Good weekend with the dudes. On Saturday I took the Nez to his music class while omma took Jake to check out signing up for tae-kwon-do lessons. As per usual, it was a fun time at the music class, but I noticed some things that made me reassess my own parenting values. First, I should say that the basic philosophy of the class is to let the kids react the way they want to the music. It’s an enclosed space with carpeting, a space for them to feel free and for the parents not to have to worry about furniture, lights, and other hazards. The first day of each session they tell the parents not to react instinctively by trying to make the kids clap, dance, or otherwise do what the parents are asked to do. She reiterated this for the two new families that were there this week. When we did the class for the first time with Jake, we were absolutely the parents who were unable to follow the teachers directions. We wanted him to “behave correctly” and wanted to demonstrate that we were raising a “good boy.” In fact, looking back, I think I was most concerned about myself and not Jake, after all, asking an 18-month old to sit and listen to music when it’s making him want to move around is counterintuitive to say the least. (Actually, looking back at posts from this blog, I see that we were trying too hard in a number of areas, i.e. trying to make him sleep.)
Well, Wes’ class is full of parents with one child who are doing the class for the first time. They all try to reign in their kids, many of whom are having a perfectly good time and reacting the way that is expected. They just can’t let go though. I’m sure they are thinking the opposite about me, but I’ve got the support of the teacher who was basically saying that Wes was having a great time–and he was. One couple in particular seem to be 10 steps ahead of their two-year old. They demand that he, “Say thank you. Say thank you. Daniel, SAY thank you! DANIEL SAY THANK YOU!” Um, as far as I can tell, Daniel can’t talk yet, so the demands are going nowhere. There are worse examples, but it’s not worth rehashing. I’m taking it as a learning experience. I think both omma and I have learned much from taking Jake through all the first steps. At least I really hope we have.
On Saturday night Jakes, omma and I went to the last two games of the soccer tourney. The Korean team was in the championship against a Japanese team, so a lot of the local Korean community showed up. Omma saw them somewhere in the stadium and showed up with a Korean flag–a gift from a big group of traditional instrumentalists who came to support the team. Jake and pal Willow (and friend Emily) had a grand time waving the flag and rooting for the Korean team, which won 3-0. Sunday we hit the zoo.
So Jake started tae-kwon-do tonight. He’s at the lesson as I write this. Taking the classes at this age is very, very common in Korea. It’s not for self-defense or even to learn how to punch and kick. Kids at this age are learning self-discipline how to work in a group, and, at a very basic level, they are getting some exercise. He’s super-excited. Can’t wait to hear how it went.