’s article:
I didn’t like the stereotyping. For example, Asian kids play video games, do sleep overs and have extra curricular activities that Amy Chua may not approve of. She just translated what she did at home to all Asians.

I admire her guts for telling out in the open what she believes in.

I agree that Asian parents have high expectations on their children, while some non-Asian parents might be afraid to have any kind of expectations on their children. It is not wrong to have expectations.

I also agree that children need to be presented the same activity many many times before they master it and are very comfortable in it. But every parent does ‘the presentation’ in different ways. Not all Asian parents yell and go on a war path.

God give me strength to not call my children garbage, however testing their behavior is.

Whatever you do, do it with conviction. Example, the worst will be a ‘typical’ Asian parent parenting the ‘typical’ western way and expecting the result of ‘typical’ Asian parenting and vice versa.

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