Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The normalizing

One of the things Grey and I promised each other back in January when we learned we were relocating to the Bay Area was we would start doing things normal people do. An odd statement given that "normal" can mean so many things, but after spending 4 years in crippling debt and somewhat stressful living situations, our normal had become defined as engaging in hobbies and extra-curricular activities.

To date, we've been somewhat successful. She-Beat is currently enrolled in a beginning ballet course, which she is both loving and doing very well at (the instructor has moved her up to the next level). After a month of massive bargaining and lots of reassurance, Grey finally got his bike out of the moving box from 3 years ago, had it reassembled & repaired and has started doing weekend rides along the local trails.

Two wins.

Which is why this week has been especially hard as after a lot of research and me shifting my work schedule, I enrolled He-Beat into a week-long morning soccer camp. And though day 1 seemed to go well, day 2 ended with him in tears and me pulling him from the rest of the morning session for the day.

I've been beating myself up all day since I dropped He-Beat back at school after the emotional morning. There's been so much focus on She-Beat over the past few months, all of which has been paying off as she's been making huge gains that have impressed even her teachers. But I know that with the focus on She-Beat, less focus has been on He-Beat. And the whole point of soccer camp was to give him something special that other kids his age tend to be involved in a way that is almost a given.

Hence I feel like not only have I failed at not properly preparing him, but we're actually souring him. Which sucks all the more as swimming lessons are also on the agenda this summer.

I'm hoping the coaches will respond to my email before tomorrow, because I honestly need advice on how to proceed tomorrow. How can I help this kid understand the importance of sharing the ball with others, waiting his turn and that the goal of practice play is to work with his team? Or am I asking too much from a not-yet 5 year old?


  1. Oh, my. Even normal things can be tough to navigate. Hopefully you'll find that the coaches are understanding of different places 5 year olds may be with respect to sharing the ball, taking turns, and teamwork. After all, they are there to TEACH all these things, right? So this means how do you help him through whatever switched him off on Day 2, and how might you help him switch himself back on?

    I'm thinking of you as you figure this out. I wish I had a more concrete answer.

  2. I think this actually is normal for this age. Try to give yourself a break. Talk to him - you are a good parent. Kids are unpredictable and team sports are tough. Tomorrow will be a better day.

  3. I think the whole team sports thing and sharing and taking turns is something that just comes with time. 4 years olds are so finicky...one day he maybe so really well with it and another day he might not. Some kids aren’t ready for that kind of thing until later...I know my own 4 year old is definitely not at a stage where I could put him in to a team sport and expect it to go well. That’s just him. So we do other things like swimming lessons, where taking turns is more obvious and concrete...the instructor can only get one kid off the wall at a time, and if he tries when it’s not his turn he will 1) sink and 2) get in trouble for breaking the rules. Soccer is tricky because there is running and kicking and I can see how a 4 year old would find it a free for all like just get the ball and not understand position boundaries. My nephew used to get bored and sit down on his end of the field and pick daisies, he had no interest in waiting. Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t seem like his thing...you will find something that is. Also keep in mind that although the same age, boys just tend to be less mature than girls, so while She-beat can thrive, He-beat might not, and that’s ok!! Maybe there is something you can find that requires less of turn-taking and waiting and more of getting to run around in the action with everyone.

  4. He-beat sounds like he is right where not quite 5 year olds should be. My almost 6 year old still has challenges with the same issues.
    Being a mom is rough. You're doing great!

  5. I'm glad that She-Beat is doing so well and loving ballet! And He-Beat...it is really tough to be the sibling of someone who requires so much extra attention, even as you know there's a reason for it (I have some experience with this myself). But the soccer camp thing sounds pretty typical from my friends who have littles who go to such things -- they have to adjust, they love it one moment and hate it the next, and they have to learn all the things, and it's not always the most pleasant, but going back to try again seems to be the thing that helps (and if it doesn't after a couple more tries, well then maybe soccer isn't his thing). Otherwise it's uncomfortable and they don't want to go and if they never go back, it's definitely soured. I am not really the best one to give parenting advice, but this comes from my friends who have had similar experiences with their young kids and organized activities. I wish you luck, and hope that it gets easier -- it's hard NOT to be hard on yourself, but I think you're being hard on yourself. Sending you love!


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