Posts Tagged ‘activities’

Alone On the Curb

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
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I have no doubt that every child who went to elementary school during the 1970’s experienced the same trauma I did. Fortunately, I only experienced it once – or at least I only remember one incident. There may have been more, but none has stuck with me like the one that occurred that day in second grade.

I remember feeling completely lost and alone as I sat on the curb waiting for a mom who hadn’t arrived.

I don’t remember why I had stayed after school. I just remember that I did and was quite excited to do so. Bon the curback in those days, afterschool activities weren’t the norm for the under ten crowd. We had music lessons and 4-H and Scouts, but none of those activities were associated with school and there was no such thing as afterchool care.

Whatever the reason my friends and I had stayed late, it must have been  a special occasion. I still remember chatting with my friends as we stood on the sidewalk by the playground fence waiting for our moms to pick us up. (In those days, the moms were always the ones who picked up the kids.)

As other moms began to drive up to the curb and my friends climbed into their cars (usually into the front seat, generally without seat belts and always with absolutely no concept of contraptions called car seats), our group got smaller and smaller and smaller.

Eventually, I was the only one still standing on the sidewalk until I tired of that and sat on the curb.

I know anyone born after 1980 is wondering where the adult supervision and teachers were. My answer is “I don’t know.”

Back in those days, vigilance didn’t exist like it does today, and teachers usually went home when the students did. There was a sense of trust in the parents and a sense of safety in daylight – especially in small towns. There was also a belief that situations usually worked themselves out.

Except when they didn’t.

As the sun started making its journey behind the Juniper-covered hills that surrounded the town in which I lived, I sat on the curb and waited. And waited. And waited.

Eventually, a teacher who had stayed late happened upon me as she walked to her car. She didn’t, however, see the same gravity in the situation that I did.

“What’s the matter?” she asked. “You look as though you lost your best friend.”

I remember contemplating her words. My good friends had all left me, but I didn’t think I’d actually lost them. But I didn’t share those thoughts. Instead, I told her I was waiting for my mom.

“Oh, I know your mom,” the teacher said. “I know she’ll be here soon.”

And she was right. My mom did arrive…eventually,

In those days before Google calendars and other electronic reminders, she had simply forgotten that she was supposed to pick me up at school. And, in those days before cell phones, answering machines and vigilant school personnel, I was powerless to remind her. Those things just happened to those of us who grew up in the 1970’s.

Mom may have told me why she didn’t worry when the bus arrived without me. Or she may have told me that she had a meeting and she thought she had babysitting duties covered. I don’t remember because her words never registered. I was too relieved and grateful that I wasn’t going to have to spend the night on the curb and wear the same clothes to school the next day.

I was reminded of this incident a few weeks ago as a read a post that has been recycled through social media a few times. It is a reminder of what would now be considered parenting fails but  were acceptable when I was young. And my generation survived anyway.

We didn’t wear bike helmets (although I do remember the humiliation of swimming caps). We played outside with no supervision (unless you count our dogs which all ran free without any type of fence – even electric.) And we weren’t electronically connected to everyone we knew.

If we were out of our parents sight, they never knew where we were, if we were safe or when we would actually arrive home.

I can’t imagine being a parent during that time period, and I give my parents kudos for being so strong.

Apparently, I am much weaker.

Both of my children have cell phones with which they use to constantly communicate with me.

I know if their plans have changed and they are going home with a friend after school. And when they text me such information, I can immediately text the friend’s parents to confirm.

I know when the band bus is running late or early, so I can arrive at the school in a timely manner. I don’t have to sit in a parking lot for hours waiting for a bus to arrive and imagining all that could possibly have gone wrong.

And I know that the school has my cell phone number so I don’t have to be sitting at my office desk to get a notice that my child is sick or is in detention (yes I have experienced that parental fail.)

Those of us who had the true 1970’s childhood experience may laugh at how much we protect our children these days, but deep in our hearts, we are also extremely grateful. Changes in technology and society ensure that our children will never be sitting alone on a curb waiting for a ride home.

And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

Trina Bartlett lives with her husband, Giles Snyder, their teenage son and daughter, two cats and one enormous German Shepherd. When she’s not being a mom, volunteering or writing, Trina works full time as a director at a nonprofit, social service organization.

Life with a 5-month-old baby

Monday, January 19, 2015
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The great unknown – that’s what I considered my future when I was pregnant. I had no idea what life would be like with a baby. So, instead of consulting a psychic and a crystal ball, I read mommy blogs. My favorite? “Day in the life” posts. I read them all: stay-at-home moms, working moms, work-from-home moms and everything in between. For me, it’s reassuring to see that I’m not alone in having weeks of clean laundry living in a pile in my laundry room, or that in that “cooking dinner” is sometimes throwing in a frozen pizza. So here it is, your stereotypical “day in the life” post. If hearing about how long it takes me to get out of the house in the morning isn’t your cup of tea, then I suggest you stop reading now. I don’t pretend that my days are especially difficult or original; I would say they are pretty average (or below average!). Enjoy…

  • 3:00 a.m. Wake up to baby crying on the monitor. Change diaper, nurse baby. She luckily goes right back to sleep. Crawl back in bed.
  • 5:30 a.m. Wake up to baby crying on the monitor. Chris gets up, changes her diaper, and brings her to me to nurse. Then he takes her downstairs to eat breakfast and I get in the shower. The day has begun!
  • 6:05 a.m. Realize I am not in the shower but still in bed. Actually get up and get into the shower.
  • 6:30 a.m. Chris passes AJ on to me. Take her downstairs with me to eat breakfast (cereal) and make coffee.
  • 6:45 a.m. Back upstairs to finish getting ready. Put AJ in her bouncer chair and she watches me put on makeup and do my hair. Talk nonsense to keep AJ entertained, topics range from how to put on mascara to why I love Taylor Swift. Then Chris picks her up and changes her into her clothes for the day.
  • 7:15 a.m. Finished getting ready. Wonder how early I am going to have to get up once AJ is mobile and I have to chase her around all morning. Go downstairs and pack my pumping gear; Chris gets AJ’s bottles ready. Say goodbye to Chris and AJ (he takes her to daycare) and leave for work.
  • 7:34 a.m. Walk into work (thankful for a short commute).
  • 7:34 – 8:30 a.m. Emails, read news, to-do list, coffee.
  • 8:30 a.m. Pumping time. Bring computer into the motherhood room with me so I can continue working.
  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Work. Return phone calls, write emails, tackle to-do list.
  • 10:45 a.m. Pump again, earlier than normal because I have an off-site meeting during lunch.
  • 11:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Off-site lunch meeting.
  • 2:30 p.m. Pump.
  • 3:00 p.m. Work.
  • 4:30 p.m. Leave work to pick up AJ at daycare. Wonder if she will still be in the clothes she arrived in (it’s about a 50/50 chance). She is!
  • 5:15 p.m. Arrive home after a car ride of AJ crying. I think she prefers 102.7 to NPR. Lament that it takes me 10 minutes to get to work and 45 to get home. Throw on black yoga pants and a T-shirt and immediately change AJ and get her in the bath, something we’ve been doing to combat cold and flu season.
  • 5:45 p.m. AJ is out of the bath, toweled, diapered, lotioned and PJ’ed. Nurse her. Chris gets home around this time.
  • 6:15 p.m. Chris plays with AJ while I tackle dinner. Despite not having been to the grocery store in ages, decide that we absolutely cannot eat out and scrounge the fridge for something edible. Surprisingly come up with an egg, cheese and Quinoa combination with a side of green beans and a slice (or three) of bacon.
  • 7:15 p.m. Eat dinner, then play with AJ. Make lots of funny faces, help her sit up, and listen to the chirps and squeals of her toys. Chris cleans up and washes the dirty bottles and pumping accessories.
  • 7:40 p.m. AJ gets fussy and I know the reason. So it’s upstairs for bedtime, which involves nursing, lullabies and rocking.
  • 8:30 p.m. AJ decided to rally and is wide-awake. Give up on the rocking and take her into our bedroom, where she falls asleep to the sounds of the previous night’s episode of Modern Family.
  • 9:00 p.m. Put AJ in her crib and creep out as quietly as possible. Choose bill paying over laundry folding for my end-of-the-evening activity. Wish that a wiggle of my nose would transfer the two baskets of clean, unfolded clothes neatly into drawers.
  • 10:00 p.m. Wash face, brush teeth, and call it a night.

Sprinkle in a few meltdowns and a diaper run here and there, and this is my typical day with my 5-month-old. The weekdays go by incredibly fast, and the weekends even faster.

Schedule, What Schedule?

Friday, September 26, 2014
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Am I the only one who was delusional about babies and routines? When I was pregnant, I imagined my maternity leave on a daily schedule. Every day would have set walks, playtime, naptime and feeding times. Every night would have a set bedtime. I thought I would have time every day to cook dinner and get some things done around the house. I even thought I might tackle some of my long put-off projects and personal goals.

I quickly learned that newborns have a schedule of their own. I’m now learning that it will be a while before I can expect AJ to be on a schedule at all. And my hopes of completing those projects gathering dust in my house and brain? I now call it a successful day if I have time to unload the dishwasher.

AJ was eating every three hours almost on the dot for about two weeks. Then she had a growth spurt, and would go an hour and twenty-two minutes and need fed again, then it would be three hours and fifty-two minutes, and so on, driving my structured-minded-self crazy. Now the times she eats differ day to day.

Some days she sleeps almost all day, while others she doesn’t nap at all. We will have three or four days of almost no crying, and then a whole day is spent in tears.

If I wake up wanting to go somewhere by 11, I’m lucky if I can get us there by 2. There is always a diaper blowout, unscheduled feeding or random cry that puts a kink in my plans.

We are currently trying to set a bedtime, which has gone about as well as everything else I’ve tried to do on a schedule.

I thought I was the only one struggling with this until the topic came up while catching up with a friend. We realized we were both going through the same thing. Although I feel for every mom struggling with this, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

I know eventually AJ will get on a schedule. It will be when she’s ready, not when I am. So for now I’ve decided to (try to) embrace the spontaneity of each day.

I’m learning new things every day as a mom, flexibility being the latest.

In Defense of a Little Drama

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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I spent lat week immersed in mask

The drama became so all-consuming  that I actually had to take a couple of days off work to deal with dysfunctional family dynamics, jealousy and romance. And I enjoyed every minute.

That’s because the drama was on stage, where drama belongs.

My daughter was in a youth summer production of Cinderella, and her involvement required parental involvement. I supervised, ushered, sold gifts, stayed up past midnight several nights in a row and made food for the cast party.

But, as my husband so eloquently said, since I’m the one who got my daughter interested in drama, I’m responsible for all that involves.

What he doesn’t realize is that, for such a generally pragmatic person, I crave drama. I grew up with a dad who performed in local theater, and I loved going to plays, especially musicals. But even at a young age, I knew there was more to theater than the story the audience sees on stage.

In reality, the audience members actually get the short end of the deal. That’s because the genuine magic of theater doesn’t happen on the stage. Sometimes, it doesn’t even happen backstage.

It happens with the voice teachers who encourage their students to take a risk and audition for a part in a musical.

It happens with artists who can envision a set and the carpenters and painters who can build it.

It happens in the pit with musicians who can pick up an instrument and learn a piece of music instantly.

And most of all, it occurs in the relationships that are built not with the intent of beating another team or winning a championship. but on making people smile, think, cry, imagine and relate to others.

When a team is focused entirely on that, they can only encourage each other and cheer each other on.

Last week, an adult (make that this adult) made a comment about an actor’s off-key performance. My daughter didn’t even let me finish the sentence.

“He’s nervous, Mom,” she said harshly. “Don’t be critical.”

Last week, I heard parents debating why some youth always get a speaking part while others don’t (yes, this parent was involved in that conversation.) My daughter told me that being part of a cast is fun no matter what the role is.

Last week, I tolerated mothers who worried over hairstyles and costumes. At the same time, I witnessed kids who are generally labeled as misfits being included, hugged and encouraged by their peers.

Last week, I saw adults bringing in large bouquets of fresh flowers to bestow upon the actresses, musicians, directors and producers. At the same time, I sold four plastic  flowers to a member of the cast who spent a great deal of time deliberating over just the right message to send to four girls in the chorus: girls who didn’t have any lines.  According to the notes the actor finally wrote, all four girls were “amazing stars.”

And he was right.

Everyone involved in the production was contributing his or her unique gifts to make the show a success. Every parent who lost sleep and hauled kids to performances and fundraisers made the show possible. And each person who bought a ticket was telling our young people that theater is important.

I never had that opportunity. For whatever reason, the theater department at my high school was defunct when I graduated. The football, basketball, baseball, track and volleyball programs were all fully supported, but I never heard one person complain that my class never put on a school play.

That saddens me as much today as it did when I was a teenager.

I know the odds of anyone becoming a Hollywood star are just as astronomical as the odds of  someone becoming a star athlete. But the odds of a person using the skills they learned in theater – confidence, positive relationships, public speaking and public relationships are extremely good.

And if we support local and youth theater – and the drama that comes with it – the odds are even better.

It’s time we play those odds.

Great (and Not So Great) Expectations

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Sometimes, I think the hardest part of being a parent has nothing to do with my children and everything to do with how I react to other people.

I know most are well-intentioned, but their expectations of my children are sometimes completely off base.

Take, for example, the assumptions people automatically make about my teenage son and the sports he plays.

The thing is, my son has never had much interest in playing sports, and when he hit adolescence, he lost any interest he once had.

Over the years, I’ve come to accept that their questions have absolutely nothing to do with my son and have everything to do with other people’s perceptions of how the world works. They are trying to make conversation and often feel bad when their efforts fall flat.

So I generally try to move the conversation forward by talking about his musical interests.

But a few weeks ago, I started redirecting questions about my daughter.

She has been rehearsing for a local stage production of the musical Annie, and naturally everyone is asking what character she is playing.

Initially, I said “she is only in the chorus.”

But Kendall doesn’t think she is “only” in the chorus. She believes she is a part of something great, and she doesn’t care that she doesn’t have a speaking role.

She simply loves the theater.

She’s always loved singing and dressing up, and musical theater provides the opportunity to do both. While I am surrounded by parents bragging about their children’s roles, I’m not bragging at all. Instead, I am watching my daughter glow because she is doing what she loves.

Her happiness on the stage has served as yet another learning stage for me as a parent.

There is nothing wrong with having pride when our children excel, but there is even greater satisfaction witnessing them get passionate about something bigger than themselves.

Nice Girls

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
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The girl’s costumes matched the costumes of the other dancers, but her moves were nothing like theirs.

Instead of tapping, she stood awkwardly in the middle of the stage and occasionally shuffled her feet. Instead of jumping and leaping, she swayed from side to side. And her arms hung limply at her side instead of moving in sync with the other girls.

But as both of her dance numbers ended, she waved wildly at the audience then clapped three times.

Not only did the audience cheer enthusiastically, but so did the dancers backstage.

Even though she’s been in my daughter’s dance recitals for the past few years, I only recently learned that the girl’s name is Grace. I still don’t know the exact nature of her cognitive disability. What I do know is that I’ve never once heard anyone make fun of her or complain that she is ruining a dance number.

In fact, the only time I’ve heard anyone talking about her was this past weekend when I spent numerous hours as a backstage mom “supervising” a group of middle school dancers.

In reality, I did very little supervising and a whole lot of listening.

As the girls watched the performances on a grainy television feed in their dressing room, they didn’t point out anyone’s mistakes or missteps. Instead they cheered on and complimented everyone, including the dancer who didn’t really dance.

“She is always so happy,” said one girl. “That’s just adorable.”

“She has a signature move,” said one of the star dancers. “She claps three times and then everyone else claps.”

“Have you noticed how all the other girls in her class take care of her?” asked another. “That’s so awesome.”

I agreed that was awesome. But I don’t think the girls recognized just how awesome they are too.

In a society in which adolescent girls are often depicted as being self-absorbed and mean-spirited, the dancers were building each other up instead of tearing each other down. In a world in which out performing others is often described as success, they were more focused on being kind. And on a stage where a disabled girl simply wanted to dance, they simply wanted to cheer her on.

If that isn’t reason to have hope for our future, I don’t know what is.

Whatever Happened to Sundays?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
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I generally don’t wallow in memories or think my best days are behind me. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy reminiscing. I do.

But I also know that everything looks better in the rear-view mirror when there’s no place to turn around, and life wasn’t really any better in the past. Well, it wasn’t any better with the exception of Sundays.

Sundays used to be the one day of the week that families were guaranteed time with each other.

Not anymore.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when youth sports and other activities began creeping into Sundays from every other day on the calendar. But they are no longer creeping. They have arrived and are taking over.

Just last week I was talking to an Episcopal priest who was lamenting that even though confirmation has been on her church calendar for almost a year, her students now have conflicts because of sports.

That saddens me.

I believe our children should be involved in activities, but they shouldn’t be over involved. Building resumes for our children shouldn’t be more important than building in family time.

Family time isn’t a few minutes of conversation in the car while rushing a child from activity to activity.

Family time isn’t sitting on the bleachers with other families while you talk about, rather than with, your children.

And family time isn’t about ensuring the homework is done or that the latest musical number is rehearsed.

Real family time is about shutting out the rest of the world and simply spending time with each other doing nothing that will ever be in a college application and everything that will create life-long memories.

Sundays used to be the day that everyone got that, and my parents were masters at making the most of them.

My mom always had Sunday dinner on the table by 1:00 PM, and we were all expected to be there no matter what. Sunday afternoons were magical because we were never expected to accomplish anything. And every Sunday evening, we made popcorn and watched television together. At some point in the evening, we had to begin preparations for the next school or work day, but for a few hours on Sunday we were simply a family unit.

I wish I could say I’m following the tradition my parents set, but I’m not. I too have gotten sucked into a culture of  “go.”  If and when my children don’t have something on their schedule on Sunday, I’m trying to tackle all the chores left undone during the work week.

But they say that recognizing a problem is the first step, and I’m definitely taking it.

I don’t want to look in the rear-view mirror and regret everything I didn’t see and enjoy because I was going to fast. I may not be able to turn around and go back, but I can slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life – simple pleasures like spending time with family on Sunday afternoon.

Dog days of summer

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
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One of us is having fun this summer.

  I have a confession to make: I hate summer.

  I didn’t always feel like this, certainly not as a kid, certainly not when I lived in Florida where it is summer year-round.

  But now I have a preschool-aged daughter. And I work from home. So summer has become a challenge.

  In a perfect world, our summer would be filled with things like sunscreen, freeze pops, lightning bugs in glass jars, hot dogs on the grill, splashing in the pool and sleeping late.

  In reality, it’s me struggling to come up with a cheap activity for each day that will entertain and/or wear out a 4-year-old. It’s me struggling to get a few moments to edit a few stories so I can get paid. It’s me struggling to stay awake late into the night to work after getting up at the crack of dawn (that sleeping in thing hasn’t caught on with my small person yet).

  Summer is also a struggle for me, because, well, I’m a homebody. I like my house. I like being in it. I feel safe and comfortable there. But when the sun is shining I feel like I should be out doing something. I love those winter days when we don’t even get out of our pajamas. In the summer though, I feel compelled to get my daughter outside. Of course within five minutes we’re both covered in mosquito bites…

  I also like structure and routine. So does my daughter. These endless, unscheduled days are a bit scary. During the school year, we’ve got it down pat. Wake up early, preschool dropoff, rush home to work, preschool pickup, have lunch, hang out, sometimes a nap, playground or playdate or playtime, prepare dinner, play, read, bath, bed. Rinse. Repeat.

  Don’t get me wrong. We are spending lots of quality time together and doing fun summer stuff. We’ve been to the pool and library, we go to the concerts on the levee every Friday, we’ve done FestivALL, we’ve hit every playground, we’re learning to ride a bike, we’ve been to the Clay Center, we’ve been to movies, we’ve taken a trip into the mountains. Sometimes we just run up and down the steps in front of the Capitol. (Hey, whatever works.)

  It’s the working from home thing that’s throwing me. It’s virtually impossible to accomplish that with a loud (but adorable) 4-year-old in the house.

  I’m guessing I’m not alone in my summer conundrum. What do other moms do during these long summer days trying to juggle work and childcare? I’m trying to plan ahead to avoid this next summer. I’ve sent my daughter to a few camps at her preschool. But I’m wondering what the other options are in Charleston. Do you send your kids to daycare? Hire a babysitter? Any other fun camps around? Or do you just suck it up and count down to fall?

  And what about moms who stay at home with their young kids, because I fit that bill too? How do you fill your days to keep yourself and your kids from going totally mad?

Ain’t life a kick in the pants?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
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Hello, it’s me, a daddy (a.k.a. “under-evolved mommy”) filling in for Carrie this week. Usually you can find me at If you read far enough into this post, I think you’ll figure out why.

All right, so if anybody’s gonna ruin my kid’s day through the arbitrary, harsh interpretation of a rule, it’s gonna be me. So imagine my surprise to show up at a peewee soccer game to find my little goofball disqualified for her footwear.

The athlete on the left was suspended one game for improper footwear. Also, see those taped-up earrings? Illegal, too. The athlete on the right gets away with the sunglasses only by being super-cute.

This has not been the greatest year anyway to be a pint-sized outdoor soccer player, unless Noah is your coach and the animals happen to be on your team. (“OK, I need two midfielders, two fullbacks and so on and so forth. Perfect!”) So even though there are only three weeks left in the season, this past weekend featured the first, actual, not-rained-out games.

The trouble at our house was conflicts. My wife had another commitment, and my two goobers had two games on separate fields at the same time. And I don’t have Star Trek-style beaming technology. Well, I couldn’t leave my littlest knucklehead alone because, for a solid hour, I would have horrifying images of her somehow winding up in a full body cast. That meant I arranged a ride for Big Sister and went to Little Sister’s game. After watching little dudes cluster around a single ball for 60 minutes, we rushed to the car, drove a couple of miles and got to Big Sister’s game around halftime. The skies were blue, the sun was shining, the kids on the field were shouting with joy and … my kid was upset out of her mind.

As it turns out, what I had missed was a referee lining up all the 8-year-olds as if they were newly-enlisted servicemen and checking out their footwear. I’ve only seen referees for that age group a couple of times, and I’ve never seen an inspection. I have no idea why it happened. Maybe the Federal Aviation Administration took over the rulebook and insisted it be as difficult to play soccer as it is to board an airplane. Well, my kid, along with her closest pal, flunked the footwear test. This is because… prepare to gasp… their shoes had toe cleats, which is athletic cleats with a rubber bump on the front.

Technically, that means she was wearing softball shoes. Which, if you want to get even more technical, makes the guy who bought the shoes (me) a doofus but does not make the wearer of the offending shoes a cheater or a danger to anyone. OK, well, maybe I’m kind of wrong because here is the rule spelled out on Page Freakin’ 4 of the rules, which I’m sure you’ve read and memorized: “Footwear must be worn. The officials during the pre-game inspection must deem the footwear non-dangerous. Examples of dangerous shoes include baseball spikes or baseball cleats with toe cleat or any sharp metal cleats.”

I get it. The idea is you might kick someone just a little too dead-on with that toe cleat and injure their Achilles tendon or some part even more sensitive. But have you seen my kid play soccer? I have. Aggressive is not her middle name. Her middle name is Marie, if you want to get REALLY technical, which, apparently, you do. What she does when she’s playing soccer is if the ball happens to come within a couple of yards of her, she’ll drift up near it and take a casual look around to see if anybody else seems to want to kick the ball AND SHE WILL LET THEM. If not, she will give the ball a gentle tap, whereupon the opposing team will recover the ball and score. She wouldn’t be a danger to anyone, even if she had Chinese throwing stars in her socks and a flamethrower strapped to her back.


Had I been there, I would have thrown a giant fit like Billy Martin back with the New York Yankees, kicking wet sod all over the place with my no-toe-cleat shoes. (In reality, I would have rushed us all off to the same dumb retail store where I bought the shoes in the first place and bought some new ones. Or, I would have run off to a nearby tool store to get a hacksaw to whack away at the offending referee toe cleat, thus making my goober eligible.)

But since I showed up at halftime and there was really nothing that could be done by then and because I was totally flummoxed since I’d had the entire situation explained to me by an exasperated 8-year-old, I sat down yoga-style, ready for some stupid affirmation and ignoramus reflection.


So on the other hand, this sucked. True, we had unwittingly broken a rule. And you have to pay the penalty when you break a rule even if it is an arbitrary one that doesn’t take into account your good character or solid citizenship. Adults learn this all the time, like when they get stopped on the highway for exceeding the speed limit with the police officer paying no attention to the mitigating circumstance that a really good song had just come on the radio.

What I mean is, at 8 years old, she’s already learning that a faceless bureaucracy can unfeelingly grind you against its wheel of inflexible rules the first time you’ve gotten to play soccer, after a season of rain, on a beautiful day, when you are wearing the wrong stupid shoes that your doofus dad bought you, and when that same doofus dad was at your embarrassing little sister’s game and not there to defend you and, in fact, you had no intention of kicking anyone — not even the actual ball.

Life’s not fair.

But I’m the one who’s supposed to teach that. Not some dumb soccer referee.

Kids book club at South Charleston Library

Friday, February 11, 2011
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The South Charleston Library is offering a book club each Thursday evening in March.
“Read and discuss great stories with Miss Brenna and enjoy story-related activities and refreshments.”
Children in grades 1 to 3 will be reading “Because of Winn Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo and will meet from 5:30 to 6:20 p.m.
Children in grades 4 and 5 will be reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl and will meet from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
To register, call 304-7446561 or stop by the library. Registration starts Monday (Feb. 14) at 9 a.m.