Friday, May 27, 2011

Put me in, coach



There’s nothing that separates the men from the boys more than the first T-ball practice for 6 year olds.

Especially when we’re talking about my husband, Mr. Assistant Coach With Dreams of Grandeur.

Five minutes before the first practice: “Our boys will be solid - and I mean SOLID - on the fundamentals,” he bragged. “Catching, throwing, hitting. They’ll be all-stars in no time.”

Five minutes AFTER the first practice: “Our boys will be solid - and I mean SOLID - on the knowledge you can’t play in the dirt or wear your cap backward.”

Yes, my friend. Sometimes you have to start with the little things and work your way up. Or, in the case of little guys with short attention spans and questionable hand-eye coordination?

Aim low. Always, always aim low and you’ll never be disappointed.

***

T-ball is supposed to be a simple sport. But rarely are things what they seem. 

Ball goes on tee. Batter swings. Six times, including at least two complete 360-degree turns ala Three Stooges-style before hitting the damn thing.

Ball flies a momentous two feet in the air before dropping with a thud to the dirt-covered infield, barely rolling past the foul line painted in front of home plate and putting the ball into play.

If you’re lucky, there’s one kid - ONE - on the other team who’s paying attention. And he’s like that Bugs Bunny cartoon where the rascally rabbit is running around so fast playing all the positions that he’s nothing but a blur with a baseball cap.

While everyone else is busy playing in the dirt, he’s the one who screams, “I GOT IT!” He races to it, picks it up, whirls around and throws like a rocket launcher to first base. 

However, the first baseman is busy pulling up his pants because they’re too big to fit his tiny waist, and they keep falling to his ankles.

And soooo the ball sails high over his head.

The ball eventually rolls to a stop inside the first-base dugout. So Player #1 - the savior, the go-to guy, The MAN - runs after it, grabs it and throws it to second base.

Except - by now - the hitter is on third.

But all isn’t lost because the hitter decides he’s done running and starts walking to his own dugout, telling the coach he’s had enough of this nonsense and wants ice cream from the nearby concession stand.

Can we really blame him? Seriously. It’s a long way around those bases. Especially on the short legs of a 6 year old. I’d be asking for a Blue Bunny moment too.

***

All in all, our son’s team isn’t too shabby. And I’m not saying that because I’m wearing Mom Goggles where I see nothing but beautiful, well-behaved angels singing “Kumbaya” all day long.

Most of them can hit (two or three of them can even knock the snot outta the ball, sending it soaring over, well, second base), and several can throw, coming within a foot or two of their intended target. (Which is more than I can say about myself.)

But catching. Well, no one’s perfect. But that won’t keep my husband from trying.

***

“What the hell are you doing?” I said, walking into our family room to see my son wearing his T-ball mitt on one hand while my husband tossed golf ball-sized whiffle balls in his direction.

“Working on catching drills,” my husband quickly replied before tossing another one in our son’s direction.

“Uh, pardon me, but since when do you use golf balls in T-ball?”

He rolled his eyes in that Geesh, women kinda way and added, “It’s a way for him to learn how to position his glove, depending on where I throw the ball.”

And before I could open my mouth, he continued, “Annnnnd....a smaller ball is easier to catch at this point.”

Oh, OK. “Sounds great,” I said. Then I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “But don’t teach him too much, OK? I kinda like the Three Stooges-type of play. Keeps the parents entertained in the stands. Otherwise, we’ll have to go to the concession stand for ice cream.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Creep out kids, I will: Yoda goes old school


So my 6-year-old son is having a Star Wars/Clone Wars birthday party this weekend.

And no party is complete without kids using big sticks to destroy things, so a pinata was in order.

I'm too cheap to buy one, so I channeled my inner craftiness. And for those who know me, this was indeed a challenge. I don't own a glue gun, sewing machine, scrapbooking kit, Bedazzler (they still have those?) or anything else of that nature.

I was armed with leftover paint and crepe paper, recycled newspapers and the knowledge I once made a pinata in fourth-grade art class (so how hard can it be?). Kitchen got a little messy (I don't recall paper mache being so drippy; and I have no idea how it got everywhere. I blame the dog).

And VOILA! A homemade Yoda pinata...or spawn of the devil? You be the judge. In any case, it's sure to creep out the kids...so it's worth it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Make new friends

Our Golden, Bear, made a new friend over the weekend...a frisky little bulldog named Brewster.

Proving - once again - that you can learn a lot from dogs:



Take your time. Get to know each other first.



Sometimes you play offense. Sometimes you play defense.



But at the end of the day, it's all about the love.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Temper Tantrum Triage



Our 5-year-old son is left handed.

I know. It’s not a crime. And it’s not his fault because both of his parents are southpaws. 

But it does make things a little more complicated in the right-handed world we live in. So when the little guy needed a new baseball glove, we knew it wouldn’t be an easy fix. There was - after all - approximately 847 baseball gloves for sale in our small Midwestern town.

And only about 3 of them are for a lefty.

And two of them are pink.

So it’s not surprising that my husband had been dragging his feet about finding a new one for the little guy.

The weeks passed, and I reminded him often, “He’s outgrown his glove. He needs a new one.”

“I’m on it,” he’d replied.

***

So here I am in the sporting goods store two hours before the first pitch of the first game looking for a new glove because my husband, Mr. I’m On It, blew it off.

Acres of gloves hung from tiny hooks on a wall stretched from floor to ceiling. I had that Oh Dear Jesus look on my face that every salesperson LOVES to see.

Might as well paint a target on my forehead.

“May I help you,” a nice voice wafted over my shoulder.

I turned and answered bluntly, “I have a lefty who needs a new baseball glove.”

The nice lady reached up and plucked one off the wall for my inspection.

In the meantime, my son pulled on my shirt, the universal sign for Hey, Mom, and I turned around to see a blue and red football clutched between his hands.

“Can we buy this?” he said and stuck it in my face.

I reached up and pushed it back down.

“No, we’re getting you a glove, not a football,” I said and turned back toward the salesperson, took the glove from her hand and said, “We’ll take it.”

And that’s when I noticed my son had disappeared. I did that twirly Where’d You Go? dance you see moms do in the store and quickly spotted him over by - you guessed it - the footballs.

I walked over and handed him the glove. “Here you go,” I said excitedly. He promptly dropped it and collapsed into a crying, sobbing heap on the floor.

Oh, I don’t think so.

It was time for temper tantrum triage and decided which problem to tackle first.

Growling, I picked up the not-yet-purchased glove with one hand and plucked my son off the floor with the other.

“First of all,” I hissed and waved the glove in his face, “We haven’t paid for this yet. So you DO NOT throw it on the floor.” I took a deep breath and desperately tried NOT to shoot death rays from my eyes.

All in all, a valiant effort on my part.

“Second of all, if I did not have to get this glove for your game tonight, we’d be walking out of this store right now. Right. Now.” I pointed to the door and snarked, “That door. Right over there. We’d be gone.”

The tears had stopped by this point and the look on his face said it all: Oh, $***.

***

The ride home consisted of these quality tidbits, classics that never go out of style no matter what the generation: I’ve never been more ashamed of you. Never more embarrassed. There are starving children in Africa.

Oh, wait. Different lecture.

In any case, the little guy got the message, and it was like the Wall of Shame had descended on the back seat of the car.

Not a word on the ride home. As soon as I pulled into the garage, he was out of the car, into the house and up to his room.

Wow, I thought, I’m good. I could - like - train monkeys or something.

And then about 10 minutes later I turned to see him standing behind me, arms stretched out in the universal sign for I’m Sorry, Mommy.

I folded him into a huge bear hug and assured him all was OK with the world.

But Mr. I’m On It?

He and I are gonna have words....

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mom's Day


Like most moms...I'm usually the one BEHIND the camera.

So that's why this pic is my favorite Mother's Day present. It's a rare photo of all three of us.

My boys took me out to celebrate my birthday, and we treated my mom-in-law for an early Mother's Day.

Family? It rocks.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another chapter closed, but the story still continues....



(photo by Thomas E. Franklin)



A sincere 'thank you' to all those involved in dealing a major blow to terrorism.
For once, it's not Democrats vs. Republicans. People of many parties, many faiths, many races worked tirelessly to bring this day to the American people.
This morning, I had to remind my 5-year-old who OBL was. In a way, I'm glad for that. Here's hoping his generation never experiences the actions of another one.
Today, a chapter has closed...but the story, the fight, the mission continues....