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stifling creativity

June 16, 2011

I used to be one of those childless people who knew everything about raising kids. This meant that at any given moment the most idiotic and naive things would pop out of my mouth. Things like:

“When I have kids they’ll be sleeping through the night at 3 months, tops.” Or, “I will never threaten my kid at Target of all places. Who does trashy things like that?” 

This continued even after Maya was born. I recall saying, “I’m never going to stifle Maya’s creativity by enrolling her in 100 different afterschool activities. I’m going to let her be a kid as long as I can.”


So in addition to a full day of school, Maya is currently enrolled in Ballet, Jazz, On Broadway, a clay class, Art, and Swimming. It might sound like a lot but trust me when I say it’s a whole lot easier to pay other people to entertain your child than it is to entertain her yourself.

I don’t really mind driving Maya to rehearsals and practices, forking over hundreds of dollars on costumes and ballet shoes, and sitting through a variety of talent shows, open houses, and performances.

I do, however, mind having to sit through the same 90 minute performance two nights in a row.

I forgive you for judging me. If I were you I’d judge me too! 

After all, I was that childless idealist once too you know.

99 Comments leave one →
  1. raana permalink
    June 16, 2011 2:07 am

    Love Maya’s dress and her cute hairbun.Saw her picture performing on the stage on aunty Farhat’s facebook dp.It looked like was a great performance by her:)It seems like she has musical and magical rhythm in her body to perform .

  2. June 16, 2011 2:29 am

    Maya looks beautiful 🙂

  3. June 16, 2011 2:57 am

    I took ballet for one year. Maybe the reason that I never took a second year was because my parents hated taking me to do the same performance 3 times?

    It’s all coming together now…

    • June 16, 2011 12:40 pm

      This is actually the reason that I didn’t enroll Maya in ballet for 2 years after her last class ended…your parents are smart. Very smart.

  4. June 16, 2011 3:39 am

    I totally get it… Especially when they’re younger. Like why are we watching them play t-ball at age 5? They pick grass and have no idea what’s going on. and the game is an hour long!!

    • June 16, 2011 12:41 pm

      I thank my lucky stars that I have a girl, otherwise I’d be spending my weekends braving the weather conditions at soccer game after soccer game.

  5. June 16, 2011 3:53 am

    What a funny change in perspective! Your daughter looks precious. Though, that might wear on me as well during a second night 90-minute show.

  6. June 16, 2011 3:56 am

    Gosh!!! I know what you feel like. Even I used to say that I would never scold my kid earlier. But now, I don’t scold her but I catch my self yelling at her. Only to find that it is falling on deaf ears. Funny isn’t it??

  7. June 16, 2011 4:02 am

    Maya is darling! I do NOT judge you – I am/would be the same way! – trust me you are selfless just for having a child…I can’t even imagine…there’s judgement!

    I want to thank you SO MUCH for your comments on my site – especially re: not reading blogs i.e about OIAJ – it made me lol and so happy – because I see you as someone so put together and with a REAL life and smart, etc…so it makes me feel less crazy and not the only one or whatever…

    • June 16, 2011 12:42 pm

      Thank you for thinking I am smart and have it together. I’m going to tell Ali that someone aside from myself thinks this is the case. 🙂

      • June 16, 2011 4:15 pm

        I think you’re smart and have it together too! 🙂

        Oh, and I’m the best parent who never birthed a baby- oh if you could hear the conversations between Derek and I about other peoples’ kids. Seeing how badly many of them turned out was a key factor in our choice to be kid free. I also know that I would cave under the pressure to do what seems best for my kid- not matter how much time, effort and money (god willing it was all there to be had!), and not matter how much it contradicted everything I had thought before. So no judging at all.

      • June 16, 2011 7:27 pm

        Deb – Thank you for the compliment and the lack of judgment! And I miss you!

  8. June 16, 2011 4:29 am

    oh yea, once would be enough!!!! hahaha. she looks so cute.

  9. June 16, 2011 4:35 am

    This is why having another child comes in handy sometimes. “Oh, I can only be at one show because your brother, you know, he wont be able to sit thru this 2 nights in a row.” And then bribery works too. “We will have ice cream when I pick you up!”

    • June 16, 2011 12:42 pm

      Since Maya won’t be getting a sibling…ever…I assume I’ll have to go the sugar route instead.

  10. June 16, 2011 4:43 am

    She looks adorable! I used to judge people for their parenting too. Now when I see someone yelling at their kid in public, I just thank the gods it’s not me having to do it for once!

  11. June 16, 2011 5:04 am

    Haha, I always wondered how parents felt when their kids are in multi-day performances. One of my friends younger brother was in a play for 4 days in a row and his mom went every single day to watch.

  12. June 16, 2011 5:48 am

    I am you from about 6 years ago. I have all these naive thoughts running through my head when I see children acting up, parents bragging about their kids, etc. Like they say, “Don’t talk the talk until you’ve walked the walk.” (something like that!)

  13. June 16, 2011 5:48 am

    I can’t wait till my toddler gets to an age when he can be entertained by other people. Is that wrong? At least shes doing things that are constructive.

    • June 16, 2011 12:44 pm

      That’s not wrong at all. Actually, I’m in admiration that you are waiting for a certain age!

  14. June 16, 2011 5:53 am

    Ha – at least it wasn’t a musical concert. Little kids attempting to play clarinet = complete hell!

  15. June 16, 2011 6:00 am

    Judging? no no no… The way I see it, you are to millions of young childless women what I was to my younger sister. She saw me go through natural childbirth and thus opted for an epidural. Lead the way, sister.. lead the way.

    • June 16, 2011 12:46 pm

      How on earth did you get through an epidural-less labor? I had every intention to and then I was like, “Yes, please bring on the needle. ASAP.”

  16. June 16, 2011 6:18 am

    No judgment here!! I don’t know anything about this but I do catch myself saying what my child will or will not be like. I figure my stupidity will come crashing in my face soon. 🙂

  17. June 16, 2011 6:24 am

    haha i’m such a realist, i’ve always said that when i have kids they’ll be in every activity they can get a ride to just to keep them out of my hair 🙂

  18. June 16, 2011 6:54 am

    I have these fantastic noise cancelling earbuds. I’m buying you some.

  19. June 16, 2011 6:58 am

    Maya looks so cute! I don’t have kids yet but I’m thinking a lot of activities sounds nice … that’ll keep them from being lazy and inactive too ; )

    • June 16, 2011 12:47 pm

      That’s another valid point…I hate lazy kids. Thankfully Maya is only lazy when it comes to putting her stuff away, otherwise the kid is like the Energizer Bunny.

  20. June 16, 2011 7:16 am

    GAH! Both those pictures are precious. You and Maya are so unbelievably gorgeous.

    I was in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz growing up and it never crossed my mind that my Mom was probably bored to tears seeing the same routine over and over…but I’m sure she was 😉

  21. June 16, 2011 7:18 am

    Maya is looking very pretty. I love the way her hair is done.

    I am currently the idealist you once were and will be till I have to deal with my own child because after that I know even with my best intentions I can’t be. so no judging.

  22. June 16, 2011 7:45 am

    AWWW…she looks so cute in her ballerina outfit! Hey, if you got the money, the time (even though you might rather spend it in other ways) AND she enjoys it. Why not!!! She’ll be a well rounded child.

  23. June 16, 2011 8:03 am

    No judgement here. I think it is quite common for people without children to make assumptions about parenthood, or saying things like, “Well my child will never…” until we have kids, it’s an unknown world.

    • June 16, 2011 12:48 pm

      The truth is that even when you have kids it’s still an unknown world….

  24. June 16, 2011 8:35 am

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with showing Maya how many opportunities there are in the world. Maybe you’re doing it secretly (or not so secretly) so she can be kept busy, but at the end of the day she’s going to get so much more out of life than the kids whose parents gave them a snack after school and let them watch tv/sit online/play video games until dinner, then after dinner until bedtime.

    My opinion? You’re ahead of the game.

    • June 16, 2011 12:49 pm

      Thank you Jenna!! Since I hate allowing Maya to watch too much TV/play on the Wii I realize that I need to make an extra special effort to entertain her…

  25. June 16, 2011 9:21 am

    Maya really does look beautiful and her poise in the first picture proves that the dance classes are having a positive influence on her posture and balance. She’s very graceful.

    That being said, my Tae Kwon Do girl could kick her posterior. 🙂

    • June 16, 2011 12:49 pm

      Your Tae Kwon Do girl probably could kick my posterior…

  26. June 16, 2011 9:45 am

    Multi-day? Good God, what have I gotten myself into? Wait, boys aren’t in dances. Phew 😉 (Kidding, she looks lovely- just like her mamma) 🙂

    • June 16, 2011 12:50 pm

      Thank you for your very sweet compliment, as usual!

  27. June 16, 2011 10:17 am

    No judgment here! Maya seems like a really active girl and I bet she enjoys all that stimulation. I’m far from an expert on parenting, but I think it’s a lot about knowing who your child is and recognizing their needs (and how they aren’t the same as another child’s!).

    I wish they made daisy hairbands for kids my size!

  28. June 16, 2011 10:26 am

    Hey, I’m not judging. I think I’ll be one of those parents who enroll their kids in a million things. I was one of those kids myself and I can tell you I was never bored! But having to sit through a performance twice? I think my line is drawn there.

    Love the pics though! You both look lovely!

  29. June 16, 2011 11:15 am

    my mom used to be like that…but now i just stay at home and go to school…i wish i was a kid again

  30. June 16, 2011 11:20 am

    Yeah okay, but look how cute she is in her little outfit 😀
    *kisses* HH

  31. June 16, 2011 12:20 pm

    Cuties- both of ya!

  32. Leslie permalink
    June 16, 2011 12:30 pm

    Maya is sooooo adorable I hug her for an hour!

    This is one of your wittiest posts because of it’s universal. And for the record, I think you’re a sensational mother of infinite patience.

  33. June 16, 2011 2:17 pm

    Oh Maya is sooo adorable!! You both are beautiful. I know what you mean. I was idealist and judgemental too before I had my kids. My oldest son (and he’s only 6) plays soccer twice a week Spring & Fall, good thing I love watching soccer. However, his ice hockey season starts this September and I have to remember to bring my b*tt-warmer so my behind won’t be ice-cold (literally) during his practices & games.

    • June 18, 2011 8:40 am

      I am grateful that at least I can enjoy a warm bottom indoors. 🙂

  34. June 16, 2011 4:20 pm

    “I’m never going to stifle Maya’s creativity by enrolling her in 100 different afterschool activities. I’m going to let her be a kid as long as I can.”

    I’ve said this exact same thing – just replace “Maya” with “Summer”. Guess I better start saving up for ballet shoes. 😉

  35. June 16, 2011 5:58 pm

    I LOVE Maya’s cute little outfit there. Someone’s quite the little busy bee already. Go Maya go! I think it’s great that you enroll her in all those activities. I don’t think we need to worry about putting our kids in too many activities. If they don’t like something, I’m sure they’ll let us know, as usual ;). One of my biggest pet peeves though is people who don’t have kids trying to tell me how to raise my kids. Keep up the great mothering, dear!

  36. June 16, 2011 8:41 pm

    no judgement =) I think i’m going to admit riiight off the bat that i’m enrolling my kid in everthing humanly possible. right there with ya girl

  37. June 16, 2011 11:18 pm

    well at least it keeps her happy and busy 😀 …whatever you said was past. 😀 she is looking cute in her dress 🙂 she seems like one talented kid 😀 ..

  38. June 17, 2011 2:55 am

    Haha Ameena, this story reminds me of a funny scene years back when my nephew was a toddler. I was with my sister in law at a supermarket and and he started to throw his tantrum when his mum told him he cannot have the box of chocolate. We tried everything to pacify him but failed so my sister in law lost her patience and raised her voice at him to stop screaming and kicking. One passer by, probably, childless asked my her how could she be so mean to her child. That made her furious and she told the lady to mind her own business and if she is too free, go fly a kite! hahaha… I never forget this. Frankly, those of us we have children should not throw stone for we ourselves are staying in a glass house. Those who childless should not too because they don’t have the authority to judge.

  39. June 17, 2011 3:29 am

    aww….no judgement passed. We all learn sooner or later why others say what they say…If you guys are happy then its definitely worth it:)

  40. June 17, 2011 4:49 am

    Hey, if she’s into it, then your nurturing her talent 😉 Ah, the lessons we learn. Life is funny like that, huh?

  41. June 17, 2011 7:24 am

    Maya looks gorgeous in her cute outfit! I wish I took some ballet lessons whilst growing up. My hamstrings would have thank me by now 😀

  42. June 17, 2011 8:17 am

    As a childless couple whose friends (like 99% of them) are all having kids right now, we’re pretty flexible in terms of our tolerance for children and child-rearing techniques. I admit that I’m fairly judgmental, but I also recognize that I would be a terrible mother, so I love that I critique other people’s children.
    And if I were a parent, I would totally share many of my friends’ view of daycare as total parent salvation. Several of my friends are teachers, and most of them keep their kids in daycare or camp or programmed in one way or another throughout the summer while they (my friends) actually get to have a life. Seems reasonable to me!
    Seriously, my ONLY complaint is with my friend who thought that her 4-month-old child was super intelligent and beautiful. How could she really be THAT smart at 4 months? All she did was eat, poop and sleep. And she looked like a monkey! A cute monkey, but still a monkey.
    Programming your child = totally understandable.
    Thinking that your 4-month-old baby is a genius = certifiably crazy!

    • June 18, 2011 8:46 am

      Every mom likes to think their kid is the smartest, cutest, and most well-adjusted but seriously, at 4 months I can’t imagine bragging that Maya was super intelligent. I was just trying to get through the day!

  43. June 17, 2011 10:26 am

    Found your blog via Kat at Tenaciously Yours. So glad I did.

  44. June 17, 2011 1:49 pm

    Ha ha. I feel like that sometimes when I’m out to eat and there’s a screaming kid. I’m like, “When I have kids, they won’t scream in a restaurant. They’ll behave and sit still.” After dining with my nephews, I realize that’s a laughable assumption.

    • June 18, 2011 8:47 am

      I will say that I expect Maya to behave herself in a restaurant, and she does. I hate hearing screaming kids anywhere but especially in a restaurant!

  45. June 17, 2011 3:52 pm

    I was soooooooo one of those kids. My poor dad. I fully intend on sending my kids to summer camp so I can sit on the pool. She looks adorable and happy and in the end, thats all tha tmatters

  46. June 17, 2011 4:00 pm

    And I said I’d never threaten my kids “no dessert” if they didn’t eat and that my kids wouldn’t eat chicken fingers (EVER). Yeah. My boys play hockey twice a week, piano twice a week oh and then tennis, baseball, soccer fit in. Parents ask “what days are the boys free to play.” I say “they aren’t”. And now they’re going away for someone to entertain them for 7 weeks at camp where they will eat chicken fingers and dessert and be so happy. Why is the performance 2 nights in a row anyway? Who is that good for? Your daughter is beautiful (like her mamma). Loved this post.

    • June 18, 2011 8:48 am

      An away summer camp? For 7 weeks! Oh Lauren. I am so jealous!

  47. June 17, 2011 4:22 pm

    Maya is so adorable and that dress is gorgeous. Still not a mom and not planning yet .. wondering how would i be and what would i do .. hence not judging you yet 😛

  48. June 17, 2011 6:22 pm

    I came from a very large family and our family could rarely afford lessons of any kind. I always felt envious of kids in all sorts of extra curriculars. You better bet I’ll be putting my kids in everything possible. I want to keep them busy and also, if I let them be kids, they’d end up watching too much TV and fighting with each other. Love that picture of you and Maya.

    • June 17, 2011 11:44 pm

      “if I let them be kids, they’d end up watching too much TV and fighting with each other. ”

      ^ That is so true. My two brothers do nothing but that. And since we’re in a holiday now, TV seems to be their best friend.

    • June 18, 2011 8:49 am

      My parents didn’t have money for that kind of stuff either so I was enrolled in piano and that was it. Too bad I was never very good at it and didn’t get too far. 😦

  49. Erika permalink
    June 17, 2011 6:57 pm

    Hi Ameena,
    I do have to laugh at the beggining of your blog. I always say it is the ones without kids that are the most oppinunated and think they know it all. Your daughter looks adorable in her ballet outfit. Oh and if you had a boy, well imagine having a bunch of kids and both sexes and sitting through sports and dance and choir and etc etc.. have a great fun weekend. Tell your husband to take you on a romantic date. this weekend without his electronics. 🙂

    • June 18, 2011 8:50 am

      Erika – he just brought home a new electronic toy so it’s not looking likely. But I’ll try!

  50. Erika permalink
    June 17, 2011 6:59 pm

    omg I should have proof read my spelling ahhhhahh sorry no caffine today. lol

  51. June 17, 2011 11:41 pm

    Maya’s so beautiful mashAllah 🙂

    I wish if my mom enrolled me into so many classes..

  52. June 18, 2011 2:31 am

    Really? 2 Nights in a row. Oh My….., that’s dedication Ameena 🙂

  53. June 18, 2011 5:36 am

    Your daughter is darling! I too would rather keep my kids busy with stuff too. They have sooooo much energy at all times 🙂 A good thing.

  54. June 18, 2011 1:31 pm

    I remember having a phone conversation with my mum about a grocery store episode involving some mischievous kids and went on and on how I would never be “that mother”. She heard me out and replied very gently, “things and opinions change when you are a mother”. I think after reading your post, I should stop making assumption and proclamations like that.

  55. June 18, 2011 3:48 pm

    Parenting will humble you, that’s for sure.

  56. June 18, 2011 6:30 pm

    Not gonna lie – others doing the entertaining sounds pretty darn good night now. Sitting through multiple performances? Not so much.

  57. June 18, 2011 7:29 pm

    We had a total of 7 soccer games between my son and daughter last weekend. Not exciting. This fall, they’ll both be playing hockey, plus taking skating lessons, and my daughter might do gymnastics or dance, too. Once I’m done school, we’ll probably really ramp it up and add in some form of martial arts and swimming lessons more often. Ah well, it’s better than me yelling at them for fighting with each other or wrecking things at home.

    P.S. I totally studied during my son’s hockey games last year, when I made it to them. You do what you have to, right?

  58. June 18, 2011 9:00 pm

    Judging is best left for high school…but then, we never really grow up. I think we like to see people fail because then it makes us feel more relieved that we are human. (why do people watch reality TV? I think it’s because of this melodrama). But the best parents are those that judge themselves, and give themselves as much love and logic as they do their kids. I think parenting is a 22 year long (or more!) internship. THank you for sharing, again, with humor and acceptance.

  59. June 18, 2011 11:46 pm

    I am currently that childless person who knows everything! One day I know I will get smacked in the face with reality. One day… For now, I think Maya is missing violin lessons. 🙂

  60. June 19, 2011 2:46 am

    Hahaha, there it comes back to you! 😀

  61. June 19, 2011 5:24 am

    What a seriously pretty costume!

  62. June 19, 2011 2:50 pm

    lol. I dont think enrolling her in all those things is stiffling her creativity…i think its cultivating it.

  63. June 20, 2011 7:45 am

    is Maya going for so many classes? seriously she is intelligent and you are shaping her creativity oh now i feel I’m no where in front of these little kid, they are amazingly sharp and smart…btw lovely pic of you two!

  64. June 20, 2011 10:50 am

    this is funny, but real!!!

  65. June 20, 2011 12:13 pm

    First off..that is a beautiful picture of you and Maya!!! I say as long as she likes doing the stuff – have at it!!! AND I do not blame you – it’s hard sitting through some of that stuff more than once – we had to do that at the end of the year, take off work go see the program, then go back that very night and see it again….rahhhh – but it made them happy sooooooo. (that is when iphones really come in handy – I know that is probably bad)

  66. June 20, 2011 12:39 pm

    I love that costume. Also, I fully support all extra curricular activities!

  67. magicofspice permalink
    June 20, 2011 1:20 pm

    Sorry dear I can’t judge you as I have a couple of my own…and I tortured them with home school prior to kindergarten. I mean really how can I judge 😉 In reality all of these activities may just expand her creativity and she may find her passion amongst them…

  68. June 22, 2011 5:22 pm

    My friend just invited me to see her 3-year-old’s dance recital. For 3 hours. For $15. Oh and it would be anothe $15 for my daughter to go. My 18 month old daughter.

    • June 22, 2011 6:36 pm

      Wow. That is like the worst case scenario ever possible! I feel for you my friend.

  69. June 29, 2011 6:53 pm

    Oh Lord, you’ve reached The Horror That Is The Two Night Recital.

    It’s probably time to say goodbye to dance.


  1. maya fights back (guest post) « Fancy That…Fancy This

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