Activities and Jose Lind

When the girls were really little and all three of them were still in daycare all day, I used to tell Mom that when they get into school we’re not over scheduling them. They aren’t going to have something going on every night and all day on the weekends. Too many times I’d sit there and listen to parents with kids older than ours talk about how they had some activity every night and then soccer all day on Saturday. And nobody wants to be at a soccer game on a Saturday. Ever. Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the fall are already sacred and I’m not going to let some European socialist endeavor soil them. That would be like cheering for the Hessians when General Washington crossed the Delaware.

Anyway, I came to a realization however. If we don’t sign the girls up for some things, then they won’t really know if they like it. They’ve been in dance and gymnastics since Obama was just some crazy Bolshevik in the Illinois senate who liked to vote “present” instead of taking a stand. But not really anything else.

So we signed them up for softball this spring. And I signed Rye and Kinz up for a Saturday morning basketball camp. First hoops practice was this morning. Ten kids between 7-10. Four girls. One little girl wanted no part of the camp until she saw Kinsey in there. You could really sense the frustration her Mom was feeling too. I could see that they had been having the same conversation all week about how she’d like basketball if she tried it. How there would be other girls her age in there. How it was only 45 minutes long. But her Mom was still on the verge of pulling the rip cord on the kid and just heaving her into the gym and sprinting in the other direction. Hey, we’ve all had our hand on the pin to that grenade one time or another. Sometimes we pull it and sometimes you get saved. Like North Carolina when Fred Brown passed the ball to James Worthy in the ’83 NCAA Finals.

“Mom, I don’t want to go…hey that’s Kinsey. She goes to my school. Remember I went to her birthday party last year. Okay, bye.”

It was a fairly non-eventful deal for me however. Although it was interesting watching them do some things. Kinz really seem to enjoy it and took very seriously her defensive stance and hand placement for shooting the ball. And saying Rye was a little strong with her shots is like saying that woman from “What Not to Wear” is kind of annoying.

Not as annoying as the parents who are telling me that, “wow, Riley is in 4th grade. Hmm, it might be too late to get her involved in basketball and way too late for softball. Most girls have been playing since they were 5. Why did you wait so long?”

Really? Too late? She’s 10. I didn’t realize that a full ride scholarship was the goal here. Not that I’d mind if that happened. But damn, she’s a kid. It’s supposed to be fun. If she misses a grounder, its not like she’s going to be branded Bill Buckner. Or Jose Lind. Damn you MLB Network for airing Game 7 of the ’92 NLCS today! Six errors all season and then two in Game 7 Jose!

So I realized that I turned into that parent who signed their kids up for everything. Rye has violin Monday mornings before school and Tuesday during school. Gymnastics Wednesday night. Dance Thursday night. And now basketball Saturday mornings. But they’re not even breaking a sweat really in basketball so I’m not sure that counts. And it keeps them from watching The Disney Channel for an hour.

Of course in April softball starts for all three of them. I have no idea how we’re going to fit practices in there along with games. The girls are going to be in the backseat wearing a leotard, tights with cleats and a softball mitt on one hand.

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The Doctor of Romance

So I’m talking to my buddy at work the other day. He says he has a story I’d appreciate. Which means it’s a story about demographic and voting trends or a discussion on General Lee’s decision to attack the Union center on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Turns out its about his daughter. She’s in first grade.

Her mom is picking her up the other day at a friend’s house and she suddenly needs to run back inside to get her “cards.” My buddy’s daughter and her friend had evidently been busy cutting up some paper into triangle and square shaped cards. If you have little kids, you know how they love to use scissors to cut up just about everything. Paper, magazines, your detailed notes on the NFL’s best teams of the 1970’s.

She gets in the car and her mom notices that the cards are two different shapes.

Why do you have triangle cards and square cards her mom distractedly asks.

“Well, triangle cards are kiss cards. If you are in a relationship, you get to kiss someone.”

Naturally her mom then asks what do you get with the square cards.

“Well if you are having problems with your relationship, you can give the square card to me and I’ll talk to you about it.”

Just like the rest of us, the next question is why would anyone want to talk to this particular first grader about their relationship should it be experiencing turbulence.

“Because I’m the doctor of romance.”

Which, if you think about it, isn’t a bad gig. If you’ve earned a doctorate degree in romance, you probably know what the heck you’re talking about when it comes to relationships. And if you’ve done it before you’re 8, then you’ve probably earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to skepticism. Plus if your only overhead is some paper cards that you cut up yourself, your business model ain’t so bad either.

Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Being Nimble at Dinner

My job gets much busier every January. Its usually a substantial shock to the daily routine for all of us especially since that up tick in work coincides with the girls going back to school after Christmas vacation…errr…I mean Winter Break. Not even Holiday Break but Winter Break. You’d think the left would have more things to argue about than titling vacations. But they don’t.

Anyway, we’re getting up a little earlier, getting home a little later and rushing everything a bit more. For example, I pick the girls up a few days ago after school from daycare. We get home and since we don’t have much time between home arrival and bedtime we have to get a lot accomplished. I’m making dinner which consists of the normal selections from Dad’s Deli – ham and turkey sandwich, choice of melon slices, milk and sometimes, if I can swing it – peas or corn. At the same time Kinz and Bails are at the kitchen table doing their “homework.” Kinz has math and Bails has to measure things. And to provide a soundtrack, Rye is practicing her violin. In the middle of the kitchen. Complete with the music sheet stand which she strategically placed within the swing radius of the refrigerator door. You open the fridge for some cantaloupe and you knock over some sheet music.

Okay, to fully appreciate this, think of a violin. Now do your best impression of what a violin sounds like. Next, using that sound, do “Mary had a little lamb.” Now do it off key.

Set up three plates on the counter and start making some sandwiches. Run back and forth to the fridge for milk and some other stuff. Tape off a section right in the middle to represent the sheet music stand. You can’t step in there or violate any of its airspace up to about three and a-half feet. Now place a ten year old next to that space.

In the meantime, have a second grader constantly ask you math problems related to rounding. Go over and check every other problem for accuracy. Don’t hit the music stand. Ignore “Mary had a little lamb.”

Bails decides the kitchen table isn’t a good surface on which for her to work. She picks a spot on the floor that blocks one of the access points which you can use to reach the far side of the kitchen table. That means as your turn to your right from the counter, you have to jab step with your right foot, cut to your left to avoid the ten year old, dip your left shoulder to absorb the impact of the counter, plant your right foot again and do a vintage Gale Sayers before the knee injury backspin to avoid crushing the kindergartener on the floor using quarters and Hershey’s Kisses to measure the differences between her shoe and a pencil.

Fast forward a few minutes and Bails is done measuring and you’re putting dinner on the table. Kinz and Rye are cleaning up their stuff and coming to the table. This goes as smoothly Mark McGuire’s congressional testimony. And is constantly interrupted by this:

Bailey: Dad how do you spell “think?”

Dad: “T-H-I-N-K.”

Riley: “Why do I have to set the table?”

Dad: “Because I’m a benevolent dictator.”

Bailey: Dad how do you spell “weird?”

Dad: “W-E-I-R-D.”

Kinsey: “Dad, Riley is putting my plate on top of my homework and I’m not done yet.”

Dad: “Work faster.”

Bailey: “What is the little thing you put at the end when you’re done writing?”

Dad: “Do you mean a period? Hey, wait what are you writing?”

Bailey: “A note to Kinsey.”

Dad: “What does it say?”

Bailey: “I think Kinsey is weird. Period.”

So…at least it was a real sentence with punctuation and everything.