Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mummy dearest - the dubious Top 10

Post no.100! I can't believe I've found so much to talk about.

The 100th post should be a memorable one so I've decided to compile a Top 10 list (I just love me lists!) This might be considered controversial and could get me on the blacklist of some parents, but I couldn't resist.

This is a Top 10 list of the type of nightmare parents who make me squirm. When I meet any of them, I immediately devise a getaway plan. I'm pretty sure you'll recognise some, if not all of them.

1. The "Ain't she sweet" Parent

This is the teacher's nightmare. Basically, this child can do no wrong in his parent's eyes. If she's throwing a tantrum, she's just "sensitive". If she's beating up other kids, she's "active". When she says something rude, the parent laughs it off as if it's the most amusing thing ever. And if any teacher dares to reprimand the child, she'll get, "I tell my father!" followed by an earful from the parent and a threatened lawsuit.

2. The "Kiasu competition sure win" Parent

Most Singaporean parents (me included) are kiasu to some extent. But this one will do anything to get ahead. (The father who took the exam for his son probably falls under this category!) This parent, when reading my post on why coaching for GEP is unethical, will immediately think, "Wah, got coaching for GEP! Where?" The motivation to get ahead can even inspire downright rude behaviour. He is the one who shoves his kids into the lift without letting people out first, lets them cut queues, and encourages them to hide library books so other kids can't find them.

3. The "See no evil, hear no evil" Parent

You can sense the presence of this parent even before you spot her because her kids will be screaming at impressive Mariah Carey pitches and hurtling in between legs and toys at the department store. And when you spot her, you're likely to find her nonchalantly standing at the side, oblivious to the flustered salesperson and other disapproving parents. In fact, she's probably even on her cell phone, having a leisurely conversation with her bff (best female friend).

4. The "Anything yours can do, mine can do better" Parent

This parent has enrolled his child in a competition with all other kids. The problem is, the competition is in his head and nobody else is participating. If your kid can draw a car at age 3, his can draw a mountain bike complete with Lance Armstrong. If you say your kid has 10 friends, he'll say his has 15. If pushed hard enough, you can probably get this parent to say his kid turned down a personal invitation by NASA to fly a space shuttle.

5. The "Mine can't do anything (but still managed to thrash yours)" Parent

Actually, this parent annoys me even more than the previous one because he's equally competitive but pretends not to be. He'll say something like "oh, she's very lazy" or "she's not very bright", then later manage to drop in the conversation that she topped her class. You can easily recognise these two types of parents in that they're never happy about your kid's achievements but they always expect you to applaud theirs.

6. The "Whack you upside-down" Parent

While most parents on this list can be said to be over-indulgent or over-protective, this one is the opposite. You can often spot this one in a public place, bellowing and wagging a finger at a child who's completely cowed. Often for a misdemeanour as minor as forgetting to bring his water bottle. This one makes me cringe because I usually end up feeling so sorry for the kid who is being humiliated.

7. The "You can't do anything good enough" Parent

The child of this parent also has my sympathy because she's always trying to please but nothing she does is ever good enough. Aiyoh, this parent has standards higher than the Chrysler Building. If the child comes home with 7 As and 1 B, the parent will harp on the B. Getting a "well done!" out of this parent is harder than getting a penguin to fly.

8. The "Chao kwan" Parent

This parent has the hide of a rhino. He doesn't care who he has to bulldoze to get what he wants because he feels the rules don't apply to him. This is the parent who will ask for contacts or learning resources but never shares his. He is the one who, at the Parent-Teacher meeting, will hog the teacher's time for 45 minutes, conveniently disregarding the long line of disgruntled parents behind him.

9. The "Blow-by-blow account" Parent

This parent is so enamoured by her child that she's obliged to share every minute detail of his existence with you. "He's so cute when he's asleep, he makes a soft 'ff-pff sound when he breathes!" By the time she's 10 minutes into her son's bowel habits, you start thinking that migration probably isn't so bad if it gets you away from her permanently.

10. The "Sugar and spice" Parent

This parent is similar to the previous one in that she's equally enchanted by her child, but the irritant is not in the details but the bucket of saccharine she pours onto her stories. She calls her kid "sweetie pie" or "honey bunny", she never loses her temper, and he's always unbelievably angelic. Her life appears to be like something out of a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon. Too much time spent with this parent and you run the risk of gagging from a sugar overload.

This list is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, I hope I've not offended anyone. And if you are offended, then chances you're one of those parents, in which case I don't really need to know about it. (Really! I don't! Please don't email me to scold me.)

At any rate, we're all probably a little of each of these types at some point, like if I meet an "Anything yours can do, mine can do better" parent, after a while, I feel the inexplicable urge to start declaring my child's achievements.

Nobody's perfect, so let's just laugh at ourselves ok?


Lilian said...

This is my favourite post by far! It's so funny especially when you realise that description kind of fits you, YIKES! Then you try to convince yourself, Noooooo, I'm not thaaaaat baaaad. Er, chances are, you are. Your list may be an extreme caricature of Singapore parents, but we all definitely have some of these traits.

There's another kind of parent... when you visit, gives you no chance for escape and proceeds to have her child (who's usually equally enthusiastic) perform her piano piece, ballet dance, getai-style singing, or makes you sit through her kid's latest kindergarten concert videos, yes, the entire 2-hour borefest.

More Top 10 list please! And thanks a bunch for this one.

monlim said...

Getai-style singing, hahahaha!! Yes, I know that type very well. And throughout the entire 2-hrs, the parent will give you running commentary and you feel obliged to keep saying "so cute", "so clever". Aaacckkk (that's me gagging).

PS Remind me to hide my kids' piano books when you come visit...

bACk in GERMANY said...

Wow... this one is an award-winning Top 10-list of poignant delight! Absolutely luuuuurve this post! Brilliant! My fingers are still jittery from all the laughing.

Love how you satirize all our annoying traits - like ermm, do you live with us or what? ... Indeed, he who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at!

I second Lilian's sentiments. Yes, more Top 10 lists please!

eunice said...

Wah... yet another hilarious post that also hits the nail on the head!!! I've met all those parents and recognise meself in 1 or 2 (won't say which).More! more! more!

Anonymous said...

This is today's best medicine. Had a bad morning so this is good dosage... :D Anyway, I agree that most people are a few of the listing of characteristics in the top ten, never just one! Nobody's perfect...I am sure I fit somewhere. haha My only strategy when I meet parents like this is to bear with it and learn more of the ugliness so that I can ensure I don't do the same. Also, I try not to be bothered by what others do, not that I don't care about children but I believe parenting also needs to undergo a process of growing up. Some parents are still big kids themselves. heehee


monlim said...

I'm so glad you ladies enjoyed it! Yup, being able to laugh at ourselves makes for a less stressful life!

More Top 10 lists? See how lor, whether inspiration strikes... I'm not quite Letterman leh...

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