Saturday, September 20, 2008

Things Would Be So Much Easier if You Did it My Way

Rachel's little class performed at the once a month Tot Shabbat at our temple. She was so excited to sing her little heart out, wear her new fancy outfit, and enjoy the yummy treats provided after the performance. We made a big deal out of it (as we should) and had a special dinner with real table decorations, fake wine for the blessings (for the kids anyway- it's me we're talking about here) and a challah and everything. She is going to Jewish preschool afterall.
One of the songs is called "I've Got that Shabbat Feeling" and the kids sing that line followed by a different part of the body. Sort of the hebrew version of "Head, Shoulders , Knees and Toes". Funny thing is, the hebrew word for body is Goof. So now, Rachel is running around singing about having a feeling all over her goof. And I say You're being such a silly body!" (get it?)

Emily snapped this picture of me...not bad , huh? I was lookin' all (read: fairly) rested and proud of my little girl singing her guts out about having that feeling all over her 'goof' . She worked so hard to remember all the words and arm movements. It was adorable!

Or should I say - she was adorable. The other kids - I could do without. Or should I say their parents anyway.

I have to bitch about something (again, it's me, you didn't click over the Lollipops and Roses, did you?) I was emabrrassed to be part of that group. As soon as we entered the synagogue - our temple, our place of worship, G-d's house if you will - it was complete mayhem. Imagine 25 four and five year olds and their dozen siblings literally running amok all over the place. Screaming and banging things , and literally trashing their temple. And where were the parents? Sitting and chatting and photographing and completely IGNORING their little heathans. I was mortified at their complete and utter disrespect for where they were. I am not just saying this, but my 2 children were the only ones not misbehaving. Not that they weren't tempted to join the mob ... but Hubby and I wouldn't allow it. So they sat, shocked as we were and watched the scene. Even during the performance there was no control of the situation.

I don't know why some parents think they will scar their little ones for life if they set boundaries and make rules. I believe children want them. But if given no options (and I don't mean "if you sit down nicely and behave, you'll get XYZ") - they will go berserk and learn that that is okay to do. I am not saying that parents should yell and scream at their kids, but have we become so permissive that bribery is the only way elicit desired behavior? What about teaching simple respect and morality?

I lost total respect for the parents of our preschool class that day. And, sadly, a little bit for the Rabbi and Director of the preschool as well. They didn't ask the parents to control their kids. They didn't ask the kids to sit down or calm down. They just stood there with their mouths wide open. In shock. Trying to talk or lead the performance over the brats and their equally as rude parents.

Afterwards, I spoke to the Rabbi. He said his hands are tied. When the kids are at school, his staff is in charge of their behavior. But when the parents are around - the parents are in charge.
What a shame he has no chutzpah (the yiddish word for balls).

Maybe he doesn't want to offend anyone by asking them to control their monsters. Maybe he's afraid of losing members (who pay dearly to belong to the community). But if I were a new family who was even thinking about joining or sending my child to the preschool (at a hefty pricetag I might add), I don't think that experience would have encouraged me to join.

I said to the Rabbi (who, I might add, I beat the pants off of at the Poker Tournament last year - and for that alone - I am going to hell in a Moses basket) "This is your house (and partly mine as I am a member)- and there is nothing wrong asking parents to respect where they are keep a handle on their kids."

I wouldn't invite any one of them to my house, that's for sure. And let me tell you all something- If you are invited to my house we have three simple rules.

1) No using the house or furniture as gymnastics equipment.

2) Respect one another's personal space (stay inside your bubble)

3) And, we don't throw anything here except kisses, balloons or up.

*I'm done fretting over's been weighing heavy on my mind the last few days and I thought if I posted about it - it would come off holier than thou, or anti-religion, or uber conservative. Hope it didn't.


On a lighter note - Emily's 9th Birthday party was on Sunday. We had it at a local bowling alley and they turn on the disco lights and black lights and neon alley strips and call it an Atomic Bowling. It was really fun. She had invited about 12 kids (11 girls and 1 boy) and their parents and sibs brought the total to about 20 all in. Emily was a charming hostess and is learning how to 'work the room' fairly well at her age.

This is Emily's little 'friend' that she swears she doesn't 'like-like', Andrew. She was more excited to see him at her party than she was to get cake or presents or being the center of attention. You can't feel the heat of her rosy red blushing cheeks through your monitors, but trust me - Andrew is her first crush "fo' realz!". He is actually quite a sweet and well mannered young boy. His mom tells me that when they talk on the phone, Andrew goes up to his room to have the conversations. I make Emily sit in front of me so there's no secret chit chat. At her party, I caught them 'hiding' in a corner of the game room at the bowling alley. My first thought was - "Oh Shit! They're kissing!" Crisis averted. They were only in one of those photo booths trying to shove 3 crumpled up dollar bills in to get a bad picture. Phew! I told them I would take a good shot of them and give each one of them a copy (read: post it on my blog ) so they wouldn't have to waste their allowance money.

Later that afternoon, after she opened all her presents, wrote all the Thank You notes and started playing one of her new Nintendo DS games...she said it was the best party ever.

I looked at my little girl and looked around her room at the complete mess of 'things' she has accumulated. I realized at that moment that I have to start dealing with the whole 'growing up ' thing. The changes that happen to your body and emotions . Oy Vey. I've skirted it for too long. 1/2 her little 9 year old friends have boobs already. Crap. I've got to hit the bookstore for a modern day version of Our Bodies Ourselves for her. And me.

I said to her last night - "Emily , you have a desk under all this crap, so why do you do your homework on your bed?" She said " Because there is no room on my desk" To which I said - "okay, next project is to sort through all of the jewelry, sea shells, pencil shavings, eraser nubs, note pads, books and other things that are on this desk and get organized. How can you deal with all this stuff all over the place? " Emily , being a young lady with a quick wit and sharp mind (like mother like daugher) says "Mom, I am only 9 - I don't have to be anal retentive like you."

As I tucked her in and kissed her goodnight - I said " Boopie, when are you going to realize that things would be so much easier if you did it my way!"

She says - "You mean, you'd be easier on me if I did things your way"
Touche baby, touche.


sassy stephanie said...

Wow. I'm surprised they are not more strick, given the hefty price tag. The private school my kids were in before we moved had a control freak for a headmaster. She was so very loving and praised the kids, but she walked into a room and they sat up straight and behaved. She demanded respect without even asking. She feels like b/c we are paying, no time to waste with behavior problems that can be avoided. Gets out money out of the time at school.

Aunt Becky said...

Very few things have the ability to annoy me as much as parents who don't even try to control their kids. Huge, huge pet peeve. HUGE. Grr.

jill jill bo bill said...

I am soooo with you on parents letting the kids be in control. mark my words, these parents will be the ones whining and crying when susie gets knocked up at 15 or johnny gets a DWI at 16. Good for you for putting your foot down. Kids WANT boundries. Your pix were adorable and your daughter sounds so wonderful. Enjoy her.

nikkicrumpet said...

Sounds like you had every reason to complain about the monsters behavior. Bad parenting is running amok these days! Your daughter is a doll....and I love the picture you took of her and her friend friend! I don't envy you having to deal with the soon-to-be-grown-up little girl...Yikes ...not an easy time I can tell you! Wouldn't want to go through those 13 to 17 girl years again!

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

I have a lot of moms that I really like. But I don't like their parenting - or lack thereof. I can't do it. And I don't want my kids around it. There is a time and a place for everything - and I keep telling my kids that they are NOT on the playground - and to behave appropriately for where we are.

And for your daughter - I reccommend the American Girl's book - The Care and Keeping of You. Covers everything in puberty - from where hair grows, to deodorant, to periods. Doesn't cover sex ed - just the changes the body goes through.

Kelly said...

There was nothing holier than thou or uberconservative in your bost (in my humble opinion). You would think that there would be more respect by the children and parents seeing they were in the TEMPLE!! Hello?! The pre-school directors/teachers and Rabbi were total wimps for not taking control of the situation!

Sounds like Emily had a very successful party! I am so impressed her thank you notes are already done!!

M said...

Lazy parents piss me off, don't get me started on that subject...

YOU ma'am look Fabulous!!! :)

~Trish~ said...

Great blog! Parents are ridiculous sometimes, I wanna smack them! Hey thanks for stopping by my blog last week when I was featured :) I am trying to still get back to everyone!! Your comment about the ice on the tramp - just add tequilla and line juice and you have a kiddie margarita! - made me crack up laughing!!!

Mama Dawg said...

I don't even know where to start on this post.

I loved it.

I agree whole heartedly with you on the disciplining kids thing. I always explain to my daughter WHY she shouldn't act that way or do that thing. No bribing in my household.

The party looked like so much fun. I LOVE atomic bowling.

Great post.

Insane Mama said...

I hate it when parents don't control their kids, especially at an event like that. I attended my nieces Jewish preschool performance and it was adorable. They were all singing in hebrew. SO CUTE! The ids, NOT THE PARENTS. Parents these days know no boundaries!

Brittany said...

I have no patience for parents who have no control over their children...or just don't even care enough to. It annoying, and not at all a surprise their kids act that way in public.

Cristin said...

I can't stand parents like that... a very good friend of mine has a son who is the most rotten spoiled brat I've ever met.. .he treats her and every other adult like dirt... I can't stand him and have to make up excuses why we can't make playdates... Graham can't stand the little turd either...

I want to try Atomic Bowling.. it looks like a blast!

Lula! said...

Oh my head, I can't stop every word of this. Every. Word.

This is why I dig you. THIS. This post. Right here. Yep. I dig you, Debbie-Whose-Name-Is-Not-Debbie.

jill jill bo bill said...

Why did I not know your dad passed in Jan, too? I am such a boob. Thank you for the brthday wish. Love ya girl.

Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

That scene at the preschool would've driven me batty, too. I don't get parents who don't make their kids behave!
That is one smart kid you have there, and her little 'friend' is a cutie pie!

The Nice One said...

Oooooh he's a handsome one!
Yea, that behavior stuff is a big reason why I haven't even taken my kids to church. I'm afraid of what they'll do.
Cuuuute pic btw.

~Swankymama said...

We would get along JUST peachy!

Kids do want structure and boundaries. Fo Sho!!

And your rules of the house? You go girl!

Manager Mom said...

My kids go to the local JCC for the afterschool program, but we're not Jewish. We're sort of Christianesque. But I always teach them to respect the place that they're in. So we do kosher snacks, learn about the holidays, that kind of thing. And the younger boy actually thinks he is Jewish. And I've been told by some mom friends of mine that he's a pretty good one, at that.

Unknown said...

I work in an elementary school. One of the kindergarten students was taken out of school one day so she could choose a house for the family. Yes...she got to choose the multi-million dollar home for the family because if she wasn't happy with the choice then the parents wouldn't be happy so they bowed to her. Unbelievable! I am soooo with you on kids and boundaries. Keep doing what you are doing. We need more parents like you.

@TiffanyRom said...

I so here you on the kid thing. When we give tours of the campus, I am shocked at how people allow their children to behave... I can't tell you how many times I have to intervene.

My mother in law has run the office of a temple preschool for years. I think you are right about the Rabbi being worried about losing membership, cause anytime the Director tries to enforce a rule, the parents run to the Rabbi.

And, the way some of them speak to their parents...makes me nuts.

Looks like a great birthday party!

Tiffany said...

I so here you on the kid thing. When we give tours of the campus, I am shocked at how people allow their children to behave... I can't tell you how many times I have to intervene.

My mother in law has run the office of a temple preschool for years. I think you are right about the Rabbi being worried about losing membership, cause anytime the Director tries to enforce a rule, the parents run to the Rabbi.

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Robin said...

Seeing those kids running amok would have driven me nuts as well. Amazing that those parents did nothing...and those kids are our future..ha.

I've have learned the hard way about making my kids do things my way. Trust me, my 19 year old could tell ya some stories, poor kid. The younger two definitely have it easier than he did.

Tell Emily Happy Birthday! Her video is is the cake! Couldn't tell for sure but was it a peace symbol with flowers around it?

Peace out man...

Kgirl said...

Have no idea how I missed this great post but I did, until now that is. Knowing you, I can just feel the tone of this post but I feel your pain. Despite what you think of my kids, in public, they behave or ELSE...I'm liken Andrew...he's cute for her.

Wineplz said...

I'm a bit late to the party, but couldn't just lurk this post.

Are some/a lot of those preschool parents NOT members of your Temple? That in no way excuses them from allowing their kids to run around disrespectfully, of course. I'm just curious more than anything.

I think you handled it well with your Rabbi, as well, giving him some idea of how to kindly, but firmly, ask parents to get their children under control. It is a house of worship, not a playground. The one time we got caught playing hide-and-seek in our church sanctuary with our church friends, most of us kids got in a lot of trouble and received a loooong talk about respecting the Lord's house.

and how creepy is your word verification? the first four letters are "ouja..." which I took for "ouija" when I first glanced at it. freakin' creepy blogger. ;)