Yet, here we are.
We may be on the verge of being, dare I speak the word — OVERSCHEDULED!
Before you judge, hear me out.
I don’t think Rachel is an overscheduled kid. But I have discovered how easy it is to allow that to happen. Not so much from us pushing her, but from trying to gauge the level of interest in things that seven-year-old girls want to do.
For a long time, R.’s only regular “activity” has been to attend a Saturday morning Chinese school — a little language, but heavy on culture and geared especially for families who “look like us,” families with adopted Chinese children.
Her dad and I feel pretty strongly about keeping this connection for her, so even when one or all of us whine about getting up on a Saturday morning, we remind ourselves of the important reason to stay connected with Rachel’s birth culture, pile into the car with coffee in tow and drive the 20 minutes to class. This isn’t something that she would do on her own accord, so I’ve never really placed this in the activity column.
(Yes, I love the state of Denial, have you been there lately?)
“We’ve” tried out a variety of classes over the years — gymnastics, a little Ballet Petite, music and movement, swimming lessons in the summer time, but those have always been one at a time, never more than one activity in a week.
I’ve always been adamant that we were NOT going to be one of THOSE families — overscheduled to the hilt and exhausted by driving and schedule-juggling in the name of enrichment and a slot at the Ivies.
I’m afraid, however, that we are on the brink and I wonder whether I should pull us back now or stick a toe in the waters of multiple after-school activities.
R. discovered a love of ice skating a couple of years ago. We’ve done some group lessons at the public rink on and off for a couple of years. But she really wants to learn, so we’ve bitten the bullet for private lessons.
We have no illusions of creating the next Michelle Kwan, but we know from R.’s swimming lesson experiences that she’s a kid who gets lost in group lessons — she’s not the worst one, she’s not the best one, she’s in the middle and that’s OK, but those kids don’t get a lot of actual attention or instruction in a lesson with ten other kids and don’t make much progress.
So I thought, well, two activities isn’t so much — Chinese school and ice skating. I can manage that.
Umm, can you say ‘piano lessons?’
A slot with a decent time came open at R.’s school for piano lessons and she wants to give that a spin, too. I’ve been mulling over this for a couple of days and have decided to let her try it out, fully realizing this may be too much for my seven-year-old.
Because she also wants playdates, and then if you add in even a modest amount of first-grade homework – POOF! — no time left for a little chilling, and I know my girl — she needs her downtime.
This may be a short-lived experiment. Or not. Heaven help me. Just stop me before I sign on the dotted line again.