To Be or Not to Be… A “Soccer” Mom
“Stretch your hands up, then touch your toes!” Coach Jo instructed. All of the kids obeyed. All except for one. Mine. Next, Coach Jo shouted, “Run to the fence and back!” All of the kids ran. All except for Graham, who quietly stood on the sidelines looking slightly confused and somewhat amused. Hmm… Perhaps we should have started this whole “formal instruction/coaching” thing earlier.
I’m sure I had the same expression on my face when my fellow mom-friends told me that they were taking their 18-month-old babes to gym class and their two-year-olds to dance class: slightly confused and somewhat amused. What’s a toddler going to learn in gym class, I thought? Well, apparently, they learn how to take instruction from someone other than their parents. Because while my kid was playing with his shirt collar on the soccer field, all of the other kids were touching their toes and kicking soccer balls as Coach Jo told them to.
After several weeks into soccer class, Graham picked up steam. There was one occasion in which Graham kicked a soccer ball into the goal. He also managed to steal the ball from another kid once. Admittedly, it was with his hands and there may have been crying involved. Regardless, I’m glad I finally signed him up for a skill-based class, and now I can definitely see why others started taking their kids earlier than I have. Yes, I can admit when I’m wrong.
I also enrolled both my children (ages 1 and almost-4) in swimming lessons. For the first few weeks both children did a lot of crying, a lot of screaming, and some hitting and biting. However, after a few weeks of “adjustment” if that’s what we’re calling it, my kids began to get excited. They splashed, blew bubbles in the water, and willingly dunked their heads. The instructors weren’t swim teachers. They were miracle workers, and I’m telling you, my kids will be safer and better swimmers for these lessons.
Which isn’t to say I’m eager to be a bon-a-fide “soccer” mom, hauling my family all over town every day of the week to different activities. I still believe that a child should be allowed to have free and imaginative play on their own terms. Which for Graham, at age four, involves playing ball while singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Jazzy Style.” Because according to Graham, everything is better when you jazzy it up.
So tell me… when did you begin to enroll your children in instructional classes? Are you glad for it, or do you wish you had waited?
Regardless of what decision you make… Here’s to learning the rules of the game, staying afloat, occasionally striking out on your own, and every so often “jazzy-ing it up.”