Category Archives: Life Lessons

Tee Ball and Tantrums

This spring we signed Daniel up to play tee ball. At the time, we thought it was a great idea. The program was specifically for pre-K kids and emphasized being a non-competitive introduction to the game. A couple of good friends were also signing up so Daniel would have buddies on his team.

I never expected Daniel to be a baseball star, but thought he’d have a good time. He always had fun hitting the ball in our front yard. We’d played enough with him in the past couple years to discover he threw right and batted left.

Then came the first day of tee ball. It was a disaster. Daniel refused to do the warm-up stretches. Or run the bases. Or wear the batting helmet. When it was his turn to hit, he would pretend the bat was too heavy for him to lift and make his body go limp. There was feet stomping, whining, crying.

As Daniel continued to pitch a fit (no pun intended) I felt my eyes begin to brim with hot tears. I was crying because I was embarrassed at his behavior. What must the other parents think of me? Why was Daniel behaving this way? Didn’t he know baseball was supposed to be FUN?!

The next week went better. Daniel participated for the most part. There was no crying and a lot less whining. This may have been due to the many pep talks we gave Daniel throughout the week but was more likely influenced by the promise of frozen yogurt I bribed him with. I started to feel a little more hopeful. Maybe this wouldn’t be his first and last season of tee ball!

Today we had team photos. I’ll just let the photo speak for itself:

Image

(I have disguised Daniel’s teammates’ faces for privacy, but trust me, no one else was crying.)

My friend Stephanie (whose son is totally smiling in the photo) assures me that this is a cute photo that I will one day be able to laugh at. Deep down I know she’s right. But still. It’s so much funnier and cuter and more amusing when it’s someone else’s kid who is ruining the team photo.

When I used to daydream about having a family I always pictured myself with spunky and sporty little kids who would joyfully run around the baseball diamond/soccer field/basketball court.  But our kids aren’t always going to enjoy the sports or have the personalities we envisioned. And Daniel is helping me learn that.

I’m going to save this team photo. And I’m going to learn to look at it and feel proud to be the mama of this spirited child.

P.S. I should add that Daniel quickly recovered from the trauma of taking team photos and enjoyed his game today.

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Grace in my kitchen

We were in the midst of another epic meltdown. Our four year old son’s sobs filled the kitchen. He had been wronged. Life wasn’t fair. Who had caused him this pain? The culprit was his sister. Yes, a petite, doe-eyed, chubby cheeked toddler. Kendall, innocently armed with a pencil had (gasp!) scribbled on two pages of Daniel’s newly delivered magazine. Clearly this was a catastrophe.

My eyes met with my husband’s and we exchanged a knowing glance. You know the look. It’s the we-can’t-decide- if-we-want-to-scream-or-laugh look. “It’s not a big deal, buddy,” Brian reassured him, to no avail.

“But I can’t see the pictures at all. She ruined it!!!” The wails and sobs began to escalate.

Kendall stood by me with both concern and the remnants of dinner plastered on her face. “Your brother is sad because you colored on his magazine. We color on coloring books. Can you tell him you are sorry and give him a hug?”

And then grace found us. Right there, in the middle of our messy kitchen filled with runny noses, dirty dishes, and sippy cups.

Kendall walked over to Daniel, who was practicing for his future best actor in a dramatic series win. “Sorr-ee, Dan-oh.” Kendall spoke with earnest. “Sorr-ee, Dan-oh”, she repeated seeking out his teary eyes.

The wails stopped. “It’s okay, Kendall.”

And brother and sister embraced each other.

Later, as I helped Kendall erase the pencil marks on her brother’s magazine I thought how easy it is to chalk up Daniel’s tantrum to his age. But what was my excuse? How many times had this 30-something year old blown up for something that (if I’m being honest), was really not a big deal? How readily did I let go and forgive? Or did I hold on to my anger over little things, harboring grudges and resentment against others?

And once more, the after dinner lesson in forgiveness for my kids became a lesson for this mama too.

sibling love

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