From The Little Gym To The Big College

Today Sean and I are heading to a local community college so that he can take a math test which, if he passes, will allow him to do more challenging math type stuff this coming school year, which if my calculations are correct, is 4th grade.  (GULP!)

The reason Sean is taking a math test at a college campus instead of an elementary school, where 4th grade is generally located, is because through a red-tape snafu accounting error — or his mom wasn’t on top of the calendar — we missed the deadline for the spring testing.  And so, because we, meaning me, missed the deadline, Sean now has to take a math test in a college testing center with college people who have beards and cars, of which he has neither.  And there is more good news!  Sean’s mother has to pay $100 to have the test proctored instead of $18.  If ever there is an opportunity to pay more money for something – sign me up!

So as you can see, Sean not only has to be super smart at math, he has to develop a lot of other skills to offset the ineptitude of his mother.  But that will serve him well in life, because that’s pretty much how the world works.  So there’s that.

As I’m getting ready for this big day, for some reason I’m thinking back on when Sean was like two, and I felt like I had to sign him up for activities, because all the other moms and kids did activities, and I desperately wanted to do this mothering thing right and all I really knew about mothering was that I didn’t know ANYthing about it and therefore I should see which fork the other moms used for salad and do that.  But the fact of the matter was this, all we both really wanted to do was stay home and play on the floor in the den and pretend and read books.

So in an effort to do it right, I signed him up for a class at a little gym type place and I paid $100 or something ridiculous like that.  And every week I would take him, and he would not want to go, and I would not want to go, but I paid $100 dangit, so we went. And he would want to play with the water fountain, but he did not want to run under the parachute that was flapping up and down and he did not want to swing from the tiny little pull up bar.  And I would spend all my time trying to keep him out of the water fountain and redirecting him back to parachute (all for the low low price of $100!!). It was a great workout FOR ME.

And I was sort of blind to the fact that we were different, Sean and I.  We were happy doing our own thing just the two of us and the little gym thing made us both a little cranky when we were supposed to be having an Instagram moment.

So now I’m nine years into this gig, and once again, I’ve paid $100 for him to do something and at times in the past few weeks, I’ve had to push him to prepare for this test when he’d rather play on the iPad, and I’ve wondered if maybe this is one of those “little gym” scenarios.  Maybe he doesn’t want to run under the parachute, maybe it’s me who wants to run under the parachute.

I don’t think so, I think he wants this.  But we’ll see.  I’ll be waiting outside the testing center.  Near the water fountain, just in case.

14 thoughts on “From The Little Gym To The Big College

  1. Hey, cousin aren’t you close to Houston? Float #70 in the American Legion Parade is from Illinois and my daughter in law will be on it! She would be your cousin by marriage. email me if you want to know more.
    (Schuch (John Jr) daughter)


  2. I think you’ve done it absolutely right. Even The Little Gym part. You tried. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Sean didn’t like it. Neither did you, so you stopped. He may love this higher level math gig. He may be totally stressed out by it, but you will push him when needed and back off when needed, because you know you’re child. My eldest is taking 2 AP classes this year, 4 pre-AP classes, and has gone back down to on-level math, because pre-AP math in high school stressed her right out. That’s fine with her Daddy and me. Over the course of our 15 years together, we are all learning where she bends, and where she doesn’t.


  3. Do you know what I focused on most in this post? “So now I’m NINE years into this gig . . .”

    I can’t remember when I started reading Antique Mommy, but I just can’t imagine that he is NINE years old.

    Similarly, I have a really hard time with the fact that my sweet girl is 17 and taller than me.

    I take comfort in the knowledge that she’s not too grown up/emberrassed to take selfies with her mom in the aisle at Hobby Lobby . . .


  4. I love this! I’m struggling with some of the same issues, with an almost-5-year-old whose late birthday means we are looking at 4 yr old pre-k in the fall. And I think I’d rather just have another year to play cars and pirates. It’s so nice to hear that it REALLY IS OKAY to just let kids (and parents) be who we are and not hop on every trend just because the mom down the street is doing it and she seems SO TOGETHER. (eye roll)

    Love your writing…I check frequently for new posts and hope you keep updating us!


  5. And I’m thinking–as the mother of two grown and married sons one of whom is very gifted in math–that you probably missed the $18 testing because you had a stressful spring. And if Sean is gifted in math, he needs to get into areas which will challenge him and keep his interest. You don’t want a bored mind.

    So, it’s sort of an $82 lesson, but aren’t you glad you can afford for him to have this wonderful opportunity?


  6. This is something I worry about also. We are a soccer family. Gabe likes to play soccer, but he balks at having to practice soccer. He’s good, but not so good that he can play without practicing. So every time we argue about practice, I wonder if he’s playing just because WE want him to play, or if he really wants to play.

    * * *

    Oh I know, exact same scenario at our house too. The conversation I have with Sean is that if you sign up for the team, you sign up for the practices. If you don’t want to practice, don’t sign up for the team.


  7. The unfortunate truth is that just when we think we have a handle on this parenting thing, it’s all over. It’s great to see you growing as a mother, as he grows up. You are doing such a purposeful job of parenting–I was always thinking, “Lord, have mercy, and let me get through this day without killing someone.” 😉


  8. I always wondered those things, too. I do know that hindsight is always 20/20! My youngest never wanted to prepare, either, so I just figured when he went, it would be a true aptitude test. You’re a great mom. Trust yourself.


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