Friday, May 30, 2008

Prakatissking Soccerball

I arrived at daycare yesterday to find Claire and 14 of her little classmates sitting on soccer balls.  They were staring at a smiling young man with the rapt attention usually reserved for story time.  After a few moments of instruction, the children started dribbling their balls.  "TURTLE!" the young man bellowed.  Claire slowed and gave the tiniest of kicks to her ball.  She had her head down, eye on the ball, and hands splayed out for balance.  "RABBIT!"  Her braids started bouncing as she started kicking the ball faster, but making no discernible progress forward.  After a few more animal rotations, they sat back down on their balls again.  Then, incredibly, each child took turns dribbling the ball toward a goal.  When it was Claire's turn, she took a long, slow dribble and then pow!  She used a kill shot to put the ball firmly in the corner.  Claire was flushed, tired, and immensely proud of herself.
Overcome with mommish pride, I ran over to give her a great big hug. I was absolutely shocked when she collapsed into my arms and sobbed her little heart out.  She wanted to run back over to the field and she wanted to stay in my arms.  She cried until her little red grubby face was almost clean.  She finally regained her composure when I pointed out that the other kids were getting hand stamps.  She bounced over to the line and held up her hand as if everything was suddenly right with the world again.  Puzzled, I went back to work. 
When I picked Claire up at the end of the day, all she could talk about was playing "soccerball."  She showed off her hand stamp to Jacob and his buddies.  She showed it off to random people in the street.  Then she showed Nick at dinner with a proud declaration, "I was prakatissking soccerball!"  Her caregiver told me that she ate a huge lunch and took a nap, both rarities. 
I picked up a brochure for the 8 week soccer program at the daycare center.  It's $80 for 8 weeks, which doesn't seem to be an unreasonable price.  But I'm torn.  Do I listen to the pride she showed?  Or do I listen to the tears?  She's got me stumped again.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Moving at the Speed of Life

Tomorrow, the kids are officially out of school and preschool.  Summer camps start on Monday.  Jacob is thrumming with excitement about camp this year.  He's planning to sign up for the library reading club, take a couple weeks of soccer camp, climb a mountain, finish his handwriting book, take my mixer out into the backyard and experiment, learn to swim, watch every episode of his favorite cartoon, and eat record amounts of hotdogs, watermelon, and popsicles.  For Claire, the difference between preschool and day camp is negligible but she's caught on to the excitement.
I'm amused by Jacob's plans.  I remember my childhood summers as being impossibly long and boring.  My sisters and I would mill around the house until my mother kicked us out into the yard with instructions to "find some kids and do something."  We'd retreat indoors during the heat of the day and drive Mom crazy with complaints of boredom.  Eventually, she'd either hand us a bucket and a box of Spic and Span or push us out the door again.  And then finally, when I couldn't stomach one more game of Red Rover, the fireflies would start sparking and another long, lazy day would end.
Now, while Jake is planning to fill his days from dawn until dusk, I am trying to figure out how to carve out some free time for myself.  The trouble with unplanned time is that it somehow always gets filled up with chores.  So I'm going to take a lesson from my son and make a list of things I want to do this summer. 
  • Make lemonade - the real kind.
  • Sign up for the adult reading club at the library and read enough books to win something.
  • Make myself two linen skirts and then wear them so that I can feel classy and summery at the same time.  At least until July comes when feeling classy gets lost in the sticky heat.
  • Hike!  At least 3 times and at least one afternoon-long effort.
  • Dine a la fresca at the pasta place that I drive by every single day.
  • Have a backyard waterballoon fight with the family and make sure that we all get drenched.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fight, Flight, and Two Possums

I was having a dream that I don't quite remember.  Even without the details, I remember that it was chaotic and upsetting.  I half woke sweltering, so I flung out the covers and rolled over.  That's when I saw a pale shape next to the bed.  I gasped.
"AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa"  Jake jumped, screamed, and took off running.  He kept screaming and kept running all over the house.  I could track his progress by the volume of the scream as well as the thumping bass note of his running feet.  I will never understand how a fifty pound child can make so much noise. 
The instant Jake fled from my terrifying gasp, Nick started awake and vaulted out of bed.  He chased Jake into the living room, back into the bedroom, out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, and finally back into the bedroom again.  Nick scooped Jake up, carried him back to bed, and tucked him in all before I'd managed to shake off my stupor and get out of bed.  By the time I'd padded across the hallway to the children's room, Jake was asleep again.  Claire had never even gotten out of her bed.  Clearly, Claire and I do not have the survival instincts of the men in our family.