Monday, March 19, 2007


Some days I look at my kids and marvel at how fast they seem to be growing. Both physically and developmentally. All of a sudden, more than a few of Nicholas's pants seem to be an inch or two too short. Same with Lauren. And sleeves don't quite make it all the way to the wrists. Or I try to cuddle with one of them and realize they no longer fit easily on my lap like they used to and instead it's a tangle of bony elbows and legs that seem to go on forever. Gone are the days when they would sort of mold themselves into your chest like soft, pliable lumps. They just seem to be getting so BIG.

And then I see Nicholas standing among his new t-ball teammates and it takes me only a split second to realize that he's the smallest kid on the team. Huh? He seems so huge at home - is this right? He's not on the 2nd or 3rd grade team by mistake, is he? No? This is the kindergarten team? Wow...

Nicholas is at a very strange age. On the one hand, I love it. The whole world is opening up for him. He's reading exceptionally well. He's becoming responsible. He desires the company of friends with increasing frequency. He's incredibly inquisitive and wants to know everything already. He's getting bolder and more outgoing (like the time this weekend when we were at the park, enjoying a rare and wonderfully sunny afternoon and he and his pal wanted to play with some sand toys they saw there. Usually, Nicholas would insist on my participation in asking the rightful owners for permission to share the toys. But now he's growing some balls and taking matters into his own hand and initiating the request himself without even a glance in my direction. And what's more, when the person he first asked told him the toys weren't theirs and re-directed him to another adult, he simply walked over to them and repeated his request. I was floored. First, because this is new for him and is something we've encouraged - you know, to speak for himself. Like at restaurants when it's time to order, for example, or to do the talking when we knock on a friends door. That sort of thing. But secondly, I was just a tad alarmed. Because while we've wanted him to have the confidence to speak for himself, we've always been there with him, backing him up. Now, he was completely on his own - me being all the way across the playground - but we've also told him, repeatedly, that he's not to speak with people he doesn't know unless/until we tell him it's alright. So him just running up to an unknown adult at the park and asking (nicely, nicely) if he could play with their sand toys is a little unnerving. I'm not sure whether to be proud of him or extremely upset.). But when Nicholas gets hurt, for example, he's big enough now to want to hold his tears in when other people might see him, but little enough to still come running to me for hugs and kisses and cuddles to make it all better, bawling the whole time. So seeing Nicholas, who has gotten so big in my eyes, at the littlest kid on the team made him seem all the more vulnerable to me. I mean, some of these kids have several inches on him. Many inches. Whole heads worth of inches. I guess you can't fight genetics: Mr. Chick isn't exactly on the tall side, standing proud at 5'8". The exact same height as me.

But physical stature aside, I was happy to see that Nicholas is right in the thick of it with the other boys when it comes to athletic ability. And by that I mean NONE. Well, maybe not none. Let's say limited. Limited ability. At least when it comes to baseball. He's had essentially no exposure to baseball other than going to a few minor league games a year or two ago. Mr. Chick has tossed him balls to catch his whole life, but he's got no game when it comes to catching. Lauren has better hands when it comes to catching. But he's not the worst catcher on the team. Very few of the boys could really catch many balls with any sort of consistency. Although, he might have a knack when it comes to grounders. And running isn't his forte, either. He's an average runner. He's fast enough, but not what you'd call fast. And Mr. Chick thinks that he looks sort of funny when he runs. Awkward or something - I'm not sure exactly what he thinks is off, but he's sure something is strange about Nicholas' running form. Me, I'm just happy he CAN run. But when it came time to practice hitting the ball off the T, Nicholas did well. Finally, something he did decently in the world of athletics. He was so nervous when he was standing in line waiting for his turn to bat. He had the look I see so often - the look that tells me he's about to lose it and dissolve into a puddle of tears and hysterics. Nicholas can't handle pressure very well. Once he gets his confidence up, he's fine. The anticipation of possible failure is almost too much for him. But another sign of his getting bigger is his maturity level and his new ability to pull it together better and cope. I very much like seeing this. And when his turn came, he listened to his coach, struck the right pose, and swung. And connected! And the T didn't fall over or anything. He had 4 or 5 good swings before his turn was over and he had to go back in line. And now that he knew what to expect, his anxiety level was much lower and his happiness quotient raised considerably. A smile returned to his face.

The boys will practice once a week until games begin next month, and then there are two games per week: one during the week, and one every Saturday. Through June. Sigh - t-ball is a big commitment. I just hope Nicholas has fun. I don't care if he's "good" - I just want him to have fun, learn some skills, and enjoy being on a team. I want him to develop good sportsmanship.

But on the subjects of athletics, I must share Lauren's newest trick. She "taught" this to herself and does it every.single.morning. After she wakes up in the morning she runs up to our room to announce her wakeful state to us. Then she scrambles up on our bed, scoots down to the foot of the bed and turns around so she's facing us. Then she lies down on her back, flings her arms up over her head, and slides down from the bed toward the floor. Her hands touch the floor and she then kicks her feet over her head and ends up doing a supported (by the bed) back walkover. She'll stand up, raise her arms back up, and say "ta da!" and do this many more times as we watch is awe. Mr. Chick and I are amazed. She doesn't land on her head when she slides down the bed blindly and can support the falling weight of herself with her hands. Each time she kicks her feet over she's more graceful. This is fun for her.

Now I'm even more convinced that registering her for the preschool inside the gymnastics academy was the right decision. I mean, hello - !! Time to look into more gymnastics classes for her, I think. We've taken a break from those offered at the Y (she sort of outgrew them, truth be told...)

And speaking of the Y.... they're STILL jacking me around with the schedule and I'm finding I REALLY don't enjoy this job. AT.ALL. I didn't think I would LOVE it, but I'm finding I don't even like it. Not even a little bit. Childcare is not my thing, I guess. But I like the break on my membership, and I know I'll REALLY like the discount on the various day camps for Nicholas this summer. But this new t-ball schedule is going to make it really tough for me to keep working the crappy shifts they've given me. I e-mailed my supervisor with the information and a suggestion of a single shift that would work out. If they can't do it on their end then I'm pretty sure I'll be leaving. C'est la vie. Between after-school Spanish classes twice a week, speech therapy once a week, t-ball a couple of times, and life in general, it's hard to find a shift that fits in. And really, what I'm realizing is that I'd rather be available to my kids for this sort of stuff and let them be involved in stuff, than to have a job I don't even like that much. I've never been a quitter, so it feels very disloyal somehow to consider leaving a job I've only had for a month or so. But my kids and family come first and this job is so minor that losing it would not be a great loss. We'll see what the supervisor says. Maybe it'll work out that I can just work the one shift per week and all this worry will be for naught.

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