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Monday, May 24, 2010

Yet Another Tongginator Moment

The Tongginator's school hosted its annual Field Day this past Thursday. Yes, y'all, a plethora of potato sack races, kickball games, spoon and egg races, hula hoop contests and even a rock climbing wall. Be still my non-athletic heart. Which I must confessed totally skipped a few beats just LOOKING at all of the cardio going on around me.

And no, I was not there to volunteer. I was there to take pictures. (I know! What was Ms. Confetti even thinking? For some strange reason, she seems to think I take half-way decent photographs.) I arrived on Thursday armed with my Rebel, a bottle of water and various and assorted inhalers. Because yes, even the simple act of viewing exercise can sometimes trigger an asthma attack.

What can I say except cough, cough, wheeze?

I spent the morning trekking from one field to the next, then stopping by the cafeteria, then the gym, before heading back to the fields again. And repeat. Betwixt and between all of that hyperventilating hiking, I snapped shots of kindergartners and first graders alongside their fourth grade buddies. You see, the Tongginator's school pairs the little ones with older students so that bigger hands are available to assist with the tying of shoes, the donning of helmets and the lifting of little bodies up to reach necessities such as water fountains.

At one point, I sat crouched in a field, trying to capture the perfect shot of a rather passionate kickball game more than thirty yards away. And that's when I noticed - through my zoom lens - the Tongginator amid a gaggle of girls near third base. She stood surrounded by four other kindergartners and five fourth grade girls... and she didn't look happy. AT ALL. In fact, my little Tongginator looked downright frustrated.

Unfortunately, she spotted me, too.

She took off running towards me, as did the nine other girls in her assigned group. The Tongginator wailed so loudly, it actually stopped the kickball game for a moment. She screeched to a halt about two feet from me, wailing and crying and stomping and generally being the Tongginator. It took all of one minute for her to get the story out: "No one else in my group wants to do the parachute, but I want to. They ALL wanna go get popsicles and I wanna do the parachute!"

While she ranted and caterwauled, the other girls from her group caught up and silently stood there, worrying their lips and generally waiting for the axe to fall. Several teachers and administrators also inched closer to the action, trying to figure out exactly what was going on and who the players were. (Remember, y'all, the Tongginator is Chinese-American. And I? Am not. Most of them didn't know I was her momma. But they did know I wasn't a teacher there.)

I steeled myself and reminded the Tongginator that "this is something you need to work out with your group. There are lots of people in your group, so sometimes in a group we don't get to do what we want to do. Where's your buddy?" The Tongginator, still sobbing hysterically, pointed to a sheepish looking girl to the left who stood raising her hand. I nodded my head, then announced to the group, "this is a problem y'all have to work out." I looked right into the Tongginator's eyes, pointed widely with my arm and said, "get it together, Tongginator. You need to go away and solve this problem yourselves. I am working and cannot help you with this. Stop screaming and go work it out."

My announcement momentarily shocked the Tongginator into silence. Which is kinda surprising because this tends to be my default answer when it comes to drama of this sort.

But after that brief respite, the wailing REALLY began. As did the stomping away. A Momma Death Glare took care of the wailing and stomping, but - alas! - nothing could stem the tide of tears. Her entire group, including the five fourth graders, scampered after the Tongginator, trying to comfort and appease her. Two of the older girls tried to calm her down for a few minutes, with the Tongginator sobbing, whimpering and generally looking as pitiful as possible.

And I? I took pictures of it all from about 15 yards away.

(And yes, I purposefully blurred this photo. Because I don't know their mommas.)

I waited patiently for the girls to head to the popsicle stand with the Tongginator in tow, but then I received a bit of a shock. Because the Tongginator? The Tongginator somehow managed to convince all of the girls - including the five fourth-graders - that the parachute wasn't so terrible after all. They all headed there, some sporting resigned expressions, but they ALL! HEADED! THERE!


I stood up, shaking my head in disbelief as I turned, before almost stumbling into a first-grade and a fourth-grade teacher, who hovered right behind me. I made it easy for them, sporting a chagrined smile, with the words, "my daughter, the drama queen." Their faces showed relief as they realized I was The Mom, before they asked me, "what was that all about?"

TONGGU MOMMA: Well, my daughter was the only one in her group who wanted to do the parachute game. Everyone else wanted to get popsicles. I told her this was something she had to work out with her group and I refused to get involved.

FIRST GRADE TEACHER: Good for you, Mom! That was the way to handle it.

TONGGU MOMMA: Yeah... except... they actually gave into her! (hitting myself in the head) Did you see that? And look where they are now?!?!! I can't believe they gave into her.

FIRST GRADE TEACHER: (chuckling) Well... she does seem like a force to be reckoned with.

TONGGU MOMMA: Oh, you have NO idea.

FOURTH GRADE TEACHER: What's your daughter's name?

TONGGU MOMMA: She's the Tongginator.

FOURTH GRADE TEACHER: (grinning, raising her eyebrows, and with a rueful tone of voice) I have a feeling I'm going to remember that name.

Somehow I don't doubt it. I can only feel grateful that the Tongginator readily headed to the popsicle stand as soon as they finished up with the parachute.

And I have no other words... except... at least it wasn't a lollipop.


Aus said...

Ya know - there are times when it's clear why I like you! If you are ever looking for a money making job - might a suggest a book and lecture tour on the 'care and feeding of young children with emotional bumps in their history (as all our adopted kids have BTW)... and other creatures of the wild'? You did a good piece of parenting there - ALL of the kids involved learned how to compromise - but more importantly learned that parents and other adult authority figures (including eventually bosses / supervisors etc) can even be reasonable sometimes - leaving the decision to be made by the folks responsible for making them!

Yeah - you can tell another pet peeve of mine is parents (and bosses) who simple make the decisions and hand down the judgements...and as a result we grow a crop of kids who never learn to do that on their own!

nice work - and hugs -

aus and co.

Stefanie said...

Oh my... she is a force to be reckoned with, eh?
You handled it amazingly well, TM!! Love the pictures, too :)

Tonggu Grammy said...

It was such a Tongginator moment. For those of us who know her it wasn't surprising that she convince EVERYONE to do the reasonable thing and go to the parachute. After all,they had already had one treat and could easily wait for that blasted popsicle.

Aus, I'm thinking about her in the workforce and hope she doesn't turn in to a boss who tells everyone what to do. Help me pray will you?

Kris said...

in the words of my Ellis (and, you know, you gotta say it with some umph): OH my GOODness!

kudos to you for being the mom you are. i wanna be just like you :)

Kristi said...

So Ms. Confetti did realize she was going to get a bunch of side profiles and shots from the back, right? (hehe)
Way to handle the situation! And I do have to somewhat chuckle that the Togginator managed to convince her group to do exactly what she wanted to do. But only because I see myself in your exact same shoes when my oldest starts kindergarten. To say that she likes things "her way" and is rather persuasive to make things happen that way is an understatement...

Annie said...

Sounds just like someone else I know and love!!! Hehe!!! Good job TM!!

Sharie said...

WOWzer! She knows how to work a crowd. Sounds like you handled it well - I would have been tempted to intervene.
Yesterday Amelia got into it with her cousin. Her cousin was teasing her and Amelia was going nuts. I finally called her cousin upstairs and said, "she's tired - please stop because that whining is annoying." That was all it took. I didn't want to get involved but I couldn't take it anymore:) You are a better woman than I am.

Wanda said...

Amazing you had that much foresight to name her so appropriately - way back when.

Nice work Mom!

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

Due to her intense reasoning abilities, the Tongginator has been tentatively reassigned to a future in politics. . .Lord, help the other nations. : )

(and I think you handled it very well.)

Dawn said...

Good for you in your skillful handling of the situation. AND, good for Miss T - I'd much rather have a daughter who could do that kind of convincing (ok, maybe a *little* less of the drama!) than be a door mat that everyone walks on.

Jean said...

Great post!! Yes, she is a force to be reckoned with! She is a cutie with a lot of personality! I am going to have to follow your blog into her adulthood- I'll be in the nursing home with my laptop reading your blog on the tongginator and her sister! Looking forward to your #2! Do you think God would give you two little pistols??

Briana's Mom said...

Your girl is one tough cookie I tell ya. Funny stuff! I second that she will probably be in politics one day. Politician by day, jeweler by night. ;)

LucisMomma said...

Funny, our DD is the same way in the persuasive department. I have yet to see her wail first, but the determination is there.

That last photo is gorgeous.

Tonggu Momma Husband said...

Hopefully with time and maturity her skills of persuasion will evolve, because I don't think other leaders at the U.N. will have much patience for the "wailing and gnashing of teeth" melodrama which is my kids current strategy.

Myrnie said...

Oh boy.... you handled that well, but I'm over here cringing for MY daughter, when she pulls these stunts on her friends, and her friends are shocked I won't do anything about it! Good for you, Mama :) Social skills will come with age, right??

Wendy said...

I once had a kindergartner just like your daughter. She's 18 now and she's everything she was at 5--just with a lot of "extra" thrown in. Luckily, I somehow have managed to live through all this thus far with a modicum of sanity still intact (or at least that's I tell myself). Strong-willed, drama queens (mine is going to do it professionally, so that tells you what my life's been like!) will give you a run for your money, but boy, do they make strong, independent, self-reliant young women someday. Keep hope alive!

prechrswife said...

I like this quote from Wendy. " Strong-willed, drama queens (mine is going to do it professionally, so that tells you what my life's been like!) will give you a run for your money, but boy, do they make strong, independent, self-reliant young women someday." I think I will adopt it for our junior Tongginator. Boy, can I sympathize with this one!

Buckeroomama said...

Good for you for letting her and her friends sort out the situation.... Boy, what an outcome, eh? She'll go far, your girl. :)

Cavatica said...

Love it. I hope #2 is tough! I'm glad to hear other parents taking to this method well. I get a lot of nervousness when I suggest we let our kids work stuff out and I truly think, even at age 3, that they can, albeit primitively. I think that's the problem. Parents expect "adult" behavior. Then again when I read Tonggu Momma Husband's comment, I have to wonder how much wailing and gnashing of teeth melodrama goes on in the U.N.? That's it, I'm heading right over there to break it up and teach them some Kindergarten sensibility.

Janet said...

Tongginator for President!

The Source said...

I'm just gonna sit here laughing for a while, OK? Please advise Tonggu Grammy not to worry. I keep on telling you that the Tongginator is a miniature version of DD, right? Would you like to guess who called our local newspaper (the big one, mind you) and informed them that they needed her to work for them this summer?
As a videographer. Yep.

She also walked into school last week and told an assembly of 1300 teenagers that they were about to elect her Treasurer of the Student Body for next year. Because she said so.

Any speculations on the outcomes?

Miss T just knows what she wants...and how to convince everyone else that they want what she wants. That's an important skill!! She could be a high ranking politician one of these days.

CC said...

I have to say, I'm a little disappointed that after her tantrum she did end up convincing them. I'm a big fan of tantrum = too bad for you. Oh well, she is obviously persuasive!

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh my good heavens! That's hilarious...and SUCH a Miss T moment. Heh. *facepalm*

Chandra said...

Oh My Goodness! LOL!
Did you really think the fourth graders wouldn't give in to a Kindergartener? especially IF she is seriously crying? And making a scene? Look at those girls in the photo...they are putty in T's hands :) She has power! :)

Patty O. said...

Wow, I so need to use this technique myself. Every time I try, though, I end up giving in and getting involved. I must stop this!