Is Your Grandchild Too Busy For You?
By Dragana Vucic Dekic
The Child President
Today’s children are raised to be presidents one day. Their days are full of activities from morning until late evening. Since the time they are a few months old, it is difficult to find a gap in their schedules. One grandmother told me she tried many ways to fit in with the weekly protocol of the future president of the state, her four-year-old granddaughter.
Monday: Ballet, swimming
Grandma wanted to see her granddaughter on Monday after kindergarten, but little Ema had to hop away to ballet school directly from kindergarten. Her parents drove her because they wanted to spend time with their kid in the car, between the kindergarten and the dance school. “Darling, I can wait for you after ballet!” Grandmother insisted.
However, after ballet, they urgent had to drive Ema to swim class. After swimming, dead-tired Ema fell asleep in the car and slept until the next day. Then she woke up for kindergarten.
Tuesday: English, German, piano
Tuesday was even busier than Monday, but Grandma was determined to see Ema. She hoped to find a hole in the child’s schedule but she forgot that every Tuesday, Ema attended French classes. The parents want her to perfect the pronunciation of the French language. Ema’s parents have been in a big panic: Ema was already four and she spoke only two languages fluently, English and German. However, Ana’s mom shared a video on Facebook with her four-year-old daughter fluently singing opera in Italian.
Ema’s parents had no choice but to sign up their little girl for the course in Italian and singing. Her parents read somewhere that children learn a language while they are in the womb. They were afraid that their Ema was behind her peers.
Fortunately, Ema learned quickly so that she could compensate for that prenatal backwardness in learning foreign languages. In each case, they increased her language hours.
Almost every day after kindergarten, Ema has two hours of various foreign language classes. This future president of a country should be able to speak and understand five languages already at the age of four. It would be written in her president’s biography.
Thoughtful, Grandma tried to join all the foreign language classes Ema was going to. She explained that she was also a total beginner, like the children. She would love to learn English and German, any language just to be with her Ema.
The school didn’t allow it with a simple explanation: The program was only for preschool children. Grandmother looked slightly older, even though she put rabbit ears on her head and hopped to school.
“You’re never too young or old to learn!” – she insisted.
There were also prominent schools of foreign languages that accepted children from 6 months and up. The youngest children had a weaker concentration and had more frequent breastfeeding breaks. Until that moment, Grandma believed that it was never too late for learning. But a lucky circumstance was that the lesson was held on the ground floor. Grandmother could stand on her tiptoes and look at Ema through the window.
Even after the English language classes, however, Grandma could not get into Ema’s schedule. It was well known that on Tuesdays, Ema also had hours of piano lessons until late in the evening. She went to a woman who lived on the second floor, so her grandmother could not watch her through the window. She could only sit outside listening to the music of her future Mozart.
After a superb music lesson, Ema would fall asleep in the car on her way home and sleep until the morning. The future president woke up for kindergarten again.
Wednesday: tennis, singing, languages
Grandma did not give up on a meeting with her only granddaughter. She hoped that Wednesday would be a happy day. However, Wednesday was reserved for tennis, the activity in which Ema’s parents put their highest hopes. At first, Ema trained only twice a week for two hours with a personal trainer.
The parents had read biographies of tennis celebrities and realized that they must put in more effort in if they wanted their offspring to win Wimbledon at age 18. So they started with eight hours of tennis lessons per week and two coaches on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Apparently near the tennis club was a well-known singing teacher recommended by Ana’s mother.
After tennis, Ema perfected her already gifted voice. After the sport-musical combination, Ema was so tired that she fell asleep in the car on the way home. She woke up for kindergarten. Grandma wanted to hug Ema very much by then but thought it prudent to wait until Thursday.
Thursday: Swimming and Italian
They didn’t tell her that Ema had Italian on Thursday after her kindergarten and in the evening, she was swimming and dead tired again.
Friday: English, German, ballet, tennis
Friday was the most challenging day in Ema’s schedule because, after kindergarten, there were three to four activities, one after the other. After playful French and German, Ema prepared for a role in the ballet, ‘Swan Lake’. Ema then quickly slides from ballet into tennis shoes. Ema’s kindergarten offered all activities, from foreign languages, various sports, and creative workshops. But parents concluded that this was still too little for the development of all their child’s intellectual-emotional potentials. They were reading a lot about that.
Weekend: Birthdays, Tennis, Acting, Painting, Modeling
Grandma knew there was no kindergarten on the weekend, so she waited with excitement to spend time with Ema. She was almost sure that Ema would find half an hour for her in her presidential training, although of course, she had an understanding of Ema’s schedule.
She was aware that it was not easy for today’s four-year-old to find time for playing, cuddling, and entertainment. On Saturday morning, Ema had tennis training, and in the afternoon, a drama group in which she played the role of a tree that could speak.
Granny hoped to get into Ema’s schedule between these activities, but how could she forget? On the weekends, alongside tennis, Ema barely arrives on time for her friends’ birthdays. Sometimes she receives so many birthday invitations that Ema must make a hard choice – which birthday to skip and which one to go to.
Children’s birthdays were mostly organized in big games rooms and it was a great opportunity for kids to play without needing to achieve a goal. Parents were not happy because that was kind of time-wasting, but that was the trend.
Listening to this sad story, I asked Granny, “And Sunday? What about Sunday? Certainly, Ema has a hole in her schedule on Sundays?”
“Sundays, Ema has painting workshops, at least two or three birthdays, and most importantly, tennis!” Grandma replied.
Finally, a solution!
In my desire to aid the helpless grandmother, I came up with an idea. “Why don’t you get dressed up as a clown and perform at children’s birthdays?! It is a well-paid job today and you will see your grandchild.”
The grandmother’s eyes suddenly shone. Time with her Ema and a supplement to her small pension would be phenomenal.
“But I don’t know anything about how to be a clown,” she said sadly.
I promptly sent her to my friend who was a professional clown and he gave her instructions in Clownology. In just a few days, Grandmother, along with incredible natural talent, became an overnight star at children’s birthday parties! Grandma was the brightest clown in the world because she could finally spend two hours, as long as the birthday parties lasted, with her granddaughter.
The word about her spread across the city and she had a full schedule. Grandma Clown, of course, as a popular clown had her priorities. She mostly accepted birthday engagements to which Ema was invited. Ema had not yet found out who was hiding behind the clown face that has enthralled her, but she decided to invite Grandma Clown to her birthday party too.
However comical, this real-life story was very sad and scary. I immediately called my husband and told him that we had to sign our children out of some activities. Italian, German, Russian, Chinese (although we had a discount on a multilingual package).
We also agreed they would quit singing, violin, gymnastics, dancing, ice skating, chess, robotics, chasing fog, athletics and correctly pronouncing letters r, l, j, y, n. Now, we just keep going with English and tennis, because the president should speak English and play tennis well. When I think about it, we should also keep Chinese lessons because you can see where this world is going.
If you like this story, you can read other funny stories by Mom the Muse.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Dragana Vucic Dekic
Dragana Vucic Dekic is a mother, writer and family travel blogger behind www.momthemuse.com who holds PhD. in Humor theories. She had published an academic book about stand-up comedy. After a decade-long career in journalism and pedagogy, she enjoys traveling with her family and writes humorous stories about their trips and parenting. She also writes picture books that will be published very soon