The Baby or the Tiger

Don and I took the kids to The San Diego Wild Animal Park over Christmas vacation. As part of a special tour with two other families, we were allowed to go with a guide “behind the scenes” of the lion enclosure. What this really means is you get to go see the office where they take notes and look through glass at a concrete cage where they keep the lions when they are “off set.” We were all very excited when the tour guide looked in the room and said, “Oh! Good news, there is a tiger in here!” I was the first one to enter the room, and I looked through the first glass window where I was suddenly nose to nose with a Bengal tiger maybe twelve inches from my face. Self preservation being everything in this world, and thankfully instinctive, I jumped back and kept moving. It was incredibly humbling to be that close to a tiger, and she and I both understood that if the glass hadn’t been there I would have been tiger lunch. Don and I took the girls down the hallway (me moving quickly) to the second window to make room for the other people. The guide had mentioned that the tiger is usually very interested in the little kids, so I found it fascinating when the tiger saw Addie in Don’s arms. Then the tiger looked away for about thirty seconds, and I thought she had completely forgotten about Addie. Turns out La Tigre was totally messing with us. Before you could say Siegfried and Roy, the tiger lept sideways, jumping into the air and traveling the entire eight feet to the window to pound on the glass in front of Addie. No glass, no baby. Addie was very brave and tried not to cry, but she completely understood: tiger vs. man with glass, man wins; tiger vs. man, no glass, it’s the tiger every time. Top of the food chain. No question. Don’t even try. Adios. See you in the next life. Well, you get the idea. It was so scary watching the tiger try to eat my child, yet one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I mean, I’m super happy Addie didn’t get eaten and all, but the tiger was way cool.

Speaking of tigers… what is all this bruhaha about the Chinese Tiger Mom? If you haven’t heard about the new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, written by Amy Chua, it details the Chinese Mom method of parenting. Such as:
No sleepovers.
No plays or drama class.
Many hours practicing musical instruments whether you want to play them or not.
Nothing below an A is even the least bit acceptable.
People, and by people I mean American people, are really upset about this and my guess is they are feeling a bit criticized, which is making them defensive, which is making some of them behave stupidly and overreact. While I agree it is a tad extreme, it’s not all a bad idea. It has made me realize that Don and I don’t require enough of our children and are way too easy on them. We have let them quit activities way too soon. Ms. Chua asserts that things such as playing the piano become more fun as you become more proficient. I can actually attest to this. The first twenty years of ballet are the hardest! Don and I have always joked that our poor Chinese kid was going to be raised by American parents and lower the standard for Asian children in America. Happily, she is proving us wrong even with our lax American parenting. If I am being completely honest I have to admit the reason I can’t be a Tiger Mom is because I am way too lazy and selfish. For instance:
Musical instruments being practiced for four hours?
Who wants to listen to that?
No theater?
No sleepovers?
When would Don and I have sex?
Anything below an A?
I would have to help with homework and quiz for tests. No thank you. Uh uh. Adios. Not in this lifetime. Well, you get the idea.
So, I thought about changing, but instead decided the best thing to do is hire a Chinese Tiger Mom to raise my children. That way, everyone is happy. Except probably my children. But as a good Tiger Mom would say, “Who cares about that?”


  1. I have a better idea. Instead of hiring the Tiger Mom to raise one's kids, how about just hiring the tiger? 🙂 No more complaints about cleaning up their rooms or doing chores or studying homework. If kids failed to do what was expected of them, then it'd be as you said…tiger vs. man, no glass.

    Fun post. Nice job.

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