Sunday 8 December 2019

Stage fright over pushy parenting

Anne Marie Scanlon

When I was 16, I read a biography of Lady Jane Grey, the Tudor pretender to the throne, who was fluent in several languages at an age most kids are still wearing pull-up pants. On this basis, I decided all children were capable of such amazing feats of learning.

Modern parents were obviously too soft and therefore it was actually (very conveniently) my mother's fault that I was useless at French and Irish. When I had a child, it would be a different matter entirely, I thought, safe in the knowledge that I was never going to have a baby.

During my pregnancy (two decades later), I decided I would be a "pushy parent" (PP) and begin by "hothousing" my infant -- even though I had no idea what that entailed.

I occasionally played a bit of classical music and pondered the idea of flash-cards, but then I gave birth and was lucky to find time to wash let alone start schooling my baby in the finer points of ancient Greek.

In order to make up for the lack of PP to date, I enrolled my son in drama class, which, instead of qualifying me as a proper PP, showed me up for the hopeless eejit I am.

When he made his stage debut, instead of inviting talent scouts I got the day wrong, couldn't get the camcorder to work and, worst of all, turned up at the theatre minus the very vital dancing shoes. Cue a frenzied dash home and back arriving about three minutes before the curtain went up.

Later that night, the young master said he didn't enjoy being on stage, which surprised me, until he added: "I wanted to be up there by myself."

My "pushy parenting" work is done.

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