I had been looking for classes for a while, and just recently found a program that had a class that a) included 3 to 7 year-olds so both kids could be in the same class b) happened on the weekend when I could actually take them and c) was close to the house so I could actually get there even if we were having a good morning. I talked to the director of the program and we set up a trial class. I decided to keep it as a surprise and only told Big Dog the morning we were scheduled to go.
What reaction would you expect from a child who had repeatedly shown you his "kung fu!" and had mastered "Hiya!" complete with a nice chopping motion at 18 months? Tears? Because if that's not what you were expecting, you would have been wrong. He had a total freak out. "I don't want a karate class!" he howled as he listed the reasons I should not force him to go. "I'm shy!" he insisted. And for an hour we went back and forth. I'd try the "How do you know you won't like it if you don't try it?" standby and he'd reply with "But I don't want to go!" to which I'd counter, "If you go this once, and you don't like it, you never have to go again," and he give me the classic, "I don't like it! I already don't like it." It was fun. Ok, it sucked.
Finally Mr. Dog stepped in and negotiated a deal. Big Dog tried the karate class, and if he didn't like it he didn't have to go back (sound familiar?) and after the class, no matter what, he could have a chocolate milk. It was on.
When we got to the class, the instructor met us at the door and we introduced the boys. And just after I told him that Big Dog was kind of shy, Big Dog showed his best karate front kick, right at the instructor's shin. And then he was not at all shy, he got into it. Little Dog who had been very enthusiastic cooled a bit when he was told he had to bow to the mat. Honestly, I'm not sure I get that one either, but rules are rules. The best he gave them was a little head tilt. When the instructor complimented him on his tiny concession, Little Dog replied, "I call that looking at the floor." When the class started, we went to talk about the enrollment fees and tuition and when we returned they were both so into the class even Little Dog was following all the rules, including the mat bowing.
After the class ended, we met up with the boys. They were nearly vibrating with excitement. I couldn't resist. "So you hated it and never want to go back, right? Because that's ok with me. Really," I said with my best mommy straight face.
"No," he says. "I really want to come here again."
"Well, ok," I said, "We'll sign you up. I'm glad you enjoyed it. What was your favorite part?" I asked.
"Let me show you!" Big Dog said, turning to face me. Then he kicked me in the shin three times. Remind me again why I'm training them to kick my ass?