My first sparring with Mr. Dodgers

"Hey, little man, look at me, look at me straight in my eyes," I bent down my waist so my face was at the same level as Didi's, "I want you look at me, and listen, okay?"

Didi's glance slipped around for a few seconds and located my face. He looked at me attentively.

"Good," I nodded, "Now, little man, I want to listen to me, okay?"

"Okay." He nodded back, sensing that I was being serious.

That was a slightly chilly October morning; somehow, that year, the Santa Ana season either ended early or got postponed so mid October felt more like November. With both arms, I seated little Didi on the changing bench outside the training area of Chief Master Ferrari's karate studio and looked at him steadily and firmly in the eyes so that he understood that Mom meant business.

"Little man, here's what I need you to do. I need you to... I need you to muster all the energy you can and stay focused, understand? Because this is going to be the last......"I stressed the word "last", "yes, the very last Karate lesson that you'll take, "I gave him a confirming look, "Mom will be with you on the mat, and let's do good, let's do real good so that big meanie can see you can do good, okay?" I took a breath, "that big meanie threatened to kick you out if you don't do good today then let's show him you can, okay? And guess what, we don't need his big paw to kick you out; you do good and mom will give him a big yell and we'll quit! We'll kick his b...... I mean, his somewhere and tell him 'WE ARE DONE', okay?" At that time Didi still couldn't understand "do well", so I used language he could understand and swallowed down the word that wasn't the most suitable for a 4 year old.

The little man's eyes enlarged. He got the notion that he would be free from Karate after that class apparently and nodded very hard.

I looked at myself; in an adult karate suit that I only wore once before -- super white, super clean, but somehow, a little sad.

"Now let's take off our socks and go," I said, "actually, let's smell and see whose socks stink worse."

I thought that would be our last Karate lesson but I was wrong. If you're geared all up and ready to give someone a really good yell but that someone doesn't show up, then inevitably, you would have to go again next time.

For that specific class, Mr. Dodgers, aka., the big meanie in my mind at that time, did not show up.  We took the lesson with Master Swallow. My little man kept his promise; he behaved superbly well throughout the lesson; from time to time, I can feel the half surprised and half impressed glances from Master Swallow.

I wasn't surprised that he was half surprised and half impressed at all, because that's what it was meant to be. In fact, I was half surprised and half impressed as well.

Please visualize: A woman fully dressed in super white, super clean, brand new karate suit, sit right next to a group of half sleep, half awake 5 year olds in karate suits; the little ones rubbing their eyes off the early morning sleepiness, I had tears in my eyes. The little ones (aka. my fellow students for that class)' parents were neatly seated on the waiting bench, who usually rubbed their cell phone screens through the class, found themselves something else to look at.

Yes, it felt awkward; but somehow, it also felt good in a strange way. Didi had been in this Karate studio for about one year and was consistently and persistently the funniest, the least attentive, and the slowest to learn. Quoting Nini, his sister with a sigh, "Mom, look, Didi is the class clown." I would respond, "Well, at least he gets attention from others, right?" But my heart hurts every single time when it took seemingly forever for Didi to learn something that other kids could learn within seconds and he  still couldn't do it properly; and that hurts really bad. Really, bad. It kinda  felt like my heart was sliced into pieces slowly with someone spraying salt water on it. Yes, it's that bad; and anyone who hasn't been through similar experiences probably would never feel it; and that's lucky for them.

Didi did super well that morning but too bad, Mr. Dodgers, the big meanie with his big, yucky paws, weren't there to see.

What a disappointment!

Dear Mr. Dodgers, if you have been following this page and wonder what's next, let me clarify that this delay is intentional so that you can get a similar feeling over "If your brother doesn't follow one more time, I'll kick him out!" The most annoying thing is the suspense, right? I.e., you know I'm probably going to write some nasty words about you, yet you don't know exactly what nasty words I'll write, and that suspense is even worse than the nasty words themselves, right? :))))) LOL---- Well, please behave yourself and do hold the standard firm for Didi this week during testing (and if he fails, he fails) and I'll continue, okay? Remember, no son of mine ever needs suger-coating, no daughter of mine ever needs sugar-coating, and of course, no mom of son of mine and daughter of mine ever needs sugar-coating! :D Have a nice day!

Well, good Saturday morning readers, hope you're all doing fine. The latest Beta version of Grammery has something called a "tone checker", which detects "how your text sounds to your readers". To my amazement, despite all the nasty words I used on this page, the "tone checker" reported a "friendly" tone with happy smiley face. Well, I guess I'll keep going this way then. :) I admit that I don't take the time to fix all the things Grammerly finds; since please, I've been out of school for a long while and there's, thank goodness, no need to write any essays now.

So back to the feud between me and Mr. Dodgers, actually, the bad blood wasn't built in one day.

People say first impressions last and they're #$%^ right.  But the interesting thing  is that few people ever talked about "second impressions." In other words, what would happen if someone leaves you a terrible first impression and then an even more terrible second impression?

Well, Mr. Dodgers apparently managed to do so.  I actually think I did the same to him so we're evened out.

So this is my very first encounter with Mr. Dodgers. I'm not sure if he still remembers it since he had a lot of students that day but I surely remember it well.

So Chief Master Farreri's karate studio has a "family membership program" that enables a family to pay a fixed monthly membership fee; this way, the parent(s) can also take Karate lessons. 

Our initial intention was simply to get Didi enrolled and really his sister was learning Karate to help him out. (Actually it's still the same now and Nini and I share a common goal to help Didi get his blackbelt one day, no matter how long that takes. Lucky little dude, isn't he? Not many men have two women learning Karate just for him I guess.)

So when the front desk lady encouraged me to leverage my membership and take Karate lessons w/ the kids, I hesitated for quite some time but finally decided to do so. After all, it's free and it looks kinda fun.

My first lesson was with Mr. Dodgers. Oh my, how he ruined my day!

To be continued...