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Peter Wins a Tae Kwan Do Trophy

As a parent, I tend to assume that a child who takes after me in a certain way shares my flaws. This year, with Peter in the second grade, I've come to see that this is not necessarily the case. For example, Peter turns out to be a rather good speller. (I am a terrible speller. My inner voice that composes my best prose often spells phonetically.)

Peter has been taking Tae Kwan Do since last February and has been making good progress. He has some fine and gross motor delays for which he has been receiving physical and occupational therapy since he was four.

David's side of the family has pretty good coordination and a few real athletes; mine doesn't. In junior high, I played soccer and was always the worst player on the team. I was on swim team and accumulated Many third and fourth place ribbons (placing third or fourth out of three or four). Thinking back, I think I got a second place ribbon once, but I think there were only two of us swimming.

So yesterday was Peter's first Tae Kwan Do tournament. He was only signed up for one event: Board Breaking. All the kids were sitting inside the studio in a circle around the edge of the mats; parent were in the waiting room. The parents' waiting room was a real mob scene. There were chairs with a good view of the proceedings, but because I had Elizabeth in tow I had to hang out in the back and try to keep her from escaping out the door or lying down on the floor where she could get stepped on. Peter, at some point, became convinced that I had gone off and left him. By the time the lunch break came, he was in tears and wanted to go home because he thought I'd left. I was thinking that I'd made a mistake and maybe he wasn't really ready to compete and was regretting having signed him up.

I took him to the Japanese restaurant next door and fed him miso soup and sushi and assured him that I had not left him and would not leave and generally cheered him up. He had said he wasn't having a good time and wanted to go home but I convinced him to stay. Everybody gets a trophy at the end, and he really wanted to get a trophy, so he was convinced. I also reminded him that the real secret to board breaking was to believe the board was going to break when you hit it.

So we went back into the studio and eventually it came his turn and he broke his board on the second try and sat down again. Because of Elizabeth, I had not been able to pay much attention to the general proceedings. At the end, kids were called up to receive trophies. He was one of the earlier ones. I managed to take a picture of him with his trophy, but had not heard what was being said. I expected that it said something about "excellent participation" on it.

At the end, when he came out, he showed me the trophy and said "Mommy, I got second place." I looked at the trophy and sure enough it said 2nd Place. I said, "Wait here." I found his instructor and asked about it. I said, "Do all the trophies that don't say First Place say second place? Or did Peter really win second place?" His instructor assured me that Peter had really won second place and had done very well.

I am shocked and proud. Maybe he takes after David's side of the family after all. Or maybe he's just himself.