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matching balloons

March 3, 2011

I swear to God that if one more mother tells me her kid can simultaneously play a piece from Beethoven while memorizing her multiplication tables, I think I’m going to lose it. As a matter of fact, I am considering Xeroxing the following information so I can hand it out to all the competition-hungry moms I run in to:

  1. No Maya is NOT fluent in a second language. She learned absolutely nothing in the Spanish class that cost me an arm and a leg.
  2. Her musical abilities extend to singing off-key versions of Usher. To throw a violin lesson into the mix at this point would just be…hazardous.
  3. No, I do not shuttle her to Kumon classes. I do not feel bad about that. Instead I take all the money we save and buy stuff for myself.
  4. Yes, she eats M & M’s on occasion. They contain corn syrup, red 40 lake, yellow 5, and yellow 6. She seems to be thriving despite this.
  5. No, I have not taken her to Europe yet. And no, she hasn’t quite grasped that the Eiffel Tower is in Paris and NOT New York.

To all of you moms who have superstar, bilingual, long-division loving 5-year-olds? I’m happy for you. I really am. But you must stop comparing. You must! For your kid’s sake and my own sanity.

Because right now I’m just trying to focus all of my energy on the fact that despite my cajoling and my threats, despite the fact that this stuff is a piece of cake for her, Maya will not match her flipping balloons correctly. Simply to annoy the living daylights out of me.

"This is boring Mama. And look! That man is very tall!" Giggle. Giggle.

In other words…I have bigger fish to fry as I work to break my kid’s stubborn streak. So do me a favor and go compare elsewhere.

Thanks. Appreciate it.

80 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 3:14 am

    haha….LOVE this post!! i keep hearing all these stories about how competitive parents are these days. case in point: my chiro has his 4 year old learning Japanese!! (and no, they’re not Japanese.) sometimes i wonder what kind of mother i’m going to be. i’m thinking either totally neglectful or stage mom from hell, either or.

  2. March 3, 2011 4:13 am

    I think parents are really great at severely overwhelming their children if they’re not careful. Granted, I don’t have first-hand experience, but I’ve definitely heard a few rounds of “well my child is smarter because…” Silly.

    I really do love the sanity you bring to the parenting table, Ameena. Seriously.

  3. March 3, 2011 4:41 am

    So glad I am not a mom LOL.
    *kisses* HH

  4. March 3, 2011 4:43 am

    All I have to say is that if they took a developmental psych course those moms might not be feeling so superior.

    I’m glad Maya doesn’t let any of it bother her – what a blessing!

  5. March 3, 2011 4:59 am

    Lol…yes, some parents are CRAZY competitive with their kids. Whatever– those kids are going to be sitting in a shrink chair in about 10 years.

  6. March 3, 2011 5:15 am

    Damn. If parents today are this crazy NOW. Who knows what they’ll be like when I have kids. Go you for telling those insano moms!

  7. March 3, 2011 5:44 am

    I’m not even a mom and I can’t stand people like that.

  8. March 3, 2011 7:10 am

    It’s ridiculous how children can be overbooked and overworked like adults are, when playing and school are the most important things. Unless a child really wants to become fluent in a second language or become an expert at something, the pressure is completely unnecessary.

  9. March 3, 2011 7:12 am

    Looks like she’s doing a good job matching those balloons to me (or maybe I’m just worse than a 5 year old at math). Crazy competitive parents are so unattractive. Though I did have to laugh when reading this because my parents totally made my younger siblings go to Kumon. Suckers.

  10. March 3, 2011 7:20 am

    OMG, I don’t even have kids yet, but the competitive nature of parents ANNOYS me! Let your kids be kids, people! I’m glad that despite what others are doing (and flaunting) you are keeping Maya grounded in reality…thank you! LOL!

  11. actorsdiet permalink
    March 3, 2011 7:21 am

    maya is the most amazing child ever. i am curious about these other kids – they sound like reality tv shows waiting to happen.

  12. March 3, 2011 8:43 am

    from when is five yr old speaking two languages fluently ? and eating MnM’s is a sin now !

    if those are super mom’s rules for parenting. i’m glad you are not a super mom.

  13. March 3, 2011 9:08 am

    And this is why I fear raising children. They are supposed to be able to conquer the world before they can even walk. Sheesh!

  14. March 3, 2011 9:37 am

    I cringe sometimes when I’m talking to my son’s friends parents when they go on and on about their kid’s straight A’s, how they are balancing not only football but baseball AND soccer, etc.

    My son makes A’s/B’s and doesn’t have to play a sport if he doesn’t want to. If he wants to sit around and play xbox eating cheeto’s, then as long as he is making good grades and runs around a little sometimes, then thats A-OK with me.

    And Ameena, I can only imagine it gets worse later on when they are in highschool. There will be the parents who brag about their kids ferrari’s, more straight a’s, being accepted into 15 colleges including Yale & Harvard, etc. OH well, I know we didn’t sign up for this, but it’s part of the job.

  15. March 3, 2011 9:46 am

    Oh Ameena, you need to get out of LA! That would drive me bonkers, too. I wonder why these moms with overachievers don’t realize not all kids learn at the same pace. My sister learned to read later than I did. Is she illiterate at 27? No, she eventually learned and now reads just find thankyouverymuch.

  16. March 3, 2011 9:55 am

    It’s parents like these that make me consider home schooling, but I love my kids too much to deprive them of all the socialization. I grew up in an Asian family and am so glad my parents were part of that 2% that didn’t push their child to choose suicide over school. I know Maya will enjoy school throughout the years because she has a loving mom like you who cares more about her child than pathetically competing with other moms just for their own face. Being a mom is never about yourself. The moment your child was conceived was the day you dropped to second place in the care department and I know you understand that. As for those competition craving moms, they have a lot to learn from you and Maya.

  17. March 3, 2011 10:48 am

    why are all modern moms not alcoholic? Seriously??? You amaze me with your humor, verve, and sheer persistence.
    There is an army of supportive bloggers behind you!

  18. March 3, 2011 11:12 am

    Parents are SO competitive these days!! I don’t get it… I hope I dont turn into one of those moms – and I’m sure glad you aren’t one of “them” so I can read your hilarious honest posts!

  19. March 3, 2011 11:23 am

    So funny! I’m glad Maya is getting a stress-free childhood. And that she is getting MnMs. #4 really made me laugh.

  20. March 3, 2011 11:40 am

    oh gosh. i’m so glad i don’t have kids. it’s the ultimate pissing contest for adults. geesh.

  21. March 3, 2011 11:56 am

    I am NOT looking forward to dealing with moms like that when I finally have kids.

    I think Maya’s the lucky one – so what if your kid can speak another language at 5. I spent YEARS taking french classes and maybe 3 words stuck with me. And yes, theyre all profanities.

  22. March 3, 2011 12:05 pm

    Have you seen the whole Tiger Mom hoopla? I plan on implementing a desi version of that on my future kids 😉

    PS: I think Maya is awesome and awesome’ness trumps long division any day of the week.

    • March 3, 2011 12:49 pm

      I’ve heard of the “Tiger Mom” and her book – I haven’t read it but I must admit I am intrigued!

  23. March 3, 2011 12:12 pm

    darling I’ve missed you! I think i’m behind on blog reading — and that is no bueno b/c I need my ameena fix and my healthy dose of awesome/sarcasm =) I thrive on it. just like maya does with those m&ms! hehe! i buy them for my husband. nerds too… he’ll be fiiiine! =)

  24. March 3, 2011 12:25 pm

    Hi Ameena,

    Just think of it this way, your pretty little girl, will have the most well-rounded happy upbringing in the whole of that materialistic neighborhood. You have painted quite a humorous picture of this matter, but Lord knows it is a very serious one! Hopefully, these very individuals will find your blog and read your opinion on this matter and also all of your readers comments and maybe….just maybe will correct the “folly of their ways.”
    I love coming here, because I feel that you are the only “real” person I can relate to!!!!

    I am Malaysian & my husband Polish American and right now we are both contemplating as to whether we really would want to teach my little one our native languages at such an early stage!

    • March 3, 2011 7:35 pm

      Nazarina – if I spoke a second language fluently I absolutely would have taught it to Maya! But I don’t really see how effective it is to take them to a class to learn a language at her age. She didn’t learn anything except “hola.” LOL Thanks for your very kind comment!

  25. March 3, 2011 12:39 pm

    A-freakin-men sister! And the matching balloons? OMG do you ever make me laugh! XO

  26. March 3, 2011 12:40 pm

    eeeeek, I can’t even begin to imagine the cattiness of some parents with “superstar” children. My parents took me to Europe when I was 2 and I don’t remember a minute of it!

  27. March 3, 2011 1:11 pm

    Haha! I’m glad Maya isn’t some freakishly talented child. It makes her seem more human. Or maybe I just like the fact that it makes me feel better because I also wasn’t some superstar bilingual genius.

  28. March 3, 2011 2:07 pm

    parents like that drive me nuts. and i hate seeing the kids who are products of that. makes me angry. i just want to slap their stupid violins out of their hands and tell them to go watch a freaking television show for once. people really can be obnoxious, but, to the best of my knowledge, when maya gets older you won’t have to deal with the crazy moms as much, jsut with the crazy kids.
    thanks for being normal (aka not a competitive psycho bitch mom).

  29. March 3, 2011 2:17 pm

    That post resonated with me as I have always gone against the tide; I had friends who only had one child (could not find the time and energy for two) and that kid was booked from sunup to sundown; mine were left to play at their leisure. I firmly believe that it is only with “relaxing time” that a person discovers their true inclinations and desires/ my kids are grown now and very happy and successful in what they like to do, and that’s all that matters …

  30. March 3, 2011 2:29 pm

    Oh God. This brought back memories of my childhood and glimpses into my future. My mom would always have to listen to BS from every other Desi parent. And we, her kids, would always be compared. I cannot imagine this frustration as a parent!

  31. Kath (My Funny Little Life) permalink
    March 3, 2011 2:47 pm

    I often feel that parents who make their children do all that performance stuff abuse their kids to boost their own self-esteem by enabling them to show off towards other (actually better) parents’ whose kids don’t do all that. It really disgusts me. Poor children, having to fulfill the unfilled dreams of their parents instead of being allowed to just be children. That time in life is so precious, and it will never return. Children sould be able to play and try things out. Competition will come early enough.

  32. March 3, 2011 3:48 pm

    I’d just retort with, “Well I’m glad your kid isn’t going to have any social skills because you micro-manage their time. At least my daughter will have a hit reality television show one day!”

  33. March 3, 2011 4:38 pm

    Well first of all Maya is right. That man is very tall and that assignment does look very boring. I always find it hard to argue with my children when they are right.

    Second of all I find it hard to argue with my children (well not really hard, but annoying) when they display personality traits that I am (*cough*) familiar with. 🙂

    And tell the other mom’s that you read an article in People that Tom Cruise/Angelina Jolie/insert any other celebrity have decided to stop all extracurricular with their children in favor of “play”. They will all run to their cars so that they can unobtrusively google it.

  34. March 3, 2011 4:54 pm

    urgh..those parents. Plenty of them around when mine were growing too. It seemed to taper off later in primary and high school,but by then,i guess I only talked to the mums who had kids like mine….

    ha…stubborn streak….you will not break it……..sigh

  35. March 3, 2011 6:12 pm

    I’m glad theres moms like you out there. It makes me less fearful of this generation

  36. March 3, 2011 6:21 pm

    LOVE IT! Competitive parents are seriously terrifying! And the amount of pressure that they put on their kids is so depressing!

  37. March 3, 2011 6:40 pm

    Ameena, I always harbored a secret hope that Maya was fluent in Swahili.

    I guess dreams are made to be broken.

    That being said, if you’ve managed to shepherd her through to Enrichment Sheet 40, you have basically all of my respect.

  38. March 3, 2011 9:59 pm

    Ha! Posts like these are why I follow your blog! Love that attitude, sister. And I guess you aren’t the tiger mother, then eh? : )

    Wanted to pass this along…. I had to acknowledge your blog because I swear your humor and sarcasm are so therapeutic in my life!

  39. March 3, 2011 10:20 pm

    On a serious note, parents can really put way to much pressure on their kids in this way. On a lighter note they do grow up and although that is not always a cure, you can lock them out of the house without being arrested 🙂
    Hope you have a great weekend!

  40. March 3, 2011 10:39 pm

    isn’t that the truth?
    can I get a xerox copy of that letter.

    you can’t even share a story about some silly or fun or cool thing your kid did that you find amusing without the masses giving you the run down of how THIER kids did one thing better, or their grand kids or what not.

    I always remember that now before I open my mouth now. Is it really worth being one upped over potty training?


    You’re an amazing MOM and we all know it!

    M&M’s rock.

  41. March 4, 2011 4:21 am

    Too funny. I hope I don’t turn out to be one of these Moms.

  42. March 4, 2011 5:08 am

    Oh my, love this. I’m so with you. I haven’t seen it but Race to Nowhere, the movie is causing quite a stir in NYC among parents

  43. March 4, 2011 8:40 am

    oh no, not those crazy moms! i ran away from them…far far away!

  44. March 4, 2011 9:32 am

    I can’t help it that my child is a genius and yours isn’t…
    (said with my voice dripping with sarcasm – my kid drinks his dirty bathwater and tries to stick metal objects in the toaster…)

  45. March 4, 2011 12:27 pm

    Ah yes, the mommy wars. I remember being fully immersed in that when my first was a baby. How long were you breastfeeding for, did you use cloth diapers, shame on you for letting your child cry. It’s all so stressful to keep up with. I’ve found it’s much easier to just mind your own business and focus on what’s best for your child, not someone elses. Good luck making those balloons interesting. I practically have to bribe Nick to do his homework these days and it’s still a god awful chore.

  46. March 4, 2011 1:21 pm

    Aww..poor you.I m hearing so many struggling mommies these days that I m scared to death to take a barge .Wondering how cute Maya would have looked @ giggle, giggle 🙂

  47. March 4, 2011 2:11 pm

    AMEN SISTER!!!! HAHAHAHA! I totally cracked up at this. YES, SERIOUSLY!!! For my sanity too!!!

  48. March 4, 2011 2:27 pm

    That’s a nice write up for parents, will look up your other articles too.

  49. March 4, 2011 3:02 pm

    I remember Kevin & Bean (KROQ los angeles radio station morning show) who used to crack me up when I commuted would say: “Lower.Your.Standards” Honestly it’s the best piece of advice ever. You will then always be pleasantly surprised and pleased by what follows.

    I can’t even imagine what it’s like to keep up with the Joneses as a parent. Shudder to think about it!

  50. March 4, 2011 3:05 pm

    You gave her M & M’s? FOR SHAME!!!! haha.

    I am not taking my kids to Europe until they are old enough to appreciate it! People are crazy.

  51. March 4, 2011 4:27 pm

    I so related to this post. I evaluate everyday how I am doing as a parent. Even though I am pretty darn secure, I must admit doubt creeps up now and again. I really admire you for being at peace with your horrible choices. I kid of course!

    I know there have been many, many (MANY) times when other parents have tsk tsk’d me, but I really didn’t care because I am happy with how I go about raising my kids. Just the other day a neighbor practically had a heart attack that I let my kids walk to the park by themselves. Others think I am weird for not letting them watch T.V. I could go on and on……

    At the end of the day my kids are smart, rude, sweet, clueless, kind, annoying, loving and make their parents CRAZY. But I love them. We all do. That’s all that matters. They will all turn out all right. Red dye, ratty hair, imperfect manners, average student and all!

    P.S. More important than any advanced class a child can take is the feeling of being loved, and I know Maya feels that in Spades!!!

  52. March 4, 2011 4:51 pm

    This makes me glad I run with a simpler crowd. We’re more into comparing whether our children have lost any teeth and such. No one is expecting a European getaway.

  53. March 4, 2011 7:06 pm

    Love that you give her M & M’s 🙂

  54. March 4, 2011 7:57 pm

    Nice post and I thought comparison was typically a quality Indian parents were good at. i have never seen my parents compare, so when I see my in-laws do it, it makes me mad to say the least.

    I think like every comment written before me, I just want to say Maya is an awesome kid blessed with a mum who is not into comparing.

  55. March 4, 2011 10:26 pm

    Tehehehe… LOL. I totally dig your post Ameena. We, my bro and I were schooled exactly the same way as you, however we did do Kumon classes as we were home schooled and this is how we did our classes. 🙂 Maya is super lucky to have you as her Momma!

  56. March 5, 2011 5:57 am

    Oh man… the stories I could tell you about parents and their children 🙂 I’ve had a parent ask me if I think their 4 year old has a knack for singing and do I think she’s ready for voice lessons. It was hard to explain that you’re not supposed to start any vocal training until the voice has developed… you know, when they’re a TEENAGER.


  57. March 5, 2011 6:41 am

    I’m experiencing this now…and my daughter is 15 months!! “Ohhh, she’s not walking yet? Well…I mean, my genius walked out of the womb, but that’s not all babies.”

    Were I a less evolved person I would point out that her kid is almost 2 and says approximately 2 words. Wee ‘Burb says 15.

    But I’m evolved. I’m evolved.

  58. March 5, 2011 11:46 am

    Ameena, you are an awesome mom…exact opposite of the Tiger Mom! :))

  59. March 5, 2011 12:29 pm

    haha wonderful post ameena!!! i really like it! all the moms i know compare their kids to each other….esp if they are related..haha

  60. nadia khan permalink
    March 5, 2011 12:40 pm

    HA! you are hysterical, i love it….but i love maya even more….my lil jani mani i wanna squeeze her!!! you very well know how crazy smart she is….i don’t care if she can’t match her flippin balloons;)

  61. March 5, 2011 12:41 pm

    Comparing is annoying, and a waste of time. Any way Maya’s adorable 🙂

  62. March 5, 2011 3:03 pm

    I grew up on Peanut M&Ms myself and am still alive (knock on wood?). To parents like that, I want to say… “get over yourselves. and your children.” Maya is a cutie, and smart too, I bet, if she’s anything like her mom!

  63. March 5, 2011 8:54 pm

    Smile. I don’t have kids (as you know) but I can already relate. My children will not be going to a thousand and one lessons. There is simply too much to do…my kids can go to France when they grow up 🙂 Thanks for sharing, sweet woman. Have a great night!

  64. March 5, 2011 10:03 pm

    Is it bad that I’m glad she can’t do long division?
    I have a seven year old who can barely read. I need to start a club or something of underachieving kids so I don’t feel so alone in this! Does Maya want to join? If it makes you feel any better, I’m willing to bet she reads better than my son does.

  65. March 5, 2011 10:19 pm

    ha ha ha yes please – I never understood people who compare in the first place. I mean what the heck – just go CYA, why bother other people~

  66. March 6, 2011 5:56 am

    ay, ameena. i teach special ed at a school with a lot of parents that sound like the ones you’ve dealt with, and have seen how forcing kids to do too much takes its toll. they are only kids once so let them revel in that.

    i wanted to let you know that i’ve gotten into my groove with 750 words and LOVE IT. thank you for the recommendation! i was doing longhand for a few weeks there but feel like my thoughts are so much more fluid when typing, plus i like how the site holds me accountable to doing it and encourages me to keep it up.

  67. March 6, 2011 7:07 am

    I think people who brag like that about their children are equivalent to men that brag about their bright yellow corvettes.

    I wish someone would just point out the obvious. Nobody cares, and they are probably just making up for somewhere else in their lives that are lacking.

  68. March 6, 2011 8:40 am

    Mwhahaha, great post and I love the homework. Great observation by Maya.

  69. March 6, 2011 5:25 pm

    I know that someone else mentioned the “Tiger Mother” – sounds as though you will NOT be taking Amy Chau’s advice, whether she was being ironic or not.
    My theory about people pushing their children to succeed? It’s too easy to have a nice house or a nice car, so how successful one’s offsprings are is now a major factor in determining whether one is a success or not.
    I know that you aren’t thinking about college yet (or maybe you are???!!!) and maybe things will have changed by then, but there is a great article by Michael Thompson about the college admissions process and how parents go into ‘panic/crazy’ mode about it.
    Personally, I think that Maya will be happier because you aren’t totally crazy.

  70. March 6, 2011 5:49 pm

    Meh, I find that most parents who brag incessantly about their children are living vicariously through them.

    I fought my dad tooth and nail against being put in Gifted and Talented…because I didn’t want the extra homework. I failed 4th quarter 6th grade PE because I didn’t stand up to a stupid teacher. I failed 1st quarter 7th grade Technical English because I had too much pride to ask for help. Then I frittered away my time in high school watching YouTube videos and eating fast food. I still got into a pretty good college and have lots of professional credits for my age. Kids forge their own paths.

    I also really hate those “early learner” shows/play stations for kids…I’ve seen to many studies that show kids just start filtering it out and become even stupider because they don’t start absorbing it well again.

  71. March 6, 2011 10:39 pm

    Regarding #2 – – at least she has impeccable taste in music! Glad you are able to shrug off the too-competitive parents. That’s exactly the kind of thing that landed me in therapy.

  72. March 7, 2011 12:19 am

    Ugh…why do moms do that? I tune it out very quickly, who needs it?

    Besides, let kids be kids. You keep on with the matching balloons Maya 🙂

  73. March 7, 2011 11:41 am

    I have two of my own and I want to preserve their childhood. that balance between life and having them grow up trying to be best in everything is hard to strike. I only do what works for them and us, and everything that they LOVE to do. Tried the Kumon too, but the pressure and the system did more bad to the psychology of my daughter than good. So bye bye to that place for ever. they love to read and they do. they love to draw, and they do without formal lessons… beautifully written.

  74. Samantha permalink
    March 7, 2011 8:02 pm

    Too funny, as always! You know, my observation of older students in high school is that they are completely overcommited. And they particpate in activities that they hate and aren’t good at simply because their parents want them to. I feel like most kids these days do too many activities and don’t know how to choose a few things they love and be REALLY great at those things. A few less activities will probably do her some good—not that I really have any solid parenting advice to give 🙂

  75. March 8, 2011 4:11 am

    Amen, sister. I’m distressed over the fact that Dudette’s going to go into kindergarten this fall. It used to be that they learned nothing more exciting than that it’s wrong to eat paste. This mess about bringing homework every night and needing to know how to read already? Good thing she’s almost made it through War and Peace. KIDDING, I’m just kidding.

  76. March 8, 2011 3:28 pm

    I don’t think I could match these balloons, I think the clown would freak me out in the first place. I hate the comparisons of kids, every child does not learn the same and I refuse to give my children flashcards at the age of 2 so they can learn how to read…. why? if they will not know what they read since they never experienced anything sitting inside memorizing instead. My friends from Chicago often complain about crazy competition, do not envy you at all. Plus you are in LA is there a chance your daughter will be an actess not a mathematician?

  77. March 11, 2011 4:43 am

    i can’t even IMAGINE what some stay at home moms in LA say or rave about their kid!!! And how much money to put into raising them!!

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