Monday, December 10, 2007

Dance Medals?! You Have Got To Be Kidding Me..

I know what you are thinking.. "Mrs F is finally getting recognized for her skills on the dance floor!" No. Sorry to disappoint. Kid is though. "Hmmm... I never knew Kid was in a dance competition?" Yeah... she's not.

When I went to Kid's Rec&Ed dance class this Friday I saw all the moms (and not to alienate anyone out there but it does need to be said.... I am at least 10 years younger then everyone else and I have the oldest girl in the class!) gathered around The Queen Freak Mom giving her five dollar bills and oohing over something in a plastic bag. Now we missed last week's class as we were in Disney and I had no freaking clue what was going on. It was clear that I owed someone money for something but no one was cluing me in on it. While I sat there holding a crying and sick Baby I gathered that The Queen Freak had taken it upon herself to order "Dance Medals" for the girls to be given at the end of class next week. Say What?!? I can't begin to express how infuriated this makes me. This is not a dance class taught through a dance school where you all gather in a local auditorium while little girls put on over priced tutus and dance for all their friends and families. This is an 8 week Red&Ed class... I love their teacher.... but let's be really clear this is the 1st step towards dance class. THe teacher has clearly had some dance training.. but she is not a professional dancer. This is the class you graduate to after you've taken the "Mommy & Me" dance class. This class is 45 minutes long and you drop them off... but... YOU DO NOT LEAVE THE BUILDING. And if you are the "other moms" you do not leave our side of the one way glass in the door to the dance studio. Seriously. For 45 minutes these 8 moms cram themselves into a 5 foot wide space and rest their foreheads on the glass so they can see through. Now I love Kid, and I think she is cute in leotard, but come on! You've seen 5 minutes... you've seen the class! This is not my first time around the block people. Kid is 5 and has taken at least that many Red & Ed dance classes.. I have never seen anything like this bunch of wackos.

So when I found out they were getting dance medals.. I was pissed.. and disappointed. First of all I just don't need anymore shitty ass "made in China" junk in my house. Secondly, I don't need to pay for it. And the most important reason of all... the girls didn't do anything! There was not a dance off. There are no judges. I have personally taken dance for YEARS and NEVER received a medal for it.. I've never even heard of dance medals. Call me a scrooge but I'm pretty sure taking the damn class was reward enough for Kid. I will watch her 15 minute performance at the end of her last class with pride and joy.. I will clap for her and give her a shout out... and that people... that... she would remember! The dumb dance medal, of which the Queen Freak was saying "you know they are going to be wearing that all around the house!", will have been taken off and thrown in the huge pile of crap she keeps on the floor of the backseat.. never to be seen.. much less worn again...within minutes of getting in the car.

Here's my opinion... but of course I'm just her damn mom and apparently I don't get a say, since they are giving the girls the medals whether I pony up for them or not (and in I don't I'll just look like an asshole!).....
I've got no problem with a "good job" or "nicely done" or "I'm really proud of you" but I don't think offering praise and rewards all the time is a very good idea. Not only did the girls NOT do anything... but what is going to happen at their next dance class when some freaky mom doesn't decide to order medals or trophies or tiaras? Won't that be somewhat disappointing? Aren't we setting them up to feel the act of doing something isn't enough that they need to get a reward for it in order for it to have been worthwhile? I don't know... call me crazy... but isn't it especially important that kids find a way to enjoy physical activity for its own sake and not whether or not they are *good* at it. And I'm not sure what message a medal is sending... if not "you're great". When you start getting medals at three, merely for attending a class, how much more difficult will it be for these kids to have any normal sense of ego regulation? When they are so used to *winning*, even if completely rigged by their over involved parents, how disappointing will the *real world* be when they find they are not quite as good at everything as they were led to believe. I know quite a few of these kids, now grown up, and the thing they all have in common is SEVERE DEPRESSION!

So of course I ponied up my money. If I had been there last week I like to think I would have schooled those motherfuckers! (Although most likely I would have just been outraged and come home and written this post one week earlier!) Towards the end of class The Queen Freak Mom says "I'm sure you all are doing this, but I just wanted you all to know I'll be bringing "S" a bouquet of flowers, I wouldn't want anyone else to feel left out." Umm.. thanks for the heads up, you overzealous freak! It is not like the class cost me $70 and now the damn poisonous medal has me out another $5... or that I... as a freaking adult... rarely get flowers... or that it is Christmas and we are kind of strapped for extra expenses... but sure I certainly wouldn't want Kid to feel left out.. thanks for considering that when you made your damn decision!


Mr Furious said...

This same mom and daughter were Kid F's swimming class which I was the parent in attendence, and luckily she did not pull this shit in that class or on me. Or I might have thrown her in the pool—or written a ranting post about her too!

Seriously? This is fucking ridiculous. This is an activity class, not even lessons or a dance academy or anything. Hell, the dance teacher was sick this past week, and her doctor husband filled in just fine in her place.

I'm not even sure how I feel about "participation medals" for kids in organized sporting events or competitions, but I'm pretty damn clear on the fact that this is fucking stupid.

If it didn't mean singling Kid F out, I'd take a stand on this. It's too bad all the other sheep moms agreed to this the previous week instead of simply letting this fool make an ass of herself overindulging her daughter...

And, yes, Kid F's adorable in her leotard, and the gigantic smile on her face after dance class (or swimming) is reward enough. This class is for fun, one step above playing. That's it.

Robin said...

Amen Sister!!!!!!

What is the world coming to? Kids are not always going to win or be the best at everything. It is much easier to learn that lesson at 5 than at 35.

Mrs. Furious said...


Deb said...

I hate this kind of crap. They're so busy trying to TEACH self-esteem and pretending to be "fully engaged" that they've completely lost all sense of real life. No wonder the kids I was hiring out of college a couple years ago had such an overblown sense of entitlement.

How does one get rid of that crap pile in the backseat of the car, BTW? I clean it up, and it magically appears the next day.

Mrs. Furious said...


I don't even clean it up... I was just saying to Mr F.. if we ever had some kind of tragic winter accident Kid could rummage for food back there and do just fine...

I do have a cloth basket back there but that only works for a little bit... Kid is a hoarder.. the kind of kid who needs to pick up rocks from the parking lot landscaping and other misc crap.. there is no stopping her or controlling the crap pile..

Mr Furious said...

Actual event from last night:

I moved the couch for the XMas tree, and there was a perfect, baby-swallowable pebble on the floor. No doubt an escapee of Kid F's "rock collection."

Mrs F: "Ruby, put this away."

Kid: "Okay." [Drops it and picks up seconds later]

Me: "Away, as in in open the back door and throw it outside!"

Kid: "Dad, it's mine."

Mrs F: (to Kid) "Put it in your drawer!" (to me) "You know she'd not going to get rid of it."

Me: "Yeah."


Any wonder why we need to cut off the crap BEFORE it crosses the threshold?!?!

Julie said...

I completely agree with you all on this. We have drawer full of these stupid medals and ribbons for all sorts sport things my boys have done. In fact, one time the "coach" gave an extra ribbon to my 3 year old who was not on the "team" so he would not feel left out. And these are for little rec. dept. things, too.

What the hell about flowers for the teacher?!! Man, I hate this shit.

My older boy is a total hoarder, too. And remembers all the crap he has. I usually let it hang around in his room for a while then put it away somewhere and then eventually throw it out. If he asks about it like a year later...yes, he did do that about a mcdonald's toy once, I'm just like who knows where it is.

This is a hard one to make a stand on because you don't want to alienate your kid from everyone because you're the nutty parent. Believe me, that happens. Elementary school can be so like "junior high" among some of the moms.

I have been room parent quite a few times for my boys classes and thankfully I have done it with other normal moms. Some of the things these wackjob moms wanted us to "plan" for the class was ridiculous, time consuming and frankly expensive. One mom wanted us to make a picture for the teacher with all of the kids' handprints which is cute, but she got all of the supplies at an actual Art store and the thing cost $75 to make. I could have picked up the supplies for like $10 and gotten the teacher a Gift card for the rest. I remember when I asked the mom how much she needed to be reimbursed for her little project and when she said the amount, I actually shouted, "Whaaat??? How much?!" and then realized that was probably not the most socially appropriate thing to do...especially since we were in the hallway of the school, surrounded by a dozen other moms. The poor lady looked like she was going to cry. I remember last year my little kids' preschool teacher was out for a short bit because she sprained her freaking ankle while hiking and these moms wanted us all to start a "Meal wagon" for her for like a month. What the hell...we are the ones with little kids. I can barely make dinner for my own family let alone for a woman who has a husband and kid in HIGH SCHOOl and access to take out menus. The other room parent and I just ignored them and let the freaks do it on their own. I don't mean to be heartless to the teacher and her hurt ankle, but c'mon now. Microwave a frozen dinner or here's one...let your husband cook something or your 17 year old kid. Okay, enough ranting. I am clearly pleased to be done with that class.

I do have to say things are better with these types of things when the kids are in elementary school rather than a private preschool.

Mrs. Furious said...


to be clear the flowers are for her daughter.. and she wanted up to know so we would all bring them for our own girls.. the initial thing didn't make that clear sorry.
I think the flowers for a 4 year old is even more absurd then flowers for the teacher.

The director of our preschool was out for the last 2 months with some kind of back issue.. and the same shit was going on. I even found myself offering to make cookies.. and then being like WTF? I am paying for this school... and she is 60 with grown kids and retired husband.. I don't actually care if she is sick of take-out! So of course I said I'd do it.. and then just never did.. and now I kind of look like a jerk.. but whatever I have a baby and a life.. and she's getting disability so go buy some cookies!

angie said...

This stuff worries me. I am totally with you. We as a society are too concerned about this kind of meaningless shit and about "improving self esteem" but then we don't teach the important stuff. How to deal with disappointment etc. There are great psychological studies that show that overpraise is HARMFUL--kids need to learn that you have to work hard to achieve success and that it is not just handed to you.

Now having said that, I worry that I give Nate too much applause/props. But hell, the kid took 20 months to walk, got to be supportive when he starts getting on track :-)

Gypsy Family said...

Oh. My Gosh. My fave: The "I'm sure you'll all be doing it too" flowers!!! Egad. I can understand getting over excited about your kid, but to be so manipulative with other moms is awful.

Mr Furious said...

I can understand getting over excited about your kid, but to be so manipulative with other moms is awful.


Feener said...

ahhhh. ahhhh. honestly, i am not sure i would be able to stand in the same room as that Mom. annoying moms - i have done a post about it and A TON of people wind up at my site due to googling annoying moms. they suck the life out of ya.

Mrs. Furious said...

until you find yourself going online to order a "walking medal" you are probably okay!

you know how I feel..

I'll have to google it!
Don't you love what google brings to you.. if you google badass and pretty much any other word it'll bring you straight to me.

Heather said...

There's a really interesting article in the Jan. issue of O magazine about self-esteem and how the "trend" in previous decades was to shower kids with praise to boost their self esteem -- the thing is, it hasn't worked. It actually makes kids MORE depressed. Self-esteem through other ways.

I think when I have kids I'm going to have to weed out the crazy moms and surround myself only with the sane ones.

katieo said...

Have you seen this article?

I SOO agree with everything you said and all of the comments.
I have to say sometimes I am guilty of going a little overboard on the praise/indulgences with my second child. He's always comparing himself to his older brother (and of course coming up short. He's two years younger than him! He deals with disappointment a LOT) and I think I sometimes overcompensate to boost his morale. Not saying it's right, just sayin...

Mrs. Furious said...

"I think when I have kids I'm going to have to weed out the crazy moms and surround myself only with the sane ones."
let me know how that works out ;)

I'll go look up the article when I go to the library!

Oh I assure you Kid knows that I think she rocks! I'm often telling her she is a "great artist" (but she also suffered from comparison having been the youngest in class last year and she was really down on herself.. and now she's finally blossoming and I am thrilled for her!) But I definitely draw the line at fictitious medals!

Julie said...

katieo, I can be totally overindulgent of my kids, too. Yes, especially of my younger one, too. Most of the moms I know, myself included, are much more involved with their kids and hyper-aware of self-esteem building, etc., than our own moms were.

That said, the dance medals are just ridiculous and to try to shame other parents into getting flowers for for their child the last class of a rec. department dance/activity class is just silly. Well, I guess not that silly since I probably would have LOVED it if my mom had done that for me OR was even there for my class or on-time to pick me up for that matter...waah. poor me and my deprived childhood:)

Chris Howard said...

Definitely sounds like this mom is nuts. As for the medals themselves, I don't think it's a big deal. I don't have a problem with participation awards, keepsakes, knick-knacks, whatever you call them. I've never seen them presented as if it meant the kids won something, it's just a nice acknowledgment of their effort.

I do think there was a movement toward too much praise, probably in a backlash to the era before where there wasn't enough.

Interesting article, Katieo. I've always believed that ability was not worth much without effort. Hopefully I can get my daughter to see that, who has plenty of ability but puts in very little effort.

In the case of this dance class, as Gypsy Family said, I think the biggest problem is this manipulative mother. What a pain in the ass to deal with.

Julie said...

"I think the biggest problem is this manipulative mother."

I think Chris is right about that.

By the way, I do not know how to make italics on here. Is there some trick to it?

michelline said...

I think the flowers for a 4 year old is even more absurd then flowers for the teacher

I've brought flowers for Tori and Libby for recitals. Tori had a dance recital when she was 5 and both Libby and Tori have had piano recitals. So I bought flowers for them for afterwards. They were both so very excited. I don't feel that it's bad to award flowers when they've actually worked hard and performed in front of others. After all, prima ballerinas get them :)

And I don't think participation trophies/plaques/certificates are such a bad thing. Libby did tee ball this past fall and their team placed 1st in the regular season. The Coach bought them nice trophies with their names and the dates on them. Those kids were so excited. Once again, it was a way to reward them for working hard all season.

We all like recognition. Don't forget that to a little one, just going to class and listening and obeying aren't always the easiest things to do. Don't go overboard, but something small in addition to the hug and a well-done isn't always out of place.

Chris Howard said...

By the way, I do not know how to make italics on here. Is there some trick to it?

No trick. Just enclose the text in italics tags. I can't demonstrate here but you can see how on this page.

Mrs. Furious said...

I do need to reiterate.. there is no recital, no costumes... this is just the last class of the 8 week session of a preschool creative dance class.

got to put baby down.. I'll be back

Mr Furious said...


A T-ball team that practices and plays a season, and has playoffs, etc...? I don't have problem with a pizza party after the last game, and even a token for the kid to put on their shelf. Win or lose. That is an exercise in teambuilding, learning sportsmanship, and a bunch of other things requiring much more commitment and effort from everyone involved.

If Kid F was having a recital, I'd even get with showing up, taping it, and giving her flowers. But this is just a maniac mom hijacking an activity class to heap praise on her daughter.

Plus, I just don't like her, and her daughter constantly hung on the ladder in the pool and splashed.

Mr Furious said...

Oh, and get this...

When Mrs F was telling me the story I refered to Mrs Maniac Mom's husband (who always attended swim class too, so they could double-up the overpraising) as "Old Daddy Toenails."

Why? Because these two parents insisted on removing their shoes in the pool auditorium as if they were about to take a dip themselves. (That and the guy had horrendous Dag-nails)

Now there IS a sign that calls for "Proper Pool Attire in the Pool Area", but every single parent who walked their five-year-old down to the pool remained fully-clothed and shod. It was November in Michigan fer crissakes.

Not these freaks. Barefoot the whole damn time, and as far as I ever saw, the dad NEVER crossed down into the pool area.


Mrs. Furious said...

I took dance for 12 years. We had a recital at the end of the year. It was normal for parents to video tape it and bring flowers. I've got no problem with that. We go to my neice's recital every summer (again 1 at the end of a WHOLE year of lessons where they work hard to master a routine and have to get up on a stage in front of a full auditorium and preform) and one of her parents brings her flowers. I've NEVER seen or heard of a dance medal. And please for a preschooler who doesn't know about such things or expect them.. who exactly are we rewarding? Ridiculous. I don't believe that kids should be rewarded for going to a fun class (that FYI in our house is the reward) for 8 weeks. If Kid didn't listen to the teacher and acted up she would be taken out of the class.. that would be the punishment.. she is not rewarded for behaving appropriately outside of being permitted to take a class next session.
I also took piano (what don't I have skills in?!?) and I can't remember getting flowers, but of course I do remember the HOURS of practice and the performance anxiety.. flowers are not out of line there either but...

"After all, prima ballerinas get them"

exactly! not every dancer on stage... the best dancer who has worked her whole life training more hours then any of us put into anything we do... gets flowers at the end of the performance... not even a medal...

now I didn't play softball (I begrugingly was forced to play field hockey).. but sports trophies are usually in my experience given out after a full season and some kind of championship. And in field hockey or highschool level sports in general your teams ranking and your pride in that is your only reward. When a division is won (at least at my very sports oriented prep school) and a trophy is won it is kept behind glass at the school.

"We all like recognition"
agreed. But I believe that a parent's obvious pride and enjoyment is TRULY award enough and means more than a medal.
I think save the "something extra" for recognition of an actual accomplishment, like getting over stage fright, or mastering a routine, etc ..not just attendance. If you get a medal for attendance how do you show REAL appreciation for a bigger accomplishment down the road?

All I know is for now, for Kid, the class was enough. And the look on her face when she sees me smiling at her ALWAYS makes her happier than any THING she ever gets. It is just unnecessary. And our lives are filled with unnecessary stuff.. and I think many people have lost sight of what stuff actually has meaning.. and it is just the acquistion of more stuff that "seems" important.

Mr Furious said...

I think save the "something extra" for recognition of an actual accomplishment, like getting over stage fright, or mastering a routine, etc ..not just attendance. If you get a medal for attendance how do you show REAL appreciation for a bigger accomplishment down the road?

Yes, yes, YES!

And for the record, I think Libby's Tee Ball qualifies.

Mrs. Furious said...

LOL.. Kid was just dancing to xmas music in the livingroom and Mr F says "good one you deserve a medal!"

Julie said...

I just wanted to try out my new italics skill. Thanks Chris.

Julie said...

Not these freaks. Barefoot the whole damn time, and as far as I ever saw, the dad NEVER crossed down into the pool area.

lol...i don't even like looking at my own husband's toes so it would be so nasty to see their barefeet.

Mrs. Furious said...

sweet jesus.. I went to swimming once and I COULD NOT freaking believe this guys nasty ass toe nails. Long toe nails are fucking disgusting. period.

MommyTime said...

"If you get a medal for attendance how do you show REAL appreciation for a bigger accomplishment down the road?"

Yes, and as a college prof, I'd just like to add that after a youth filled with extraordinary praise for things like attendance, one detrimental outcome is students who are so enthusiastically excited about their "selves" that they have a sense of accomplishment that far outstrips (sometimes) their actual abilities --- and hence they want A's in college course just for showing up most of the time and on the grounds that "I always got A's in high school." I do think a little humility, a slightly more judicious doling out of praise, and even -gasp- an occasional failure is good for kids. No one can be the best at everything all the time, and I personally think that occasionally losing out to another kid (we can't ALL win the 5th grade spelling bee, as I quite painfully learned my very own self, to much chagrin and disappointment) is not materially harmful.

Also, while a flower (not a bouquet, a single stem) made my 5 yr old niece's end-of-year dance recital "perfect," it's hard to say whether that or the fact that she got to wear glittery eye shadow on stage was the bigger hit of the evening. My sister, on the other hand, would have lost her mind at the idea of giving said child a medal--even after a year of dance lessons. Moderation seems by far the better plan, and I too would have found these mommies nutty. (I'm sure they're the same ones who give me dirty looks at the play place for not being skinny and "cool" looking enough to talk to them, so I don't like them on principle.)

etbroderick said...

Great post. Mrs. F. One of my personal favorites. I am so with you guys on this one. Loved "Mommytime's" remarks. I see it all the time! And Matt, loved the nickname for Old Daddy Toenails. Not sure if we inherited that trait, but I too have nicknamed half of the people I have encountered in my life. "Oh, look--Tall Lanky Fellow is here." "Why is Pinhead getting another glass of milk?" LOL.

Mrs. Furious said...

"I'm sure they're the same ones who give me dirty looks at the play place for not being skinny and "cool" looking enough to talk to them, so I don't like them on principle"
lol... NO... these are weird middle aged women who are not thin or well dressed! But they are weird and give me weird vibes and wanted to do a potluck after the last class (thank god that blew over) so you can still hate them. And so far all the husbands are BUTT ugly. I have no idea where they come from they are kind of an AA aberration! (so that means probably Dexter...haha)

I'm happy to have the prof backing me up :)

Mrs. Furious said...

funny. I have always done this too. We call one of our neighbors The Colonel because he has a shaved head and immaculate lawn. We've know his real name for years but we can't stop calling him that. Even Kid will be like "The Colonel's out without a shirt again!"

Mr Furious said...

Are you forgetting his big-ass flagpole with the little rock circle around it? That's why he's the Colonel!

Mr Furious said...

Not to be confused with "The Rancher."

angie said...

Katieo--the article you linked to was the one i was trying to describe. Just as an FYI, she is one of the most famous psychologists out there. Her research is impeccable. I worship her (as you can tell i am totally geeky...and a research psychologist like her). So it's a good study/line of work to pay attn to. But as you could see from my post above, I still have to work on the skills she describes.

Totally agree with mommytime, re what happens in the future as a result of this. I even see it now with my 8 yo nephew who refused to ride a 2 wheeler or swim until recently--we think because he was too scared to fail at something.

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