Monday, October 10, 2011


After over a month of almost non-stop rain around here, things finally dried out for a few days. It's amazing how much more interesting my life seems to be when I'm not constantly fighting to keep my hair from frizzing-out and my basement from flooding. So, what's been going on lately?

  • On Friday I went for a run after work. It's my first run in almost a month. Andy also decided to take advantage of the nice day so he took Michael for a walk. I just happened to come up behind them at the end of my run. They were walking along, holding hands and chatting. You know that scene where the Grinch's heart grows and sproings out of the x-ray frame? That's what my heart felt like when I saw them.
  • I'm a very quiet runner, so they had no idea I was behind them until I was right next to them. Michael startled a little, then burst into a fit of giggles over discovering me there as if I had poofed into existence. See above heart sproinging comment.
  • Speaking of giggles, on Thursday Michael and J were playing after school when one of them said "Timber!" They thought it was so funny that they spent the next ten minutes falling onto the sofa yelling "Timber!" and giggling away in fits. I ended up giggling as well because they were just so funny.
  • However, this morning Michael slouched over onto his side on the sofa and when I said "timber" he just shot me a look and said, "Timber is not really that funny anymore". Maybe not, but that response left me laughing.
  • With the nice weather, we actually got to spend a lot of time outside with the neighbors this weekend. At one point, Michael was playing with my neighbor's toddler, whom Michael has really struggled to be nice to all summer. (But mom, he keeps moving my stuff!) The little boy's dad walked away for just a moment, and if it was any other child, I wouldn't have gotten up to supervise them for all of two minutes. But, Michael has really been a jerk at times, so I figured I'd go supervise VERY CLOSELY. When I got there, Michael was drawing a picture of the boy and then wrote the little boy's name next to the picture and showed the boy. Again with the heart sproinging thing.
So, over all, the past week has been full of giggles and heart sproinging. Just the way I like it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Art of Not Getting It

Michael had soccer practice on Saturday morning. After the first practice - that resulted in two leg clinging, tear streaming, all out tantrums - this practice was more about learning to follow through with what you ask for than it was about playing soccer. Really, the last thing I wanted to do on a cold, rainy Saturday morning was sit on metal bleachers and watch a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds run around like maniacs. But, sometimes you have to suffer for the lesson.*

The surprising thing was that Michael was fine. He ran out when his name was called, picked up his new red shirt, and joined in the chaos with the rest of the kids. He even pointed out after the practice that there were no tears. Good for you, Buddy.

Watching the practice for an hour is surprisingly difficult. While the instructors in Micheal's karate class have kid crowd control down to a science, the college aged soccer coach leading Michael's group doesn't have a clue. There were about ten kids in the red shirt group, and maybe six of them were paying attention at any given time.

One thing I noticed was similar to what Desi noticed when volunteering in kindergarten. Boys are wiggly, much more wiggly than girls. There are two boys in Michael's group that cannot seem to stand still. They had their own little party going on, and it only tangentially had anything to do with soccer.

Michael is fidgety to, but not nearly as much as some of the other boys. While the kids were doing drills, Michael was actively paying attention and participating in the drills. He likes order, and follows directions pretty well. But, when they started to scrimmage, the coach lost about half of the kids. The girls all stood together waiting for something to happen. The two boys kept running off while their parents kept calling them back. The rest of the boys tried to score.

Then there was Michael. He stood in the middle of the field surrounded by the girls, but he didn't seem to notice anything going on around him. He had discovered something interesting on the ground, and kept digging at it with his cleats. I don't know what it was, but he was completely absorbed in smacking and dragging his foot against the ground. As Andy was calling to him to get him to play, Michael just kept going for the hole ignoring the soccer game that was going on around him.

As I watched him, I realized that he just wasn't getting it. He likes running around with other kids, but he was missing the entire point of soccer practice. Soccer is a game? It has rules? These ideas never crossed his mind.

Andy finally said something to me and I tried to help get Michael's attention so he might try to, you know, play soccer. The only problem was that I was so focused on trying to figure out what Michael was doing with his feet, that I completely missed which side he was supposed to be playing on.

Hmm...maybe the apple doesn't fall far from the tree?

Overall, it was a good practice. We went to the field house and got a hot dog when it was over, and then headed back to the car. On our way, I heard a little boy say "good-bye!" Michael didn't notice it at all, so Andy urged Michael to respond, which he did.

"Michael, did you recognize that boy from your group?" He asked as after the boy was gone.

Michael just sort of blew off the question while digging into his hot dog.

I'll admit it. I had no clue the boy was in his group. Even though I had watched them play for an entire hour. Oops.

*Yes, I realize it was a learning moment for me as much as it was for him.