Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chess Is Too Stressful

Dear Claire's 1st Grade Teacher for the Coming Year,

I think the "All About Me" sheet you gave us to bring the first day of school is a great idea.  I'm sorry that I ripped off the little note stapled to the front before Claire could see it.  You see, I didn't want to write all her answers for her.  I mean, yes, I'm busy and wanted one less thing to do.  But it was more than that.  I knew Claire could do it, but if she saw your note saying that she wasn't expected to be able to and that I could write her answers for her, then she would whine for me to do it.  Sometimes Claire cares more about "making the grade" than she does about personal accomplishment.  Sometimes she wants to do things perfectly more than she wants to challenge herself and make herself grow.  Come to think of it, she's a lot like her mom...

Anyway, here's the thing.  You know the entry where the sheet says, "My favorite sport or game:"? Please remember that Claire was filling this sheet out all by herself when she wrote, "soccer and chess."  Chess!  HA!!!  I know what you're probably thinking, but I'm not one of THOSE parents.  You know which ones I'm talking about.  I did not show her chess flashcards when she was 16 months old.  I don't even like chess.  (M does, so if you have to blame someone, it's probably him!)  She is not enrolled in chess classes on Tuesday afternoons.  In fact, she is on a soccer team.  A nice, normal soccer team.

Do you have any advice on how I explain to her that soccer is fine, but listing chess is a bit much for a 1st grader?  I mean, I'm her own mother and I want to tease her for being nerdy and writing that.  Besides, it's a bit cocky of her.  She's not that good at chess.  She can't even think ahead more than one move!  I can beat her in like 20 minutes.  Her strategy needs A LOT of work.  But I digress...

As we enter this school year, please bear with me.  I am trying very hard to find the balance between advocating for my child and just being obnoxious.  I want to help Claire not be bored, but more than that I want her to be happy.  Not just in the short run, but in the long haul too.  First and foremost, I want her to be a good person.  I want to know what I can do to help you teach her.  I want to further her education, both in academics and in life skills, but at an appropriate level.  Therefore I want to be involved in her schooling.  But I don't want to be THAT mom.  I don't want to call you daily to tell you that my child walks on water and can do no wrong.  I want you to be allowed to give her constructive criticism.  I don't want to whine all the time that you aren't offering her college level curriculum yet.  I don't want to appeal to the principal every other day for more, MORE, MORE!!!

I want to be cool.  I'd like to think that I'm pretty cool.  Totally not all lame and geeky and unable to carry on a normal conversation.  Laid back enough to not be obnoxious, but still a responsible parent.

So please, don't judge me just because my 1st grader listed "chess" as her favorite game.


G (Claire's very cool and definitely not overly nerdy or pushy mom)


Janssen said...

These are the same kinds of fears I have. And after working in a school, they have multiplied a thousand times.

Leann said...

I miss you!

Corbett Family said...

The irony of your post is that my son's first grade teacher taught the whole class how to play chess last year. (And she does this every year.) You probably don't need to be too worried about the nerdiness of chess in this school district.