Noah has his first karate belt test tomorrow.
A "formality," really, since white and gold belts are still grouped together, skill-wise, in the same class. A "confidence booster," according to the instructor who called me and twisted my arm up out my gut instinct that Noah probably isn't ready and convinced me to turn in the test form (AND OH RIGHT THE $40 FEE) anyway.
"Eight to 10 classes" is all it typically takes to move from a white belt to gold. Noah's attended 12. Every other white belt is taking the test, and the next opportunity to move up isn't until three months from now. Okay! Okay. Fine.
And then: "Hmm, I dunno" from a different instructor on Monday, when I told him Noah was signed up. The attention issues, the inability to focus or look instructors in the eye, the non-stop wiggling and bouncing, all of it could, in fact, pose a little bit of a problem. He can do all the required moves at home, and one-on-one with an instructor when we've requested a bit of extra help. But the belt test isn't at home, or one-on-one, or even really, about the karate moves themselves. The first belt test is about self-control in the class setting.
"Sometimes a belt is something you grow into," the instructor helpfully went on. In other words, no, he's not really ready, but you know, maybe we can toss the poor kid a golden-colored bone and then hope it all sorts itself out with a few more classes.
Noah is so, so excited about the possibility of a new belt.
I am ready to throw the hell up.
Once upon a time, I'm sure I had an Opinion about kids and sports and everybody getting medals just for showing up. About parents wigging out because their preshus spechul snowflakes weren't automatically rewarded with success and straight-A's. About anyone who had a laundry list of "he can't help it" style excuses for their kid's less-than-awesome behavior (none of which had anything to do with their own parenting, oh noooo). About anyone who tried to shelter their children from the concept of failure of any kind.
Maybe I still do, to a certain degree, but right now: Oh please, please, please don't let my baby's little heart get broken tomorrow.