Usually, in the woman’s locker room, there is not much conversation. It is a bunch of women mentally comparing their lumps and jiggles with the other naked women’s lumps and jiggles. Occasionally, there is a request to borrow a squirt of conditioner or a comment on the temperature of the water in the pool.
But yesterday, was different. Women were actually talking to eachother. With wet hair, standing naked, their voices echoed off the tiled walls and carried into the showers. They were talking about Amy Chou’s Book “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.” More specifically, they were talking about whether the no-nonsense, no sleep-overs, practice, practice, practice tactics touted by the author were inspired parenting or borderline child abuse.
I don’t know.
I do know, now that my kids are mostly beyond the age of parental influence, that I wish that I had cracked the Tiger Mom whip a little more effectively. Sure, I nagged them to do their homework and they spread their notebooks out on the dining room table and did it. At least they said they did it. But their report cards revealed that they were missing assignments, not always prepared for class and certainly not working up to their potential. This doesn’t happen to children of a Tiger Mom. My kids all took piano lessons and violin, too. But they never practiced. Even when I yelled, my tantrums would result in an angry rendition of Bach’s Minuet in G or a slammed bedroom door and no practice at all. So I let them quit music lessons. Some of us are Tigers, some of us are just moms trying to get our kids to remember to flush the toilet and turn out lights.
Indeed, Amy Chua’s daughters straight A’s and prodigious piano playing might be the result of superior parenting, but I suspect that their achievements are due largely to genetics. Amy Chua is a Yale law professor with degrees from Harvard University. She’s no dummy. In fact, she’s a marketing genius.
Summer’s almost over and I’ve been swimming at the town pool as often as I can. The goal was to lose weight, but all it’s done for me is increase my appetite (conveniently, there’s an ice cream truck in the parking lot). But I digress.
What I wanted to talk about was the locker room at the pool. It’s a basic facility with two benches, cube lockers, a couple of showers, toilets and a fuzzy, distorted mirror that doesn’t reveal when I leave with mascara smudged under my eyes.
But what I really want to talk complain about is women who bring their little boys and particularly their not-so-little boys, into the locker room. As a mom of two former-little boys, I understand that you can’t send your three-year old into the men’s room alone. But…comes a time to separate the boys from the big boys.
Call me a prude, call me overly-modest, but I think that a nine-year old belongs in the men’s locker room. Okay, even a seven-year old. Yeah, the one who is already wearing his swim suit but stares unabashed at me while I unhook my bra and pull on my Speedo.
Sure, it’s easier to bring him into the women’s room. You can see him when he walks by the showers, opens all the curtains and turns the water on in each one, you can hear him when he yells as that he can’t find his goggles and you can feel the discomfort of other women and girls in the locker room when he leans against the cinderblock wall in a pose that’s pre-teen cool and watches us females wiggle in and out of our bathing suits.
Christie Brinkley’s nasty divorce from that cheating creep Peter Cook(what red-blooded man would cheat on Christie Brinkley?? She’s 54 and she looks incredible!) is finally settled. She got custody of the kids and he got $2.1 million dollars. A triumphant Christie left the courtroom clutching “an elaborate dinosaur diorama” that had been used as evidence to prove that she was a good mom.
Apparently, Christie helped her son construct the diorama for a science project. Now, I plead guilty to mucking up several of my kids’ dioramas. One in particular – a recreation of a scene from the book “My Side of the Mountain” – I commandeered until it was fabulous (it was even lit by a tiny flashlight from behind!) and bore no resemblance to my son’s original clumsy execution.
So, forgive me if I am a bit muddled. But it seems to me that if your kid is able to construct a dinosaur diorama on his own – that would be real proof of good parenting.