Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Can Pokemon Cards Make My Son a Musical Genius?

We are now into Year 2 of violin and piano for my two older sons.  While Year 1 was extremely painful and saw very limited practice time, I decided to Tiger-Mom it for Year 2.  After several weeks of forcing my boys into daily practice (versus the twenty minutes I'd make them do the morning of their lessons during Year 1), we'd hit an ugly patch.  My 6-year old son was dropping the word "mean" in my general direction regularly.  The 5-year old cried.  And the 3-year old took full advantage of my being distracted and completely rearranged the pantry.

So I began another approach.  Only recently, I had been notified by a concerned mother that I ought to consider my 6-year old son's overall mental health which was being deeply impaired by the fact that he was the owner of not a single Pokemon card.  As a child of the '80's who owned neither a Swatch Watch or an IOU sweatshirt, I promptly aimed my car towards the nearest Target.

Just to be clear, I am not the kind of mother who buys things for her kids regularly.  I am currently on the hunt for second hand Duplo legos (more on that another day), so I will hit the occasional Goodwill and Salvation Army which leads to the kids getting a $1 used toy now and then...but that's really it.  It was truly out of character for me to be spending money on kid stuff without a celebration looming.  Yet those old wounds of our own childhood often hurt even more with time - so Pokemon it was! I could not deny my first born again - I already caught enough flak missing out on the whole Bakugan craze (when I accidentally brought home some delicious baklava, misinterpreting his requests).

Thinking I'd be spending a dollar or so a pack, I nearly lost it over the cost of these cards.  3.99 a pack!  Ridiculous!  The dilemma....social stigmatization versus my frugal nature.  With the wheels turning, I reached a compromise (mentally that is).  I'd auction these treats off like the gold my son viewed them as.  Piano time for Pokemon cards.  After spending over $30 at Target (and later another $10 online at ebay where I could get a lot more cards for a whole lot less), my son has started practicing nearly an hour a night.

Now to be fair, it's only been a month.  My middle son is also practicing more because he's more compliant and with the older guy moaning less, he's going along with the program.  For the first time, I hear songs I can actually recognize without the long computations between notes (every good boy does FINE - it's F).  Right now, we're all happy.

So I've sunk to bribery and it's working like a charm.  Mom Mistake (for purposes of this blog): #2.  But I'm hearing Ode to Joe on the piano.  It can't be coincidence.

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