When I tell people that Alex, who is now three, wouldn’t let me out of his sight for the first year of his life, they normally give me That Look. The one that sort of implies that I’m a helicopter parent, you know, like I hover around him, so that Ickle Alex doesn’t DARE get a boo-boo wifout his Momma RIGHT THERE to cuddle him up and protect him from the big, bad world!!!

Considering I informed Twitter I was shopping for a bag of glass and new gun to give him for his birthday, I don’t think anything could be farther from the truth. I love my kid to chunky pieces, I could have done without the suffocation of the first year. Bumps, bruises, those are part of childhood. And shit, one look at my legs would tell you those are part of my adulthood too.

After his sister was born, I was fortunate enough to secure him a spot in an in-home daycare for three hours a day. It was probably the smartest thing I’ve done–even smarter than the time I tried to whittle a model of the Parthenon out of a marshmallow–because for three hours a day, the kid is with other kids the same age. He’s had to LEARN to adapt to a life outside of his mother.

Of course, he HATED. LOATHED it, even. The lady is fantastic, the other kids are all under five and she does stuff with them that’s full of the awesome like going to the fire station to see the trucks! Story-time at the library! They went to Costco to make cupcakes! I mean, life is good for Alex.

Now, my slow-to-warm-up son loves it. On the weekends he asks to go to her house.

Alex is just a particular brand of finicky that reminds me of both my father and brother, both of whom are so set in their ways that they can hardly stand it when things do not go according to plan. It appears that not only does my son resemble my brother in appearance, he’s taken after the Sherrick side of the family in temperament as well as sense of humor.

(Pithy aside: He told his first joke last week, which he found UPROARIOUSLY funny, “P is for POOPY! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” And Alex, he has the best laugh of any of my children, so we all laughed along, first out of shock that he’d told a joke and then because he was in hysterics.

My child, all right.)

St. Charles is a Soccer Town, you see, and we’re all practically expelled from the womb clutching a wee soccer ball. So it was merely a matter of time before Alex was handed his, and as he’s spent the better part of two years kicking soccer balls, I figured this would be like heaven for him.

What I DIDN’T realize is that Alex would have a problem with being on his own to do it.

But we don’t give up in my family, at least not on my fucking watch, so I’ll be dipped in pigshit before I let my kid leave soccer early because he’s unhappy about it being DIFFERENT. He’s slow-to-warm-up, which means that in a couple of weeks months I’ll have to pry him off the field, but for that moment, I was stuck, sweating my balls off, and holding my son, wondering what to do.

The other parents were all sitting in their lawn chairs watching their kids play soccer, looking at me, bemused.

Dave was wrestling with Amelia, who was trying like hell to wander into a Ebola-ridden puddle and shrugged at me.

I looked at Alex, still happily nestled in my arms.

Then I did the only thing I could think to do.

I put him down, grabbed his hand and marched my sandal-clad feet down to the soccer field and said, “Let’s play some soccer, kiddo.”

There I was, the World’s Most overgrown three-year old, playing a mean game of Red Light, Green Light on the field with the kids like a damn asshole, while the other parents looked on, laughing. I was Billy Madison, except in soccer.

You know what? It fucking worked. I mean, I looked like a bigger moron than normal, jogging around the field like an overgrown toddler, but still, the kid stayed, he’s happy about going back next week, and soccer is going to be just fine.

Thank Baby Jesus, Ben can play his violin (he has perfect pitch!) without me up there playing alongside him. Because I’d hate to upstage some little kid when I busted out my version of “Enter Sandman” on the heavy metal cello.

53 thoughts on “In The Heat, I Swear Mr. Penguin Was Laughing At Me. He’s An Ass.

  1. My son went through that for the last two weeks of soccer. (weird runs in our family.) I wish that we all had been in the same class. Because I would’ve TOTALLY KICKED YOUR BUTT in red light, green light.

  2. So glad I wasn’t there. I would have felt the competition and then I would have gone out there to kick all the three year old’s asses at red/green light. Everyone wins and gets a trophy at that age right? I’m dusting off the shelf now. Wait, I don’t dust. I’m blowing off the shelf now. Wait, I don’t blow. Dammit, I’ve got the perfect spot picked out for my 3″ trophy.

  3. My girl is slow to warm up too. I think the refusal to participate is like Intro to Social Anxiety and it seems to occur at age 3. Or else it’s Let’s See How Mad Mom Gets When I Refuse To Do Something She’s Already Paid For 101. Sometimes I can’t really tell. We had to leave my daughter’s second from last swim class (she’d been fine up until this class) because she absolutely refused to get in the water. I talked to her, I encouraged her, I tried to force it, I showed her that I was angry with her, and then we left and discussed how she was supposed to behave in class, and she was fine the next week. We started dance class, and she didn’t participate much, but she didn’t scream and cry either, so I’m counting it as progress.

    Red light/Green light is an awesome game!

  4. See? It’s stuff like this that shows what kind of parent you are ~ one that is full of The Awesome. Other parents would have berated their kid, or gotten embarrassed in front of the other adults, or given up. You teach your kids to persevere and you recognize their personality and what they need as individuals.

    It’s why I love you. Well, that & because the image of you playing Red Light, Green Light with the other 3 year olds makes me grin. 🙂

    1. I hope that my kids learn that you can never, ever give up. Not when it’s something that will make you happy. If I thought for a second that he would hate soccer, I wouldn’t have signed him up for it. He won’t. There’s no way.

      And I don’t give a flying shit what other people think of me. They can laugh, You Tube me, mock me, I don’t care. Red Light, Green Light is awesome.


  5. Aunt Becky you are a great Mommy kuddos to you for going out there to make Alex feel better… and I am starting to think its the name your son is “Alexander” also right? My son has the same name except we call him Xander and we are in month 18 of his life and he is still has not realized that the cord has been cut. Please tell me its gets better.

    Keep in mind I work full time also so he is with a in home sitter all day. He even hates the hubby any suggestions people?

  6. Havoc hangs back to the very end to do anything new. He has to see everyone else do it first & see what they do & what might be different about how some people do it & whether he likes those differences & whether anyone has gotten into trouble for do something & whether anyone has died of it yet or if the zombies grab you at random. Then once he has seen what everyone else did or did not do and how it turned out, then he will give it a try.

    Even just asking for an ice cream cone at the summer soft serve truck. If he has never been in the situation before it must be subjected to serious scrutiny and analysis before he attempts anything.

    Meanwhile I just want a chocolate cone already kid so get a move on!

  7. This could be about my 3-year-old son. His twin sister is outgoing, but he clings to us.

    I would be out there on that soccer field, too. Kudos.

    Frankly, I get tired of the looks from people – oh, and the comments from my mother about “enabling” him. (He’s a 3-year-old who needs encouragement, not a 35-year-old with a drinking problem, tyvm.)

  8. I have run the bases and played the field in t-ball. The things we do for our kids right? But the thing is, while I was running the bases there was a father furious at his daughter while she sat and cried on the sidelines. Poor kid, sometimes they just need a little support. since that first day, as long as my daughter knows I am willing to hold her hand and run the bases with her and that I’m not going anywhere, she doesn’t need me to actually hold her hand, just that I am willing.

  9. I wish my mom would have been like that! There are so many things I wish I could do as an adult that I would have been able to if I’d stuck with them.

    Go you!

  10. I love it that you went out on that field. Of course, if I were there, I would have joined you on the field just for the laugh and the memory.

    Do people ever ask you if you’re drunk when you’re really sober? People ask me that all the time. I was just wondering.

  11. Lady H went through that “I can’t let you out of my site” phase as well. She’d call my name if she couldn’t see me, just to hear my answer so she could figure out what exact room I was in. I got pretty sick of Mommy. I told her I changed my name and she didn’t have a Mommy any more, but she wasn’t buying it.

  12. Enter Sandman on the cello?! Are you secretly a member of sexy Finnish metal group Apocalyptica???!!!

    You totally, totally could be, because I have seen them live and they are Awesome and Hot, which are two things you also are.

  13. And how on earth do you always say that you don’t have a heart, or emotions, or whatever? You totally saw to the heart of the situation and nailed it. I wish I could have moments like that with my kids. I just keep guessing what to do until I get something right. And I really KNOW my kids, inside and out. My 2nd crotch parasite is a clinger. She will call my name (endlessly) if she realizes I am not in sight. And her clinginess has brought on all kinds of anger and resentment from crotch parasite #1. It’s fuckin fabulous. Can you come run the bases with my #1 CP so I can soothe clingy ickle Mama-calling CP #2? Thanks man!

  14. Ugh, I HATE the clingy stage. My kids both went through it and it got so bad with Joshua that I seriously considered sawing his little arms off. Fortunately for all involved the clinginess ended AND he got to keep his arms.

    On regards to the joke: in our house, Joshua came up with “P” is for penis”. And, in Bella’s case, “P” was for…prostate. Apparently I needed to not watch so much Discovery Health while they were in the room. Oh well. 🙂

  15. My son totally acts like a Ninja when he is on the soccer field. I think he hides throwing stars in his shin guards. Good for you for you for showing those three year olds how it’s done.

  16. I have SOOOO been there!! Just a few years ago! Except I have HUGE boobs, so I looked like something out of the mom’s version of baywatch. Ok, maybe nation geographic version running up and down the soccer field with my 3 year old daughter.

  17. hey at least he played! my brother sits in the grass and picks flowers or walks back over to us and asks to play with the camera. he still asks to play every season though!

  18. Oh, Aunt Becky. I wandered away for a while (weeks), but I am back now and have missed you so. You are a good mommy.

    (I spelled wandered like seven different ways, I’m still not sure it’s right.)

  19. Cookie, you rock. That was so funny and so sweet. And I love the thing about him laughing. My kid has and had a great laugh but when he was a kid, omg his jokes. He would say, The dog beside the traffic light peed, get it?

    And walk away howling with laughter like im a lame ass cause I don’t get it.

    man, so funny. so so funny. but like for all the wrong reasons…

      1. Oh hey, that is my kid’s name, too! I never made that connection!

        The thing is he’s so funny now. In a year or two I’ll need depends to hang around him or I’ll pee myself silly but when he was under 5 the only way I knew he was telling a joke was he would say some weird ass random informational statement, followed by – get it? – followed by him laughing himself silly.


  20. We signed my kid up for soccer. HOLY crap what a waste of time. Ok I lie. It was good. Because she made progress. On the first few weeks she complained about the kids using her ball. The second to the last game she refused to set one foot on the field. Sheer embarrassment because I felt like all the parents with the bad ass soccer children were staring and judging–and angry this kid got put on their all star team. But the last game? She played. Eh well. I wasn’t trying to get her ready for that college scholarship, I just wanted her to learn to be a team player. Ah well, it’s all about the experience.

    1. This could have been my experience with Ben and soccer. He was the kid staring at the clouds rather than watching the ball and while he didn’t complain, he certainly learned NOTHING. Luckily, he loves music, so I don’t feel so badly about dropping him out of soccer.

  21. Dude, you are brilliant. What I want to know is how you did not break a toe or anything else for that matter while running in sandals AND kicking soccer balls with three-year-olds. Were they magic soccer sandals?

  22. I love your stories about your kids, who are simply wonderful. As for your getting into the soccer game? — you just made my Best Mom Ever list at #1!!

  23. I keep being surprised that parenting is hard. I mean, after they’re potty trained, isn’t it supposed to be more or less smooth sailing until puberty? But there is always a new lesson–for them or me or both. Way to go, getting your butt out there on the field. I’m perpetually convinced that the entire world is judging me, and one of the many lessons I need to take from Aunt Becky is this: most of the time, they’re not judging you. But even when they are, screw them. You know what you’re doing and why, and they can go to hell.

    And I can’t wait to hear about his career as a soccer prodigy.

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