Nothing like a little Florida sunshine for spring break! This year, like last, we find ourselves in Destin, Florida, soaking up a lot of sun, enjoying the beach and getting a lot of much needed R&R. We are here with a bunch of our friends and yesterday, 12 of us headed out to do some golfing at a nice little par 3 course called The Golf Garden. This was the first time I have taken Christopher out for a round of golf and I am proud to say he did really well! He was getting under the ball and managed to hit it up on the green from the tee a couple times! A couple things he will need to work on before he hits the grown-up course though…his putting (which can ALWAYS be difficult) and his driving skills. I let him drive the cart most of the way but he managed to roll it over a wood path guide on the 7th hole, effectively freaking him out a little bit. But we rolled it off and got back on course without any issues! Here are some pictures of our day with our friends Jax & his dad, Doug. We had a great time and then went out for some wings after. It was an afternoon I will never forget!
Lately, the naughty word around our home has been “IPhone.” Just so you know, EVERYONE has one…EXCEPT for Christopher. Last summer, Steph & I got Christopher a phone so that if he were to be out riding his bike with his buddies or needed to get a hold of us, he would have one. Unfortunately, I wasn’t THINKING that his phone was gonna be a status symbol for coolness. I was THINKING he would use it to COMMUNICATE with us if he NEEDED us. So obviously this was short-sightedness on my part.
So for the past 2 months, all I’ve heard is, “Daaaaaaaaaaad…can I get an IPhoooooooone?” and “Daaaaaaaaaad….everyone ELSE has an IPhooooooooone…why can’t I get one?” Well…let’s see…let me count the reasons WHY Christopher can’t have an IPhone…
1. He already has a phone (as mentioned) and I’m not paying to break a contract with AT&T that will lead to me paying some ridiculous cost for a phone AND a new contract.
2. He has an ITouch…which has a shattered front because he dropped it and now THAT needs to be replaced.
3. The ITouch he has now replaced the FIRST ITouch he was given which he lost.
4. He SEES his friends at school, at practice, around the neighborhood ALL THE TIME. If we moved to Seattle and he wanted to keep in contact with his friends via Facetime (which he has on the ITouch) or there was some other truly inspirational reason WHY a 10-year old boy needs an IPhone specifically to be able to be a 10-year old boy that is not simply “because it’s cooler than a flip phone,” then MAYBE I would consider it. Be that as it may, at this point in his young life, I’m not buying it.
So WHY don’t I want my son to be the coolest kid on the block? Well…it has more to do than just money actually. Honestly, I could care less what kind of phone Christopher has as long as when I call him, he answers. This, however, has been a problem. Because normally when I DO call his phone, it’s sitting on the counter in our kitchen or is at the bottom of his backpack set on vibrate or it’s at his friends’ house where he left it last night. 9 times out of 10, when I call the 10 digits that are my son’s phone number, I get an answering machine. And THAT drives me CRAZY!!!!!
Why does he HAVE a phone if he isn’t gonna answer it? Obviously, today we use our phones for a lot more than just calling people. I use mine to text, to take pictures, to keep my calendar, to play games to whittle away the time. There are multiple uses for a phone anymore and the IPhone, despite some downward trending on Wall Street, is the big daddy of them all. I have a 64 gig phone that I keep thousands of songs on, some movies, all of my contacts and who knows how many apps that I never use but they are free so I own them anyways. Obviously I have a reason to have an IPhone! But the NUMBER ONE reason I have a phone? Is so that if there is a problem, if one of my kids are sick at school, if my wife’s car breaks down on the side of the road, if a friend needs me to pick him up at the airport, if my Mom wants to chat about her daily medicine intake, if an employer wants to hire me for a job…ANY of the above things…I have a phone that I can magically pick up and talk to them. NOT for my music, not for sending hearts and kisses to my wife via text, not for snapping photos of my feet in my hotel room watching tv. No…it DOES serve a purpose and that is for communication.
So when I call my son while I’m waiting to pick him up in the school pickup line and I can’t reach him and I have to go around the line again because I don’t know where he is? Yeah…THAT’S irritating. When I call my son when he’s over at a friends’ house to tell him we need him to come home for dinner and as I dial the phone rings on the kitchen counter? Yeah…that’s annoying. When his friends want to video chat while he’s doing his homework and can’t seem to concentrate on the difference between “they’re, their or there?” Yeah…THAT is NOT what I got the phone for.
So I’d like to apologize to Christopher but I am not footing the bill for an IPhone at this time. However he MAY leave a message after the beep and I’ll get back to him at a later date.
This is a post for my children. Someday, I hope they are reading through the massive amounts of writings that I have done through the years and come across this and realize a few things…
This morning, I woke up, poured myself some coffee and watched my wife, your mom, as she was preparing your school lunch. She had already been up for about 45 minutes and had already gotten a shower as she was getting ready to go to work at 8am. It was 7:05. I asked her if I could help get your lunches ready and she told me I could make the sandwiches if I wanted to do something. As I was making your turkey & cheese sandwich with mayo, mustard and lettuce sandwich on hawaiian rolls (she was VERY specific about this), I noticed that she was also preparing you a side salad with carrots and a little cup of dressing that she was putting in little Tupperware cups, vegetable soup that she had made from scratch and was heating up on the stove, a small bowl of strawberry jello that she had made and a snack bar. I note the contents of what she packing because, quite honestly, if it had been ME packing your lunches, you would have gotten a peanut butter & jelly sandwich on regular white bread, some potato chips, maybe some grapes and a juice box. I MIGHT have POSSIBLY used wheat bread (if I’d seen it in the bread drawer first) but a SALAD with SOUP that I had made from SCRATCH? Not a chance.
Sounds like an average morning so…my point to this is?
Well…it’s not that your mother loves you more than I do. We both love you equally. However your mother goes ABOVE & BEYOND when it comes to taking care of you and she loves you so much that she will take the time to make sure you have the best she can give you. And this isn’t just in the case of just your lunch box either. Your Mom works harder at making sure that you have a great childhood than I have ever done in your short time here on this planet. Despite what you may think of her sometimes, there is no one who will do the things that she does to make your life as good as it can be. I’ve watched her. I’ve seen her struggle with you over your homework. I’ve seen her bust her butt to make sure she can get you, Christopher, from practice then to a game, pack you a bag of clean clothes so you can change, make sure someone can take you home, run to the store to get a gift so that she can take you, Ava, to your friend’s house for a birthday party, drive across town so that she can get something from someone for some charity engagement she has that night, drive back to get Christopher from the game, take you home to get a shower, take you to your friend’s house to play for a while then go get you, Ava, from the party, drop you off at another friend’s house then go home, change, and then go to a meeting, etc & so forth. Just WRITING this is exhausting to me, so DOING it sounds like a nightmare! But she does it and she doesn’t say a word about it to either of you.
Your mom makes sure you have what you need and gets you to where you need to go to get it. She makes sure that you understand all the things that are happening in your life. She is concerned about your future. She worries about you when you’re unhappy. She takes care of you when you’re sick. She has never once complained about doing ANY of these things. When I get frustrated when you whine about someone not passing you the ball during the game or dealing with having to make you something for breakfast that’s NOT cereal (seriously…what is WRONG with just eating cereal for breakfast?!?!), she will take the time to listen, she will make you eggs, she will understand your logic and make it all work.
My point is this…love your mother. Unequivocally. Don’t ask questions. Don’t talk back. Don’t take her for granted. Don’t think for a second that you can live without her. Because I’m here to tell you…you can’t.
I’m a a 44-year old man and I still have an undying love for my Mom. She did for me exactly what your mother is doing for you today and she has never asked me for anything more than a hug and a kiss before I leave her home. Your mother will be the same way. Live your life, enjoy it! But don’t EVER think you got it for free. Your life was not free. Your mother gave you your life. She gave birth to you, she cares for you, she loves you and when the shit hits the fan, she is gonna be there to help you get through it. Will dad be there? Of course I will. But trust me, MY take on things will always be peanut butter & jelly to her turkey & cheese sandwich with mayo, mustard and lettuce sandwich on hawaiian rolls. And it’s in THOSE details where you will find that she matters the most. I’m not belittling the things that I do for you. Trust me, I know my role. But it’s your Mom who is the angel on the top of your tree and so any time you think it will be okay to mouth off, be disrespectful, complain about the little things that don’t really matter, I want you to think of ALL of the things your mother does for you and I want you to reflect on those things.
Peanut butter and jelly will get you through, but turkey & cheese sandwich with mayo, mustard and lettuce sandwich on hawaiian rolls with homemade soup, salad and jello are the things that make your life special. Treat your mother with respect, love her as much as your heart will give and NEVER take her for granted. This matters very much to me because if you don’t understand that, then I have failed you as a father. Love your mother with all of your heart and your life will be greater than you know. Trust me when I tell you…mine has been.
Love you both,
Let me tell you…I HATE missing holidays with my family. HATE is a strong word but when I have to miss one of my favorite holidays? Yeah…HATE would be the appropriate term. So this year, I was in San Diego while my kids were trudging around our little town, collecting goodies and having fun. The weather wasn’t cooperating apparently. It was cold and crappy and so I was told there wasn’t a lot to miss but still…
I love Halloween! Not as much as Thanksgiving but maybe a little more than Christmas and a LOT more than Sweetest Day (which is a made up holiday!!!). Anyway…here are some photos of the kids as they trudged. The best part about all this is that I didn’t have to walk around in the rain and I still get to reap some of the winnings while the kids are in school!
It’s not easy being 10, I imagine. When I was 10, I didn’t have the kind of pressure Christopher has on him these days. He’s in 5th grade and has homework and sports and friends and family and…well…maybe my life wasn’t THAT different, when I look at it that way…but yeah! He has it a LOT different than I did and I’m trying to adjust. What do I mean by ME trying to adjust? Well…
When I was 10, I don’t remember having the amount of homework that he has. I’m sure I had homework, but I don’t remember it taking me 2 hours to complete and then 20 minutes of reading time at the end of my day.
When I was 10, I wasn’t the starting quarterback for a football team. When I was 10, I wasn’t even playing basketball yet! Christopher has been playing sports since he was 4! So he has had THAT going on for well beyond when I got started.
When I was 10, I didn’t have a pack of friends to compete with. For me, living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, being able to have a single friend over to play was a treat. For Christopher, it’s normal for him to have 3 or 4 friends over at any given time. And they are all in sports. All the time. So it’s very competitive around here day in & day out.
When I was 10, my Dad was home every weekend. Christopher’s dad is not. Not making any excuses…just sayin’.
So there are a LOT of differences between my son and I at his age. But the most glaring difference is just how much faster he has had to grow up. I don’t know what it is…I can’t quite put my finger on it…but chatting with him the other day, it seemed almost as if he was 15. He has so much to learn and yet he is WELL above where I was when I was a preteen. I don’t know if it’s technology, or where he lives, or his schooling, or his mother or what. But when we have a really good conversation, I realize that he a lot smarter, a lot more athletic and a lot more advanced than I ever was.
I hear a lot about education and our social environment. There are a lot of things to worry about when you’re a parent. One of the things I worry about the most is that my kids are growing up in a society filled with pressure. Pressure to perform at the highest level in school, in sports, at home, with his friends. I want him to not feel that pressure. I want him to take his time growing up, to enjoy NOT having pressure. Unfortunately, I think it is in our culture now that kids his age have to grow up faster in order to stay ahead of the curve. Gone are the days of easy living in Mayberry. Now it’s all about getting ahead, being stronger, bigger, faster! The schedule my kids keep is exhausting to me. Just looking at their schedule gives me the shakes. It’s crazy but they both seem to enjoy it that way, especially Christopher who is besides himself whenever he has to stay in the house due to weather or illness. Today he received this note from one of his teachers…
Like any proud parent, I gush over this because a lot of times, I worry that he is falling behind. But he’s not. I imagine he is right on pace with all the other kids his age and doing very well for himself. He might not grow up to be an astro-physicist but he is doing a lot better than I did at his age, I’m sure. And who knows? The sky is the limit these days. I just hope he can keep his demeanor and his wit as time goes by. Don’t let things get to him and keeps a level head, even as the world seems to be exploding around him. He’s a great kid, an awesome son and one of the best friends anyone could ask for and it seems that as much as I worry about him…he’s doing A-okay on his own. He seems to be taking life in stride and, at his age, that’s really all I could ask for.
You remember the storyline of “Toy Story 3,” right? If not…let’s recap. Woody and his pals are put in a box and are ready for the junkheap because their “boy”, Andy, is all grown up and has no need for them. That is the premise and there are great adventures and eventually, the toys find their way back to Andy for an emotional ending.
Cue to MY house.
I decided it was time for spring cleaning. Had to happen because BOTH of my kids had been neglecting their rooms and, quite frankly, they were a disaster. Also our downstairs living room (which doubles as a kids playroom) had apparently been hit by a tornado so…dad went to work. And as always, there were casualties. The random Happy Meal toy…GONE! A stick from some backyard adventure…GONE! A couple hairbands with strands of hair attached…GONE! A Barbie shoe without a double…GONE! Pillows were fluffed and beds were made. The vacuum found its way out of its hiding place and floors were swept. Needless to say, I was a busy beaver for about 6 hours. Everything was looking good. I had about 5 garbage bags of trash ready to go when the kids got home from school and admired my handy work.
Ava was happy with my cleaning job, proclaiming me her new hero and she even told me that she had never seen her room so clean!
In Christopher’s room, Christopher was looking over everything. I told him I had put some things up in his closet, rearranged some of his playthings and organized his trophy shelves and such. He looked around the room and then did the unthinkable. He went over to his bed and, in one fell swoop, gathered up his 6 or 7 stuffed animals that he ALWAYS had in their place on his bed and handed them to me.
“I’m too old for them now. Can we just put them up in the closet also?”
I wasn’t sure what to say. Obviously this HAD to happen at some point but I hadn’t expected it to be so sudden. I imagined they would fall behind his bed and then would be left there or maybe Stella would start picking them off one by one, chewing on limbs or fins or whatever. But not like this. This was too easy! He wasn’t even blinking at the idea of putting them away and for whatever reason…this hit home with me.
“You sure, buddy?”
He looked over them as he handed them to me. He glanced at the cast of characters that had been decorating his bed for so long. Barkley the dog (the namesake of our REAL dog), a dolphin, 2 teddy bears (minus his favorite, Teddy, who is still down in the laundry room waiting to be washed from some art work disaster), a small stuffed pug and another dog of which I have forgotten its name. He glanced them over…
I took a deep breath and held his animals in my hands. “Okay…well…I’ll put them up here and if you ever want them, you can get to them, okay?”
“Okay dad. I wonder if AJ or Erik might want them (his cousins).”
This idea was a good one (see “Toy Story 3″) but for whatever reason, I don’t want that to happen. These animals are HIS childhood. So I’m pretty sure, they’re safe. These pals of his won’t be going anywhere out of our house. But I tell him that’s a good thought and I start to close his closet door when I stop for a second.
“You absolutely sure?” I look back at him and I see he’s thinking about it. I don’t know why, but this actually made me feel better that he was considering the whole situation. Then…
“Ya know…can I have Barkley back? He’s my favorite and the first stuffed animal my Grandpa gave me. I’d like to keep him with me.”
“Sure thing, bud. Here ya go.” And I reached up and handed Barkley back to him. Barkley is in serious need of some work. His stuffing is flat and his fur all matted but this is HIS. If anything can sum up a childhood, it’s a child’s favorite stuffed animal and so…for now…he keeps a little of that with him. I know he’s 10 and I know it’s time but still…I’m glad he held on to that one animal, just for now. It tells me I still have a little time. He’s not all grown up just yet…and with that thought…I took a deep breath and went on with my day.
Barkley & Barkley
Of ALL the birthdays my kids will be having, this is the first of the big ones for Christopher. Turning 10 is like reaching a milestone that you’ll never reach again. You go from 1-9 and have single digits and then…you have to wait another 90 years before you go triple and you’re back to where you were at the age of 1 (you know…wearing diapers and such). So hitting double digits is a big thing! When asked if he felt any different turning 10, Christopher’s response?
“Yeah…I feel A LOT older!”
So we have been celebrating this historical moment for a little over a week. He had a birthday party with his buddies (who are all turning 10) a week prior to his birthday date, he managed to weasel an expensive pair of headphones out of his mom & I (you don’t wanna know how much we dropped for these bad boys…), pitched in a double header ON his birthday, had sushi for his birthday dinner and got a lot of money from friends and neighbors so that he can buy a pair of shoes that he’s been eyeing that are the “hot new thing!” Here are some photos of this week-long celebration that ends today with doughnuts for his entire classroom…
Hope the teacher doesn’t hate us for jacking up the entire 4th grade with sugar!
Yahoo! We’re OLD now!
Birthday Cake Pops!!!
Tuesday night is the absolute WORST night of television ever…so I was reading stuff on the internet again. I HATE when I do that because there are so many better options on the internet and yet it’s the boob tube that pays my bills but ya know what…I can’t help it that 97% of what’s on tv is crap so…I read. Occasionally.
But I digress…
So I got reading THIS article about kids and failure. Lately there has been much conversation of failure in our home. Our son is in 4th grade. For those of you who do not have children but somehow managed to make it past 4th grade or those of you who have kids but do not remember that special time in your child’s life, let me refresh your memory…4th grade sucks. And I say this without malice but with a very strong opinion. 4th grade SUUUUUUCKS HUGE and here are 5 reason why……….
Screw that. It just SUCKS. Period. And the main reason? It is setting our son up for failure. And the reason I think this is because if I don’t understand half of the crap my son is bringing home for homework, how can HE do it? Right?
Well…no. That’s not right actually. Okay…we all knew the 4th grade was gonna be tough. Last year, we had parent after parent tell us that the 4th grade is a lot more difficult and homework would increase substantially. So THAT we were prepared for. But we had no idea that it was gonna be like this! Wait…let me rephrase…I wasn’t prepared for it. I want to reiterate…I, in NO WAY, am going to implicate that my wife had any preconceived notions of what the 4th grade experience would be for my son because, quite frankly, she is not here and she has been doing most of his homework with him. So she might have an entirely different opinion on this topic. So this post is COMPLETELY MINE AND DOES NOT REFLECT ON STEPHANIE IN THE LEAST! But I cannot take it anymore. I HATE homework time. Yes…hate IS a strong word but I can’t stop myself…HATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATE! And the reason I hate it?
Mostly because I don’t remember HALF of this stuff from when I was in the 4th grade…that’s why. So now I have to RELEARN all of the things I should already know and it’s like I’m BACK in the 4th grade again. This, in turn, is as frustrating for him as it is for me. It’s a very volatile situation and as the time passes and I try to relearn all of this obviously VERY IMPORTANT STUFF that I’ve somehow forgotten, I can see Christopher struggling with the pace of my relearning process.
So for those of you who skipped the above link, what the writer of “I Want My Kids To Fail” is saying is that it is through failure that our kids learn and that we shouldn’t be giving them all the answers. Safe to say…I do NOT give my son all the answers because I don’t KNOW the answers. Yesterday, he spent probably more than 4 hours studying for a science test on matter and density and mass and a bunch of other stuff (how’s THAT for descriptive. “Other stuff?” Nice…). I tried my best to give him knowledgeable questions and ask him things that I felt would be a part of his test today and he answered most of them in a manner which led me to believe that he actually might have a grasp on it. Then he took an online “quiz” and he started guessing so I said, “Let’s take a break.” So we did. Then about an hour later he started reading his book again and going over science words. And that’s about when I lost interest.
Look…I love my son. Hell…I love BOTH of my kids. And I do not want to see them fail in life. However I have to agree with the author of the post linked above (which you really SHOULD read if you have kids) when he says “It is only when they fail that they have an opportunity to pick themselves back up. It is only when they fail that they learn to work hard. It is only when they fail that they learn what doesn’t work. It is only when they fail that they learn that sometimes people need help. It is only when they fail that they learn empathy for others struggling. It is only when they fail that they learn that life is not always fair. It is only when they fail that they understand what being human is.”
This quote makes complete sense to me. I have failed at many things in my lifetime and I hope that I never am such an asshole to think that I know it all. Just trying to help Christopher with his math equations pretty much proves that I very much do NOT know it all. A little failure goes a long way to show a child that they can still get back up and work harder. There is much that has been written about today’s generation being the “Instant Gratification” generation. Well…I don’t believe that. Today’s children only want the exact same things we wanted when we were kids. They want whatever their parents will give them. Just because they ASK for something doesn’t mean we have to give it to them. And the same goes for homework answers.
So to summarize…failure is NOT a personality trait. It is with failure that a child learns how to succeed. Christopher HAS been trying. 4 hours studying for a science test in some capacity should count for something. He informed me today that he didn’t think he did very well on the test but that he hadn’t gotten a grade yet. Either way, when I asked him what the 3 states of matter were, he knew without looking it up. If he comes home with a D or an A, I’m still going to love him all the same. And I keep hoping that the competitive nature he has in sports will show up in the classroom when one of his buddies has a better grade than he does. I know it bugs him…and I know he’ll try even harder next time because that’s the kind of kid he is.
I, on the other hand, STILL can’t explain what “density” is…
This is MY failure.
And I’m okay with that…
The things we learn as kids are often times passed down from generation to generation. Whether it’s teaching our kids how to sew, how to cook, how to tie your shoes or any number of things. Many people have gone on to do great things and the first thing they do is thank God…and then their parents. And I imagine the people they became are a direct result of the parents they had.
The other day one of my best friends sent me this link to my wife and I. The article is called “What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent And What Makes A Great One.” In it, the author highlights a survey that has been ongoing for over 3 decades and according to it, the absolute worst part of growing up and playing sports for kids is the ride home after the events. Not the losing or the coaches or the weightlifting or any other part of practices. Not the lack of playing time or the fact that there wasn’t enough Gatorade for everyone after the game. It’s the ride home and the misery that accompanies it that is the absolute WORST part of playing sports at any level.
After reading this, I thought about it and I wasn’t sure WHAT my thoughts were. I mean, I remember the drives home after basketball games and I remember my Dad giving me pointers on what I did right & wrong but I don’t remember ever thinking as I was leaving the gym, “I bet my Dad is PISSED!” or “I hope Dad didn’t leave me behind because I only scored 2 points tonight.” I remember there being long rides home because I was mad at myself for not playing the best I could or there would be disappointment that my team lost or there was excitement because I had played well or because we won but I don’t recall there ever being a time where I would say the worst part of playing sports was because my parents talked to me about my performance after an event.
Cut to 25 year later. This weekend I had the opportunity to go to 2 of Christopher’s basketball games. In the first one, he played one of the most impressive games of his young career that I have seen. I want to say he had 16 points, played good defense, had a couple assists and some rebounds. He had a great all-around game and his teammates also played as hard as they could but they still lost to one of the better teams in the league by 12 points. Nevertheless, all of the parents there were happy with what they saw because ALL of our boys played their hearts out and worked really hard despite the loss.
The second game was this morning and it was the exact opposite. Christopher is playing on a team where he knows few of the boys on the team, he’s easily the most advanced player on the squad and he knows it. So it was disappointing today when his team had an opportunity to win but fell a little short losing by 1. Christopher had 7 points and did do a lot to keep his team in the game but there was a different vibe to the way he played today compared to yesterday. And so here is where, as a parent, I needed to make a judgement call and so I did.
After the game yesterday, I was as supportive as I could have possibly been. He worked hard, held his head high against a team that had blown them out earlier in the season and despite the loss, Christopher had gone out swinging like a champion. In today’s game, when his team needed him to step up and be a leader, he didn’t. Instead he didn’t listen to his coach (who has been coaching him for 3 years now), he didn’t try to incorporate his teammates into the game (3 games into the season and he doesn’t know their names yet?) and he completely fell apart at the end of the game instead of staying positive and working to try to get an opportunity to win the game.
Soooo…after today’s game, I thought about that article my friend sent me as Christopher sat quietly in the back of the car. He was mad at himself and he had cried at the end of the game when they lost after he turned the ball over. I had a choice to make…do I console him? Do I scold him for being a jerk on the court? Do I just drop it? Or do I say (as the article says to do), “I love watching you play buddy!” and leave it at that.
Well…needless to say…the first 5 minutes of the drive it was quiet. Then I made a judgement call. This was a great time to make a point and despite what that article said, I firmly believe that this is the age where our kids are learning what it takes to be not only a good athlete…but a better, all-around person. And so I let him have it with both barrels.
I told him I was disappointed that he played like he was the only one on the team (he took several poor shots and didn’t pass the ball when he had teammates wide open). I told him I was disappointed in the way he disregarded the coach on the sideline when she was trying to set up plays. I told him I was disappointed that he didn’t look to HELP his teammates who are younger than he is and are still learning the game. And I told him that it is a slap in the face to his teammates that he has been playing with them for 3 weeks and STILL doesn’t know any of their names. I don’t care if they’re the best or the worst team, I don’t care if they win or lose, but for him to act like he is so far above his teammates and not be the kind of player that they can look up to (especially since he IS the best player on their squad) was a slap in their face and they deserved better.
So now I have to wonder…will what I say make ANY sense to a 9-year old? Did me telling him all of those things make him a better or worse person? Or am I a contributing factor to the decline in children’s attitude about sports? Or I am trying to live vicariously through my son by pushing him harder than I should? I realize it’s just a game but it’s NOT about winning or losing. It’s how you face adversity and work as a member of a team that should be the first thing learned in sports. It’s playing the best you can against ANY kind of competition and being a good sport after the final buzzer has sounded. In the case of today’s game, I felt Christopher let his ego get the best of him and because of that, his team lost. I told him I felt they didn’t lose in the 4th quarter when he had the turnover but in the very 1st quarter when he decided that he was the best player out there and didn’t have to play with his teammates.
Obviously this made him feel even worse but after sitting quietly for a while he came and sat down and ate some pizza and then I took him to his friends’ house and so here I am, wondering if I’ve been too hard on him or if what I said needed to be said and he might have learned something from his experience. I guess only time will tell but I DO know this…if I had simply said “I loved watching you play buddy” and NOT said anything about his attitude on the court today, I think that would have made me a bad parent. It’s our job as parents to help guide our kids through the early part of their lives and while I understand what that article was saying in regards to parents who have a “must win” mentality when it comes to sports, I do not. I just want to see 4 things when my son or daughter are playing sports:
1. Have fun.
2. Work hard.
3. Listen to your coach.
4. Be a good teammate.
Today Christopher DID work hard (there were only 5 players on his team) but the he certainly didn’t look like he was having any fun and he certainly was not listening to his coach or his teammates. So are my rules so wrong? I think not. Anyone who knows me knows I just want my kids to enjoy their time on the field/court/whatever. But when you get an attitude at the age of 9? Yeah…something needs to be said. And I’m pretty certain my Dad would have said the same things to me….
So for Christmas my kids wanted socks, clothes, makeup and ITouches. If you think something called an ITouch is obscene, it’s not. Essentially it’s an IPhone without the phone part. But other than making phone calls, they do everything an IPhone does. And they aren’t cheap. But Stephanie convinced me that the kids would really, REALLY like one for Christmas so…Santa made the delivery. And so far, it’s been kind of fun having them. The kids text me and send me pictures and today Christopher sent me a video and so it has been kind of nice to see what goes on with them while I’m on the road.
So today Christopher was watching the UC Bearcats bowl game vs Vanderbilt and was giving me a play-by-play when I decided to give him a little advice on his grammar. The following are our texts…
And I didn’t hear anything from him beyond that point…
Hey…just because we’re texting doesn’t make it okay to use incorrect language. Gotta set a precedence at some point…might as well be now! LOL (which means “Laughing Out Loud”…if you didn’t know. That’s “texting speak”…)!
Gotta love the holidays! The decorations were up 3 months ago, the music has been infiltrating the airwaves and commercials and I am counting the days to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (even though I own it on DVD). And now is the time for the kids to make out their lists so that we can check it once or twice and hope that Santa understands that we are trying to make ends meet. Anyway, with Christopher getting older, I imagined that there would be all kinds of things that he would be asking for. Here is the list I IMAGINED would happen…
- A new bike (preferably a Harley)
- A smart phone
- The latest and greatest computer games
- Under Armour Sweatshirts
- Under Armour shirts
- Sweat pants
- New Nike Jordan shoes
- A fish
- A hamster
So expecting this list, I was mildly surprised and more than a little taken aback when Steph shows me Christophers list and it consists of the one thing I would NEVER have guessed.
Here’s the thing, you see. When I was a kid, I wanted ALL the good stuff. I wanted cassettes and a boom box and a new basketball and some new toys and a video game system and if I got one or two of them, I was a happy puppy. But NEVER, EVER…in my youth would I have EVER asked for what my son is asking for Christmas this year.
He wants socks.
I kid you not. And not just regular white socks but NBA socks and Nike socks. And he wants certain colors.
I have to be honest…I dunno what to say. I was all set to see this list and then say “No, no, no…absolutely not!” but I’m thinking that there’s not much I can say in this situation. What am I supposed to say? No…you can’t have socks?!?
In all my years, this may be the most ridiculous request for a Christmas gift that I’ve ever heard…but if that’s what the boy wants…who am I to deny his request? So yes Christopher…this year Santa will be bringing you socks. I’m pretty sure THAT won’t be a problem. I just hope this doesn’t come back to bite me down the road…
“Remember that year that all I wanted was socks Dad? Yeah…well…now I want a new car!”
It’s gonna happen…I just know it.
Oh yeah…and he wants a new football. Geez…aren’t the socks enough?!?!
Can I just tell you…one of the joys of parenting has been the load of homework that my 4th grader has been bringing home every night. Between English and Science and Math and Art and Reading and THEN he has football practice (which ends this week thankfully…), it has been like pulling teeth to get it all done and make sure that he understands it all. For the most part, he has been an excellent student. Sure he gets a little unfocused at times but the kid has a lot on his plate and under the circumstances, he handles it pretty well…
Today was the breaking point. I wish I could have recorded it for the future to show him because it was MUCH funnier than what I’m about to write but I gotta tell you, he was at his breaking point and so…it went like this…
(Ava is at one side of the table working on her math problems. Her math consists of counting coins. Pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters, half dollars, etc. Christopher is on the other side of the table doing long division problems.)
Ava: “So if I add 3 pennies to 2 dimes I get 23 cents…right?
Me: “Yep! Good job Ava! You’re getting it!”
Christopher: “I need help.”
Ava: “But on the next I can’t use dimes…right? I have to use nickels?”
Christopher: “I don’t get this. I need help.”
Me: “That’s right, Ava. Don’t use dimes. How many nickels makes up a dime?”
Me: “Correct…so you can use how many nickels and how many pennies to make 23 cents?”
Christopher: (in serious panic mode) “SERIOUSLY?!?! I’M OVER HERE TRYING TO DIVIDE 3,567 BY 3 AND I HAVE ALL THESE NUMBERS AND I NEED HELP AND SHE’S WORKING WITH PENNIES AND YOU WON’T HELP ME?!?! IT’S PENNIES! 1+1 EQUALS 2. WHAT’S SO HARD ABOUT THAT?!?! IT’S JUST PENNIES! I’M TRYING TO DIVIDE BY THE THOUSANDS AND SHE’S WORKING WITH PENNIES AND NICKELS? HOW MUCH EASIER CAN IT BE???”
Ava & I both stop to look at him. His face is red and I can tell he is completely frustrated.
And we both start laughing at him. At first he just stared at us…and then he started laughing also.
“It’s not funny, you guys! This stuff is hard!”
And then we laughed even harder!
Poor guy. No one gives him any sympathy. LOL!
Last week, Christopher’s baseball team managed a come-from-behind win to earn a spot in the Final Four of the Greater Cincinnati Knothole City Tournament. After falling behind 9-2 early in the game, their bats woke up and they ended up winning 10-9. Today wasn’t quite as bad as the team was down 5-0 heading into the bottom of the 2nd but they still had to come from behind and ended up piling on a bunch of runs in the 4th inning to put away Mason 14-9. Christopher had a double, a single, 2 RBI and had a nice catch in right field to help the Bulldogs advance. Here are some highlights from this big win in the opening game of the Final Four!
And after celebrating a win…what’s the next thing you do?
Shave your head!
Oh don’t worry…the coach got his!
Here’s hoping the Bulldogs can continue their run on Tuesday! If anything, they’re definitely gonna be a lot cooler without their hair…
As I’ve mentioned, Christopher’s baseball season is in full swing now and we’re only in May! With the rainfall we’ve had, quite a few of his practices and games have been postponed and rescheduled but his team, the Bulldogs, have done very well considering the lack of practice time they’ve had because of the weather. So with his sports endeavors, you would imagine that Christopher (or “#10″ or “Fer Fer” or “Chris” as he’s known to his friends & coaches) would get a few bumps and bruises. With all of the sliding into home, stealing 2nd, getting beaned by a balls or being jumped on by his teammates for hitting the game-winning home run, Christopher has really gotten beaten up! Check out THESE injuries…
Bruised shoulder while
playing streetball with his friends and slipping & falling and hitting the curb diving for a high fly ball to center that would have been a home run if he hadn’t caught it over the fence!
As you can see…Christopher is the all-star on his team! With all these sports related injuries, I have to wonder if we’ll make it through the summer?
On a serious note, Christopher IS playing very well and has improved a lot this season compared to last year. All facets of his game have improved including his batting, his pitching and his fielding! I couldn’t be prouder of him and his team! They are playing great right now and we are hoping to do well in the upcoming Louisville tournament in a few weekends! Here are some pictures taken of him during our Memorial Day Tournament this weekend. The Bulldogs went 1-1 and Christopher pitched 3 innings, gave up only 3 runs and had a couple hits in the 2 games on Saturday. They have 1 game tonight (Sunday) and 2 games tomorrow to wrap up the tourney. Here’s hoping Christopher and all of his teammates continue to work hard and continue to improve because they really are doing great and should be ready to replace the Reds by the end of July…
(Thanks to our friend, Rachelle Noah, for taking these pictures! She has a much longer lens than I have on my IPhone…lol)
This weekend, my family and I made the trip to Indianapolis to watch Christopher and his baseball team play in a tournament away from home for the first time. Christopher & I left on Friday afternoon with other members of the team, arrived at our hotel around 6pm, went swimming for an hour or so then had dinner at “Cheeseburger In Paradise.” It was crazy packed at Cheeseburger but the waitresses and the staff made our visit quite enjoyable and accommodated all of us even when the kids got restless. Later that night, Stephanie & Ava joined us after attending a Mother/Daughter event back in Cinci. They had a great time and when they got to Indy, Ava was all ready to swim. Unfortunately it was a little too late for that but Steph got to join some of the moms out for a few drinks at a restaurant near our hotel.
The next morning, Christopher’s team, the Bulldogs, played hard against a talented Indiana team and came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game. Both teams pitched really well and so the game flew by and since we were playing for placement in the tournament bracket, we finished tied after 6 innings. Luckily the rain managed to hold off for us even after the forecast called for a 60% chance of the wet stuff. After the game, we all went to “Pizza King” for a decidedly average lunch and then back to the hotel for swimming and a little rest for the night game. At 6pm, we played again in a little wetter environment as the rain finally came and made the field a little sloppier than in the first game. But the Bulldogs bats heated up and they won 9-5. Even though Christopher didn’t get a hit, he did manage to get on base once with a walk and he smashed a line drive at the 2nd baseman which was caught for an out but was well hit!
On Sunday we were scheduled to play at 10am but the rain overnight pushed our gametime to 1pm. And then as the weather really got nasty the tournament was cancelled altogether with no makeup date planned. Needless to say we were all a little bummed about not playing but with it being in the low 50′s and nasty with rain and wind, I’m pretty sure we all agree that it was better NOT to play than to try and play in such crappy conditions. So we swam at the hotel pool for a while and then drove back home to meet at our local Skyline for some coneys and baseball talk. Needless to say, we had a fun time even though Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. We have another tournament scheduled in Louisville in June. Here’s hoping THAT one stays dry so we can watch our team in action!