Anyone for synchronised French Horn?

640px-French_horn_front In a bid to make sure that your three-year-old doesn’t fall behind the evolutionary curve of humankind there is no avenue of extra curricular activity parents will not explore. I know perfectly normal, intelligent women who have, admittedly sent their husbands, to queue up at four in the morning to sign up their kid for a gymnastics class. At the head of the queue was some poor Granny who had been there since 2am with just a portable chair and a flask of coffee for company. Three back was a nanny who arrived at 3am and was being paid special night rates to stand in the queue and secure her ward a spot. Slacker Dad, who pitched up at 6am was too late to enrol his offspring. His daughter never did get the opportunity to execute a perfect back salto dismount, but she did learn that sometimes Daddy is unable to follow clear instructions from Mummy, and that this makes her cross. Now I understand the benefits of sport and exercise for children. We all want to improve their hand eye co-ordination, balance and fine motor skills, but where do you draw the line? Parental guilt that you are not doing everything humanly possible to give your child the best start in life, is probably the driving force behind extra curricular insanity. That and the fact that other parents are doing it. You can see the shockwaves of panic ripple through the playground as little Johnny arrives with his French Horn. You look to your own four-year old, busily whacking a bush with a shitty stick and ask: Am I denying the world a wind instrument maestro? Could the horn be his future? This is one of many questions we face. What are the optimal combinations of ages, timings, activities and venues that will produce a cogently balanced individual? That and how much is a French horn. The options are endless: French, Spanish, Mandarin, swimming, gymnastics, fencing, Kung Fu, Tae kwon do, tennis, ballet, tap, modern, street dance, drama, circus skills, spy club, film club, coding, pottery, art, piano, keyboards, clarinet, guitar, saxophone, drums, violin, French Horn, singing and brownies or scouts. To name but a few. I do think that it’s important to expose your children to a range of activities in order to see if they have a natural affinity or love for any particular pastime. But then you can become more selective. My children take part in a brilliant street dance class. I seriously believe that come adolescence and adulthood their ability not to look a total tit on the dance floor will always impress more than an ability to felt. Equally, teaching your kid to swim is a good life skill. They don’t have to smash the 100m freestyle world record, but neither do I want them to drown. Looked at practically I also think that the likelihood of them encountering a mass of water ranks infinitely higher than the chances of meeting a testy musketeer in the mood for a duel. Having said that none of my children have been given the chance to see if they could become England’s new champion foil for the under-18s. Because, just like buying a lottery ticket, you never entirely give up hope that beneath the veneer of your sticky, snotty Scooby Doo fanatic, there beats the heart of genius. I still harbour some hope that my little boy will become a world class footballer. I think the role of footballers’ mum sounds way more fun than footballer’s wife. The perks, but not the need for depilation or spray tanning. To be honest it would also answer a few pressing questions on the subject of pension provision. However, in the absence of sporting glory, I would settle for a child who enjoys a good knock around with their friends. Football is a brilliant, sociable, healthy activity and something they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. If your five-year old has not perfected the down dog yoga manoeuvre, it doesn’t spell disaster and a life destined for physical ineptitude. Equally, it is sometimes important to remember that merely months ago they were utterly delighted to discover that their willy grows magically. It really doesn’t matter that they can’t volley from the net. During term-time I reckon that, in addition to school classes, one physical and one cerebral extra activity a week is enough for the average primary school age kid. They still need time free to do their homework, play with friends and simply be. If you have a bored genius at home then obviously devise your own parenting schedule. This seems to work OK during term-time but come school holidays the frenetic need to fill children’s time with culturally, intellectually and spiritually fulfilling experiences, seems to hit us once again. Clearly you need to make sure that when, back at school, the teacher asks everyone to write a few sentences on what they got up to in the school holiday, yours is not the kid writing; ‘Successfully collected the full series of Tamagotchi toys from the McDonalds Happy Meals selection.” Equally, there has to be a middle ground between this and attempting to fit the development of early mankind and civilisation between the brief recesses of the scholastic year. But we are afraid of social anarchy, or someone else thinking that you are a shit parent. Thus we find ourselves frantically dragging our children around any number of museums, art galleries and exhibitions at the weekends and school holidays. You’ve decided that a day at the science museum is the only way to restore our child’s ability to compete with the Chinese in a global marketplace. As we herd the resistant little buggers around the history of particle science, they repeatedly ask when they’re going to see the bubble man. That or go to the cafe, the shop, the toilet or home. As we carefully breakdown the philosophy behind molecular biology, they try to work out how many raisins they can fit into one nostril. Then how many into their baby brother’s nostril.  Sometimes we need to know when to quit. Please leave any comments and do like me on this link-<


1 Comment

Filed under parenting

One response to “Anyone for synchronised French Horn?

  1. Kate Peers

    Hahahaha brilliant! Love the whacking the bush with the shitty stick image xxx

    Sent from my iPhone



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