My four year old has started in a beginning soccer class at the Y. They teach them basic skills for thirty minutes and then play a game for thirty. They play three on three. It is like watching an episode of three stooges. If you are lucky, they score a goal……..in the wrong net!
They tend to mentally move in and out of the game. Its not unusual to see a kid stop by a parent and get a hug. J likes to wave at us as the ball rolls by him. If one child falls, the other “stooges” do the same to act silly. The game moves at a slow pace because the ball is constantly out of bounds and/or the ref is blowing his whistle to stop the game.
At times the kids remind me of Ferdinand, the bull who was more interested in smelling flowers than being a mean bull. And then its as if a light bulb goes off for just a minute or two and someone realizes they can score a goal. And when someone scores, all the other kids come out of their trance because they hear all the families cheer.
And of course, once the game is over-its time to get ready for to go to my older sons game.
Yesterday I went looking for a pair of sneakers for myself. I invited Ry to join me and promised I’d find him a pair too. Needless to say, most of the time was spent on him. I focused on price and familiar brands,like Nike, New Balance, or Adiddas. He immediately gravitated towards these black sneakers with puffy tongues, red soles, and skeletons on the side. It was an interesting moment in our relationships.
On one hand, I didn’t like the way the shoes looked and I was clear about that. And he was able to pretend like he was going to vomit when I pointed him towards traditional brands. I challenged him, “are you going to really wear those things or complain about them when we get home?” “I love them. I will wear them.” “Well lets run across the street and see what other choices DSW had. I was hoping to distract him.
I diverted him with shoes at Marshalls. For a moment, he considered Ben 10 shoes and then nixed the idea. So we looked for a pair for me. He seemed to enjoy playing shoe salesman and carrying boxes of shoes in my size. He used his persuasive powers to get me to buy the adult version of his skull shoes and a host of other shoes I’d never wear.
I was most impressed that he identified a pair of shoes that he liked, not ones that we wanted him to wear. The last time I did this, we bought him a pair of Vans slip-ons with flames running through them. In the end, we didn’t find shoes for me and bought the World shoes for him. Despite our differences, I really enjoy seeing how excited he is to show everyone we know his shoes.
My wife has made it a point to tell everyone that “his father let him buy those.”