Thursday, January 27, 2011

How I Became a Soccer Mom

I have long believed that children shouldn't start organized sports until 2nd grade or so. Yes, that was when I was first able to begin playing, but I think my reasoning is about more than an "it was good for me, it's good for them" mentality.

Honestly, I'm not sure children are really capable of playing organized sports before that age. There are certain natural developmental stages it seems they need to go through first.

Having said that I've understood and applauded people who put younger kids in organized sports for socialization reasons (there are many kids out there who don't have many opportunities to be around other children) or for health reasons (there are plenty of kids who don't get enough exercise).

However, I felt strongly that my children wouldn't play organized sports until a few years into elementary school. And several years ago, I was pleased to read an article in "Parents" magazine that supported my position. Since my husband is a sports lover whose older kids played sports young, I figured that article would be good ammunition when the conversation arose. (Too bad I don't know where that article is!)

Honestly, I simply didn't think my kids needed organized sports at a young age. After all, they are in fulltime daycare on top of which they spend many hours at different church activities and in the church nursery. If they need anything it's more time at home.

And they are both active...neither one doing much walking once they learned to run. In fact the five-year-old gets on the scale every day hoping to weigh in at 40 lbs and move to a booster seat. But, what he doesn't realize (and what I won't tell him) is that he needs to stop burning calories for that to happen. Instead, he celebrates being 37.8 pounds...again and again. If they need anything it's to learn to sit still.

So, with my firm beliefs in hand...tonight we went to the five-year-old's first soccer practice.

And I became a soccer mom.

And even though I still think there's some absurdity in it, I delight in my son's excitement. I have smiled every day for the last two weeks when he has checked again and again to make sure he knew that his first practice was on Thursday, the 27th. I celebrated with him when I picked him up from daycare, ready to head to the Y.

And, I must say, there's nothing cuter than that 37.8 pounds of five-year-old kicking a soccer ball carefully and eagerly through orange cones or high-fiving his dad after kicking it into the goal.

So, not only am I a soccer mom...but I celebrate it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It was 2 a.m.

2 a.m. in a night that had already been long.

The almost-three-year-old had been in bed with me since 11 p.m. Tossing and turning one minute...kicking and hitting the next...sleeping fitfully in between.

At 2 a.m. he awoke again, this time in a rage. He didn't want to be comforted. He began hitting and kicking. He wouldn't stop. There was no comforting him...not talking him out of it. So, I removed myself from this situation by putting him in his room.

As I walked back across the hall I heard things beginning to be thrown. Thankfully they were soft things...pillows, blankets, stuffed animals. He cleared his bed.

Once cleared he moved on to the toys. A football went flying. (Thank you Nerf for being soft enough not to damage) Again I heard his hands among the toys until he secured his next weapon. In the darkness I saw the outline of my sweet baby boy. He stepped out of his room...he was in the hall...he was coming toward me...his arm reached back and I knew what was about to happen. Whatever he had in his hand was being thrown at me. I was ready to dodge. Thankfully it was only a small plastic ball not a large metal truck.

It was 2 a.m. I was calm...amazingly even in my sleepiness none of this riled me just hurt my heart.

I wasn't sure what else to do...he didn't want to be calmed by me.

So, I picked him up, reminding him sternly that throwing things at people was not allowed, and carried him to his sick daddy who was sleeping in the other room trying to keep his germs contained. Feeling bad about awaking my sick husband, still I did it. "Honey, I'm sorry, but I don't know what to do with him. You're going to have to take him."

With that I returned to my bed, knowing the little one would be cared for, hoping for sleep.

But sleep didn't come easily. Rather than being able to just relax and rest, I couldn't help but think of him...wonder.

He hasn't been feeling well...does he need to go the doctor?

Sometimes I'm exactly what he needs to be comforted, sometimes it just doesn't do I know which time is which?

His brother went through a really difficult phase right when he turned that what's going on now?

I love him, I'm not mad, I just don't know what he needs...does he know that I love him? does he feel abandoned? does he know what he needs?

As I continued to hope for sleep my last thoughts lay not with my child but with God. How does God do it? So often we are like a three-year-old. So often we are pushing away that which we need most. So often we are challenging the love that just wants to embrace us, to calm us. So often we demand separation when what we need to closeness. And yet God's love is continues...always.

And so does mine. That little child cannot hit or kick or cry or scream or throw fits or throw trucks enough to get me stop loving him. It's not possible. I learned that from God.

And at 7 a.m. when he awoke, it was with a smile and a hug. A little boy wanting a little love from his mommy. A mommy glad to give it.