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Balancing Parenting and Training

Posted Sep 24 2009 10:00pm

Back's feeling better all the time. I made it into class yesterday, sparred with some of the bigger guys to see how I feel. I still can't bridge with any power, but I'm largely pain free and moving okay.

The only thing right now is that I have a logistical problem that I'm not sure how to solve: carting the entire clan down to the school. I'm not sure quite what I'm going to do about it. My wife often travels during the week, and while in town it's not unusual for her to get home at about 6pm. So, if I want to train during the week, I have few alternatives beyond packing the kids into the car and taking them with me to the school.

I want to say that I'm very proud of my kids. They are great with the baby and step up when I need them. The puzzle I'm trying to solve right now is how to minimize the chaos (and the associated stress) that watching Lily outside the house entails. What I mean is, at home, we have things set up. Lily has toys. She has things to do to stimulate her. She has a quiet place to go take a nap. The kids stimulate her and when she starts to spaz out, they back off and quiet things down. They're great.

Taking the kids to the school wasn't a big deal a few months ago when the only kids there were mine and maybe one other. My kids stayed in the lobby, watched Lily and kept things mellow. Over the last few weeks, though, we've got some new guys at the school who have kids training in the kids' class that runs immediately before ours. So, what was once a relatively quiet lobby is now full of about six bored tweens.

As any parent knows, there are different types of crying, and as I ended a round I heard Lily and she sounded royally pissed off. So, I went out and asked what was going on. Apparently, some of the kids ("Wasn't me!!" "I didn't do it!") were playing with an exercise ball and knocked Lily down. I could tell that my older kids were stressed out and talking to them later, it appears that there was a combination of antagonism between the boys and my son and just the every day self centered behavior of boys who are between 10 and 13.

While I'm trying to keep an open mind about the other kids... I don't know them at all, and while the dads who are training with me in the school seem like really nice guys (all three of the other dads went out without my asking to help impose some order), I have a very low threshold for people who make my baby cry. I also don't like it when my daughter tells me that they're calling my son a douche bag for trying to keep them from roughhousing around the toddler.

Ultimately, I'm pretty conflicted right now and the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. Even as I write this post, I'm getting angry. I'd like to try again, in the hopes that this is all solvable. Training is very important to me. I intend to keep a very close eye on the kids and at the first sign of a problem, will talk again with all of the dads involved to see what can be done. I don't expect the kids to be other than kids, but there's a line that can't be crossed. I'll be talking more with my own kids about what I expect from them, and to make sure that they're not exacerbating the problem if at all possible. And ultimately, if it becomes a choice between training and creating unnecessary stress for my older children and a potentially dangerous situation for my toddler or not training at all during the week... well, there's really no choice at all, is there?
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