From the sidelines
Posted on April 16th, 2015
On days when I have had to interact with 100 people too many (I’d be happy with five), I remember that back in the day for nine hours, five days each week, I had two people to screen my phone calls, to mail things, to run errands, check discovery, and do other mindless tasks that I hated doing…
…while I could hide in my office.
The way I handle that now is by never answering my phone on purpose (and just as often accidentally, because I don’t notice it).
And now I am qH, the cruise director for pH, and I have to deal with people, whether I want to or not. A lot of people. Far, far, too many people. So far we’ve had wonderful luck with teachers and coaches: outside of the school system, she has had fabulous instructors. We know them by name and love them.
But then there are the others. I have seen aggravated murder defendants behave better than some of these folks. And while I can’t put them up on charges, I judge. Yeah. I do.
Things I wish I could say:
To parents: every time you yell at your child from the bleachers/sidelines, God drowns a sack of kittens. (No. I’m going to find a way to tell the kid that instead and let them sort it out with his or her parent.) There’s a reason there are coaches and teachers. I thought it had been overstated, that reasonable people become fevered and hysterical and coach their kids at decibel levels more appropriate to the World Cup.
No. Not overstated. Not only is that bad for your kid (who repeatedly tells you to be quiet!), but hello, this is my reading time and I’m several issues behind in all my periodicals. I really don’t get it at swim lessons, because I always thought the point of paying someone else to teach the child to swim was to not have to do it yourself. (I caught kH trying to subtly correct pH’s bokken technique at aikido when the sensei wasn’t looking and I elbowed him in the ribs.)
And then there are the children. Does no one teach boundaries? Do other people think it’s cool to let a kid smack up against an adult or screech in her ear? (Or laugh about it–what the actual fuck? Did you consider maybe there’s a reason why your child does not get along with other children? Maybe this is worth working on.)
I haven’t said “Get the hell off of that/do not touch me/my child/get away from me.” I consider this an incredible triumph on my part. If I were a better person, I would feel sorry for kids with behavior issues. I’m not a better person, especially when I’m getting slammed into or screamed at. (Clarification: I mean kids who are not on the spectrum and/or have a legit reason to not respond appropriately.)
Every time another parent tells me, “I don’t like other people’s children,” I sigh, relieved. (I don’t take it personally, because even if they mean my kid, who cares? Perhaps I’m not fond of their spawn, either.) It’s: thank goodness, I’m not the only one. It’s probably an ordinary us/them instinct that goes with my 3.whatever% Neanderthal DNA. Or I’m a bad person. Either way, there it is.
PLEA FOR HELP: There is an older child who likes to draw comparisons to pH, but only comparisons in which pH comes out on the bottom. Any suggestions on how to deal with this aside from being overtly rude? I’m not worried about my feelings (or the other kid’s), because I’m not much concerned with the opinion of seven-year-olds. But I don’t want pH to feel I’m not defending her by not saying anything…even while I don’t want to intervene, because, well, they’re kids and I think kids should just work it out. The passive aggressive side of me wants to hand the parent a card to the very well-regarded children’s psychology practice in town.
If I sound tired, I am. Very tired. Thursday afternoon ends our weekly activity blitz; I scheduled pH’s activities the same way I scheduled my undergrad and law classes (Tuesday-Thursdays, if at all possible). That worked jim dandy in undergrad and law school. Not so much for kid stuff.