Basketball Madness

January 19, 2014

My boys eat, sleep and breathe basketball, and I must say, from an observational standpoint, basketball is my favorite as well.  They both play on their school’s little league teams, and they are both quite talented, if I do say so myself.  This year has been bittersweet, as the youngest is on a fantastic team that has great chemistry together, and a fantastic coach.  They have defeated their opponents by margins in the double digits on most occasions and only suffered one loss.  That’s the sweet part.  The bitter part is the oldest has been on a team that is the polar opposite.  His team consists of one kid who never gives up the ball, my son, and 4 others that could care less if they are on the court or not.  They fight and argue constantly, their coach doesn’t want to coach, and their season ended yesterday with a record of 1-9, Sadly, their losses were never even close and yesterday’s final score was 52-12. 

Last week my youngest played a scrimmage game at a neighboring school in another district.  Upon entering their facility and paying $10 admission charges for the other 3 of us (Seriously, who changes admission for a 3rd grade scrimmage???) we found there was no seating.  Upon the request of several parents a set of disgusting bleachers was let out of a wall.  Obviously they weren’t cleaned after the previous use and there was clothing, water bottles, toys, and assorted trash consistent with an elementary school gym. (I realize that the last couple of sentences were very unnecessary, but I’m just setting the scene.  LOL)  We emerged victorious and once we were in the confines of our car my son said, “Mama, those boys were using the f-word, they were saying all the other bad words, and they called us the n-word”.  The last part strikes me as particularly ironic because our team is 8/9 causcasian-and although we do have one African-American player, he wasn’t there that night.  Their team on the other hand was 7/8 African-American.  Part of me is shocked and angered me that 3rd and 4th graders are allowed to use this language and no parent, coach, or referee bothers to correct their behavior.  The other part of me hopes that one day, one of them gets their own cooking show, and I can make some spending money by selling a tell all interview to People where I recount their use of racial slurs directed a team of innocent white boys decades before.  

My next basketball story is more sweet than disturbing/funny.  Yesterday my youngest’s team won the first game in our local tournament by a rather hefty margin, and played the second game later in the day.  The latter game was a better matchup, and was very physical with the score staying within a point or 2 for the majority of the time.  The crowd was full of nervous parents on the edge of their seats (as I mentioned before, our team is not accustomed to losing) and I daresay it was the most intense 3rd and 4th grade basketball game ever.   In the final 6 seconds our team was up by 1, with the other team having possession of the ball.  There was a scuffle, boys were on the floor, the opponent was calling for a time out and the referee closest was not hearing (or choosing not to hear).  The buzzer sounded and then one referee’s whistle blew.  The referees and coaches met in front of the scorers table.  The players on the court gathered near the coaches and officials, followed by the players on the bench.  Were they going to call a foul on one of our boys-which would allow the other team 2 shots and potentially victory or overtime?  Were they going to allow the time out our opponent was calling and put time back on the clock?  If so could the opponent set up and execute a play in which they score in less than 6 seconds and our tournament dreams are dashed?  All eyes were on the congregation at mid court, and we were all waiting anxiously for the outcome of the conversation.  Time stood still.  Eventually, my mothers eyes shifted elsewhere on the court, where an injured player for the opposing team lay hurt (remember when I said it was physical and there was scuffling in the last 6 seconds?).  He was out there all alone.  His injury unknown to his coach, team, and seemingly even to his parents, as they were all focused on what the officials determination would be.  My mom got my attention, and I was able to witness my son walk over to this young man, his “enemy” on the court, and talk to him and console him.  Eventually one of my son’s teammates noticed too, and together they helped the young man on to his feet, talking to him and patting him on the back.  Ignoring the discussion regarding the fate of the game, and their season, they went to the aid of another child in need while the rest of his own team and coaching staff was oblivious to the fact that he was laying on the court. Eventually the referees announced that no fouls occurred, there would be no time out, and the game was over with our team victorious by one point.  Hands were shook at mid court between both teams and coaches, and as we were walking out my son sought out the kids on the opposing team to tell them that they played a good game and try to lift their spirits.  At the end of the day, I was proud of my sons 6 points in that game, after all, without those points our season would be over, but I was even more proud of his sportsmanship.  In a world where trash talking permeates and profanities and racial slurs on the court are commonplace for 3rd graders, I am proud of my son for being a amazing example of how boys should act.  

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Cutie Patootey’s

April 15, 2010

One morning this week Sir Sweats Alot (age 4) asked me, “Was I there at your wedding day?”.  I explained that he was not, due to the fact that he hadn’t been born yet.  “Where was I then?” he asked, clearly not understand the concept of time existing before he did.  After several unsuccessful attempts at explaining exactly why he couldn’t attend my wedding day, I finally said.  “In heaven, you were in heaven then, God hadn’t sent you to me”.  He replied, “Oh, well, I really missed you then, when I was in heaven”. 

Last night I was facebook status comment bantering with some of my Jovi-girls, with whom I am meeting up with in 6 days in Nashville.  In our discussion one of the other ladies mentioned that Jon is her future husband, which instigated a back and forth playful argument in which we all staked our claim as Jon’s future wife.  Later in the evening after telling my husband about our juvinile banter, I found Karate Boy (age 7) in his room looking rather glum.  I asked him what was wrong and he said, “You called someone else your future husband, and I don’t want you to leave daddy”.  After consoling Karate Boy and finally convincing him that he wouldn’t be getting a new step-daddy anytime soon, I immediately got online and told my lovely friends that I was folding, and that they had one less competitor for Jon’s heart, after all, no man is worth making my son cry.

However, on second thought, I’m sure if KB’s new step-dad bought him a new four wheeler he could be convinced.

The Clothespin Nazi

August 25, 2009

Karate Boy’s school uses a color coded method for behavior.  In their system, green is good, black is bad, and in between there’s yellow, blue, and red, in that order.  Each child has a clothespin with their name on it, and when they misbehave they have to move it down a color.  Last year Karate Boy’s clothespin sayted on green, pretty much all year.  He had one red, and a few yellows, but not over 5 days all year off of green.  He was crowned, “Student of the Month” the second month of school, and at every conference his teacher had nothing but positive things to say.  At the first one, she told me, “I wish I had a classroom full of Karate Boy’s”, and I teared up.  It was what every parent wanted to hear.    He loved school, and I thought we were in for smooth sailing for the next few years. 

Back to school night we found out that there were only a handfull of kids from his kindergarten class in his first grade class, and nobody he was really close to.  However, I knew he would’t have any trouble finding his niche.  First grade started 3 weeks ago, and since that time his daily behavior chart has became more colorful.  The first week found the greens peppered with just as many yellows.   The problem seemed to be talking, which he gets honestly.    When I asked questions, such as who he was talking to and if they also got in trouble, Karate Boy always told me the others never got in trouble, only him.   Not wanting to be one of, “those” parents, who think that every teacher is picking on their kid, I convinced myself that KB, in his quest to make new friends, was always initiating conversation at innaproporiate times. 

The next week found us having the same problem.  There was an incident involving the decibal level of Karate Boy’s whisper.  His teacher said,  “If I can hear you, it’s not a whisper.”  before directing him to move his clothespin.  The next day there was another involving him talking to someone in the bathroom.  Apparently there is no talking in the bathroom, even if the someone you are talking to is a former classmate and your best friend, who’s first grade teacher does allow talking in the bathroom.  “What’s next”  I thought, and laughed inwardly at the mental visualization of his teacher saying, “If the person in the next stall hears you pass gas, it’s too loud, and you will have to move your clothespin* “.  By the end of the week KB’s behavior chart had more colors than a gay pride bumper sticker. 

Friday he came home and his square for the day was colored green, with blue over it.  I was confused and prodded KB for information, and what I found out made me very angry.  They had computers, then recess last thing that day, so they colored their squares right before computers.  After coloring their squares they were asked to put their chairs on top of the table, as they wouldn’t be in the classroom any more that day.  KB saw his classmate Claire struggling to get her chair on top of the table beside him.  He asked her if she needed help, and because this task was supposed to be done silently, he was reprimanded for talking.  As a reward for his chilvary, he was forced to move his clothespin straight to blue and miss part of his recess.  An action some teachers might have praised or even rewarded, his punished him for. 

Now I can’t help but be one of, “those” parents, and since speaking to some of KB’s other teachers, I’m convinced of the possibility that KB is being picked on.  I don’t want him to be wrongfully labeled a “problem child” in our small school, with it’s close knit teachers, that label could follow him for the rest of his school years.  I also don’t want him to stop liking school.  That could make the next 11 years miserable for us all.    Therefore, after spending the weekend brooding over the events, J and I planned to set up a meeting  to talk to The Clothespin Nazi soon. 

This week is starting off much better, with 2 greens in as many days.  Maybe a face to face meeting won’t be necessary.

* Editors note:  As I was typing this post, Liz, who commented first on this post, posted a status update on facebook that her first grader got in trouble, and moved to blue, for “passing gas”.

The Karate Kid, Part Hanna

August 26, 2008

Around the same time  the step-kids moved in, my mom and dad decided that my oldest needed to be involved in tae kwon do.  They were so adamant about this, that they paid his tuition, and are providing transportation most of the time.  The classes are at 3:45 pm on weekdays, which is highly inconvenient for my schedule. 

In order to get his white belt at his first class, there were several things he had to learn, such as some of the stances, kicks, and Korean words. At the time it seemed very absurd to be tutoring my child, who wasn’t even in school yet, on a language that I had no knowledge of.  However, I did it, and he passed his white belt test with flying colors.   I learned to count to 5 in Korean, and a handfull of other, pretty much useless Korean words. 

On the way home from his first session, he and the youngest were fighting in the back seat.  I had to stiffle a laugh when I heard him tell his baby bro:  “Don’t make me circle kick you when we get home.”

He has been in Tae Kwon Do for a few weeks now, and he loves it.  He practices at home very dilligently, and even tries to teach his younger brother some moves. 

I just can’t help but wonder if I learned enough Korean to put it on my resume………..

Night Sweats

August 6, 2008

The youngest is almost 3, and he’s a sleep sweater.  It doesn’t matter what time of year, what time of day, or the temperature where he sleeps, he sweats.  A Lot.  Here is the scene I found in my bed when I went to retire for the evening last night:

 

Of course that’s my pillow that is soaked.  The crazy thing is, our bed is located less than 3′ from a window unit a/c. 

If he were a rapper, I’d call him Sir Sweats A Lot.

Life Goes On

August 5, 2008

I just got back from taking my firstborn to Kindergarten.  All day kindergarten.  He couldn’t sleep last night.  He was up and down until after 2 this morning, as was I.  He is so excited about starting school, and I’m thrilled that he is. 

After a few minutes in the classroom, where he looked at me and said, very authoratively, “don’t cry mommy”,  the parents of the kindergarteners were to report to the library for a reading seminar.  Sitting in there, I pondered questions like, what if he forgets his pin # in the cafeteria and doesn’t get to eat?  What if he gets put on the wrong bus and isn’t able to tell the bus driver where he is supposed to go?  What if there’s an earthquake, or tornado, or a teradactyl sweeps in an open window and flies off with him?  What if, what if, what if.  (maybe the first day of kindergarten wasn’t such a great choice of dates for the reading seminar, as I saw a few other teary eyes and worried parents, whom I’m sure were less that focused on the presentation)

“After the seminar, I’ll go to his classroom and take him home with me forever check on him.”, I thought.  But then again, what if that embarassed him……………..

Luckily, his class was taking a bathroom break just outside the library when we exited.  I was able to see him one last time.  He even came up and gave me a big hug and told me all about the breakfast he had just finished.  He seemed to be doing well.  Truthfully, probably better than me.   I am quite proud of myself.  I didn’t cry…….well, not alot anyways.

It seems weird here today.  It’s one of my rare days off, and to just have one kid is strange, but it is nice to have the one on one time with the youngest.  I’m getting lots of hugs and “I love you’s”, and I think he’s thrilled to not have to share the toys and tv. 

Maybe later I’ll convince him to take a nap.  I’m exhausted from my sleepless night and eventful morning.

Sunday mornings are hectic around our house.  Since it’s usually my only day off, I sleep in until the last minute, then am extremley rushed to get everyone and everything ready for church. 

Recently, my oldest was taking a bath, whilst I was standing in the bathroom getting ready.  I asked him to wash himself, to save time. 

Him:  “You wash me.”

Me:  “No, you wash yourself today.”

Him:  “I don’t want to.”

Me:  “Well son, sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.  It’s a fact of life.  Even grown-ups sometimes have to do things they don’t want to do.”

Him:  “Exactly, you don’t want to wash me, but you’re going to have to, because I’m not doing it.”

Sometimes he’s just too smart. 

And yes, I did wash him.

My mom has a small blow-up pool, where my kids and I go almost every day after work.  My boys have invented an adorable game, which they like to call “Lost Boy”. 

The game goes like this:  both boys walk to the opposite side of the pool from my mom and I, then the oldest places his arm around the youngest, and says, “are you a lost little boy?”. 

“I a wost boy”, his brother replies, and the oldest leads him to me, or my mother, and says, here’s your lost little boy. 

“What’s your name?”, we ask the toddler.  “Wost boy”, he says.  Then he hugs us, goes over to the other side of the pool, and we do the whole thing again.  It’s adorable.

Today I begged them to play, “Wost Boy”.  After I had asked multiple times, my oldest said, “Mommy, we’ve retired from playing that.”

Preschool Potty Mouth

April 15, 2008

This weekend a “bad word” was uttered around the dominoe table, with my oldest present.  I took the opportunity to explain that sometimes adults screw up, and they shouldn’t say bad words, and he definitely shouldn’t say them. 

“I know mommy, I won’t say it, or shit either”. 

I laughed so hard I cried, and I felt guilty that I couldn’t tell him, with a straight face, that his potty mouth wasn’t funny.

I Exist

April 15, 2008

My oldest, who is five, often uses words that amaze me, in relation to his size.  His latest saying is, “I exist”, which he says in the context of, “I insist”.  

The first time I heard this gem was earlier today, when he had colored half of a beautiful picture.  He asked me to finish it, and I refused, telling him he was doing a great job.  He replied, “you finish it, I exist”.