Tales of a 3rd Grade Schlub

By: Shannon Ralph

My son, Lucas, has never been one to participate in a lot of extracurricular activities. In preschool, we signed him up for soccer. It was a disaster. He grabbed the ball and refused to let go. He ran around in circles screaming “Mine! Mine! Mine!” and crying hysterically. He was not exactly a team player. When he was in kindergarten, we tried to get him to join the Lego Club. He had no interest. In 1st grade, we tried to introduce him to the Science Club. Nope. Not a lick of interest. In 2nd grade, we suggested the Chess Club. Again, he expressed a tiny bit of interest until he discovered that the Chess Club meets after school. Immediately, his interest waned. After school, Lucas wants to do nothing but come home, crash on our couch, and pollute his brain with television and/or video games.

This year, Lucas is in 3rd grade. We didn’t even try. We gave up on athletics years ago when Lucas was a mere toddler. He has absolute zero interest in—or talent for—athletics. Plus, athletics implies a modicum of outdoorsiness. Lucas is the antithesis of “outdoorsy.” As a matter of fact, he once had a butterfly land on his shoulder and you would have thought that it was a vulture trying to carry him off, with the way he screamed and squealed and carried on. We didn’t even mention the Lego Club or the Science Club or the Chess Club to our indoors-loving, video-gaming, pale, pasty schlub of a son.

So imagine my absolute surprise when, out of the blue, Lucas is finding extracurricular activities he is interested in this year. All on his own. My son recently joined the Metropolitan Boys Choir. His music teacher at school recommended him and, rather than recoil in terror, Lucas actually expressed interest. The choir does not meet after school, but they do rehearse for two hours every Saturday morning….right smack dab in the middle of Lucas’s usual Saturday morning cartoon fest. And he willingly, and of his own accord, chose to join the choir. We were thrilled! Never mind that it involves monthly tuition. And fundraisers. And 30 minutes of practice a day. And numerous “volunteer opportunities” for his mommas. Never mind that I had just breathed a sigh of relief over the end of Girl Scout cookie season. My son had joined a group of his peers—albeit, a pale, pasty, dorky group—of his own volition. I was one proud momma.

Yes, I was excited about Lucas’s new-found social prowess. That is, until yesterday. Now I think we are approaching a slippery slope. A dangerous, slippery slope that threatens to engulf us all. Yesterday, Lucas brought home a gigantic piece of blue display board. Hmmm….what’s that about?

Well, let me tell you what that is about. My son has decided to—voluntarily and without requirement—participate in his school’s annual Science Fair. What the hell?! As if he does not have enough homework on a regular basis, I now must assist him in coming up with, implementing, and documenting a science project. I. Me. The woman who has pretty much zero free time as it is. So what did I do when I got home from work yesterday? I spent an hour and a half on the internet helping Lucas come up with a science fair project suitable for a 3rd grader. What about his contribution? All I got was “Hmmm….ummm….let me see….magnets are cool. Or maybe space?” Yep. That’s the Lucas we all know and love.

So…this week I will be volunteering for the Metropolitan Boys Choir’s annual Spring Concert and Silent Auction. Next week I will be standing next to Lucas at the Hale Science Fair as he explores the question: Which is stronger—Gravity or Magnetism?

I think I prefer Schlubby Lucas to Socialite Lucas.

(On a related note, what exactly does it say about me that I think a boys’ choir and a science fair are the activities of a socialite? Geez…my social standards have dwindled.)

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