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Monday, April 7, 2014

Soccer Time

Ems here--

While Jules' life is filled with parties (whoo-hoo!), mine has started to be filled with SOCCER! As most parents of school age kids know, kids' sports and activities can quickly take over one's life. In my case, it's not that we have that many activities, it's that we have that many kids.  Having the children close in age, however, is a real blessing since the kids can be consolidated on fewer teams.  So basically, if you want to simplify life later, forget about baby spacing now!

Nate, at 11, is on a U12 travel team. It is truly a great experience for him, and we are blessed to be part of such a good group of coaches and kids. Nate looks forward to every practice (and there are three of 'em a week) and views his whole team as his friends. Yes, we are very blessed in that regard! Being a part of a team is an important life lesson--learning to trust your teammates, while stepping up so as not to disappoint them; celebrating and mourning as a unit. I've seen him thrive over the past season.  It's been great to see him being one of the younger ones on the team takes the edge off the "older child Boss" syndrome he's got going on at home.

Theo and Matt are on the U10 travel team, with daddy as the head coach.  They love having each other as teammates, and I gotta say, it's a cool thing to watch a sweet give-and-go ending in a goal by my little guys.  I feel like they've gotten closer over the past year, and a large part is their team unity.

My 45 pound gazelle. Or perhaps a leaping faun. Either way, he's a tricky little chap!

Because the boys truly love soccer, as does my husband, soccer season is very exciting for the whole family. I try to make every game, unless the weather is too horrible for the baby, and it makes for busy, wonderful Sunday afternoons outside. This past game, I brought along a loaf of bread and peanut butter, granola bars, and water, and the little kids had a rollicking good time chasing each other on the sidelines.  There are definitely worse places to spend a couple hours!

So obviously, some activities can be beneficial not just to the children, but to the family. Other activities, eh, not so much. I have had Jo enrolled in gymnastics for the past year, but just recently pulled her out. The teachers weren't particularly nurturing or supportive--I've heard one declare on multiple occasions to a slow child, "My grandma can run faster than that!"  Niiiiice.  Jo was recently moved up a group since she was no longer a beginner, but the new bunch of girls are too old for her....she's 6 and there are some 10-12 year olds in the group.  I feel like the teacher expected too much from her, both in skill and behavior.  Jo never practiced at home, and although she always told me she liked gymnastics, I just didn't see enough good emerge from the experience.

Although I do want her to be involved in something, I think I need to relax and remember that she is just 6. There will be time for her to find her interest and a positive environment in which to foster it.  I certainly know that soccer is OUT! She has made it quite clear that she is not following in her brothers' footsteps anytime soon...despite the temptation of pink cleats.....

It seems that weighing whether or not an activity is worthwhile comes down to a few factors:

1. How much does the child enjoy the sport/activity?
2. Is the environment (team, coaches, etc.) a positive one?
3. Do you have help with transportation and/or other commitments?
4. Is it worth the money?

Perhaps we have gotten a bit activity "mad" when it comes to our children....we just want them to have tons of awesome experiences! Maybe being a choosey mom is beneficial to the whole family's well-being.

Easy Rule #3466: Nothing is better than watching your children thrive in an activity they love.
Easy Rule #10335: A 12 passenger van makes for a Carpool Central.

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