Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Keeping It Abundantly Sarcastic

Every morning my children awake from the depths of dreamdom and call me blessed. It must be the way I call out their names to wake up like a breeze that tickles a wind chime or the egg sandwich (heavy on the Miracle Whip) that awaits their growling tummies. Today, either they awoke on the wrong side of the bed or they were having nightmares about Senator Clinton's appointment as the Secretary of State.

I decided no egg sandwiches today, that cereal was fine. As my son was eating his breakfast, I emptied the dishwasher. I had just finished with that when my son walks over with his bowl and says, "what should I do with this?" The rest of the conversation went like this:

Me: Well, your 13 years old now, I think it's about time you start making some decisions on your own.

Son: Why do you do that? What do you want me to do with this?

Me: Seriously, did you just ask me that again?

Son: It's just faster.

Me: Faster than just putting your dishes in the dishwasher that you just witnessed me emptying?

Son: Moooooommmm!!!!
(walks away in a huff as my daughter enters the kitchen)

Me: You'll have to find a ride to school because I told Jon to take the land cruiser and I'll just pick you up after work since you have a meeting after school.

Daughter: Mom, I have to go get stuff from Shawna for volleyball practice.

Me: Well, your lucky that she works just two blocks from the school.

Daughter: I don't want to have to walk all the way there and back to the school.

Me: Yeah, that's pretty far. I wouldn't want you to get blisters on your feet or anything. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes to school today.

Daughter: Moooooommmmm! (stomping off to her room).

Me to my children so they can hear: You know your Uncle Matt's children, all 12 of them, arise every day shouting 'Hosanna!' and proclaiming blessings to their parents, even without getting egg sandwiches-heavy on the Miracle Whip every day!

Kids these days, I tell ya. They don't like to be inconvenienced and seem to want things done for them. I had a conversation last night with an interesting man named Norman (Nah-man, if you're from Queens like he is). He was a high school baseball coach for over 40 years and this is what he told me. "I don't coach high school anymore because I don't relate to them. They have lost the value of work ethic and the biggest problem is their sense of entitlement." While this is not an example of all kids these days, it certainly does describe the way our youth tend to think. I can agree with him to a level from being a coach myself.

I worked this past season with my former high school coach and the girls would do some things that I would never have done 'back in the day'. My former coach and I had quite a discussion about the work ethic of the players these days and she said it used to be when it was time to practice, we practiced. I think one thing that struck me was that at 3:15 when it was time to start warming up, someone always came to us with an excuse to leave the gym and skip this part of practice. For instance (and this is true):


Player: Coach Anne, can I go get a tampon?
Me: Is your nose bleeding?
Player: No, I started my period.
Me: Hmmm, ok.

Player 2: Coach Anne, can I go get my ankle wrapped?
Me: Why didn't you do that before practice?
Player 2: Uh, because I had to finish a test. (Meaning 'I was out socializing in the parking lot.)
Me: Make it quick and do it before practice from now on.


Player: Coach Anne, Can I go get a tampon?
Me: I think I'm having a de ja' vu.
Player: What? Can I go to the bathroom?
Me: Sure, no problem.

Player 2: Coach Anne, I didn't have time to wrap my ankle, can I go do that?
Me: Sure, no problem. Oh, do you like playing during games?
Player 2: *hesitantly* Yeah....why?
Me: Just curious. Better get that ankle wrapped.

Player: Coach Anne, I need a tampon.
ME: Seriously?
Player: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I find it fascinating that at 3:15 every day your period starts. Not 2:30, or 2:45 - like before practice. But right when practice starts.
Player: Uh...
Me: I'd hate for the whole team to run because you're trying to get out of warm ups. They'd be pretty upset with you. But yeah, take care of whatever you need to take care of. Oh, and I think we'll run the mile today. ;) (that's me smiling at the player).

I know, I'm probably too hard on them and have expectations that seem too high, but that's what I know. I worked hard, did what my parents told me (OK, sometimes I whined and argued) and had a job by the age of 14. I keep getting told that it's a different time our kids are living in, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to push them to work hard. That seems like an excuse to me. I see areas where I've been way too lax with my kids and it's something I need to change. Starting now. Oh, there's the dryer buzzer, gotta go fold clothes.


helen said...

Hi. I was never into sports, so I can't say much. But, they did choose the activity, right? So they should be willing to put the work in.

sherri said...

You're my kind of coach!
And Momma!

Annie K said...

Helen, your a scholar and a lady. (A guy I worked with a long time ago used to tell me that and I've never gotten to use it, but it seemed appropriate here.)

Sherri, Kenz tells me my girls are afraid of me. I tell her 'as it should be.'

Mulled Vine said...

I love it!! Sarcasm queen you are. I'll bear that in mind when my 14 year old realises she is a teenager.

Annie K said...

MV, consider yourself verrrry lucky that your teenager has not yet figured out she should be acting like one(!). My 16 yo has been blessing me with teenage-type attitude since she was about 2. My 13 seems to be going at it with much enthusiasm as well.

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

Editing my post today, I took out this piece:

"Mom, how long should I put it in [the microwave]?"

(My son's motto: "Why read directions when Mom is RIGHT HERE to ask?"

Yeah, just about the time you get used to being a selfless parent who will do what her kids need without complaint, you have to make the paradoxical switch over to the parent that requires them to become self-sufficient.


katdish said...

Annie - Can I send my kids up to Bend over spring break?

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...




Matt @ The Church of No People said...

You've got quite the technique! I agree, sarcasm is one of the most effective ways to not burn out on teaching/coaching/parenting. I am only concerned that I will follow the footsteps of the coach - meaning my success only comes from my relative age and relatedness to them. But I do agree with him - kids all expect it to be done for them. Hate to tarnish those delicate little self esteems!

Mare said...

As a "young person" AND a former high school soccer coach I can say that I COMPLETELY HEAR YOU!!

I started working when I was 12 and rare was the day I whined at soccer practice. I would get SO frustrated with my girls and all that they complained about. I don't know if it is just perspective on my part as in I forget how much I whined and complained or if it is what you said about the new generation or if it is just some humans are weak in these areas and others in others.

I don't know but I know how frustrating that coaching is!!!