Guten Tag!

Today was M’s “Around The World” report presentation day! Thanks to my awesome cousin (props to Rosie!!), I got to go, sans boys, and watch the whole thing. Totally surprised M who knows better than to expect me to come to her school stuff.

M’s country was Germany. Y’all will recall the strife associated with getting this report together, right? Well, she wrote her page, we printed a flag & posted both papers on a piece of cardboard I cut out from a box. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cash, so I didn’t go to get her a big posterboard or anything. I thought the side of a box would be totally perfect. She had an amazing costume on. My mom (CostumeGoddess) put it all together for her complete with long skirt, peasant-y blouse, embroidered apron, corset waist & flowered hat. All is good – so I think.

We get there, and all these kids have these elaborate reports with actual flags & photos of the country & pieces of food & money glued on creatively. Their “boards” are like 20×30. Maggie’s was about 11×17. (if that)

Cut to this one girl. She did Israel. With a FULL-SIZE Israeli flag. And Shabbot candle holders that they obviously made. And a little cup holder for the Shabbot wine. And a bread basket filled with challah & covered with a towel that they EMBROIDERED and decorated with cut-out felt representations of the different elements of Shabbot. On her “board” is intricately calligraphied Hebrew stuff (I can’t remember what it said). As her daughter is giving her presentation, the mother is COACHING her.

As I sat there watching the first kids go – one after another – and I’m seeing their “boards”, I’m just kicking myself. Once again, I’ve simply followed the instructions given by the teacher – to the letter with nothing more – and the bar gets raised so high that we’re nowhere to be seen. As far as I can tell, Maggie wasn’t affected by it at all, praise God, but I just sat there feeling like the loserest Mommy ever.

Why is it so hard to let kids do things by themselves (with assistance, of course). Why do parents feel the need to either do things FOR their kids or go completely & totally overboard about it? I’ve really noticed this trend in the past couple years of parents that just completely blow the roof off with how over the top they go with stuff. Birthday parties, teacher gifts, classroom stuff to pass out. Birthday parties used to just be kids getting together, eating cake & ice cream, playing pin-the-tail, & opening presents. In the past year, Maggie’s been to a party with horse rides, another at a super-fancy (with expenses to match) tea party princess place, a sleepover (at 5), 2 at a roller rink, 2 at a gymnastics gym. And coming home with “favors” that are better than the gift we gave the birthday child. I simply refuse to compete with that. We do parties very simple.

I don’t know. It all just peeves me to no end. We get these kids expecting SO incredibly much at such an early age, they can only be disappointed by life.