September 13, 2007

Sugar and Spice? Snips and Snails?

Water Break
What exactly makes boys and girls so different? While there are obvious exceptions to this rule, so many boys and girls follow the paths we pretty much expect them to.

I have three girls. Therefore, I have no idea what makes boys ‘tick.’ 4YO is getting to the point where she doesn’t want much to do with boys. I can only assume it’s because she has only sisters. But, isn’t her daddy a boy? While he’s not an actual boy, he certainly fits the bill in most ways! 4YO is perfectly comfortable with David. She isn’t the princess that one would imagine her to be when she’s playing with her daddy. They play rough, almost like a boy and his father would. There is wrestling, tossing, and a lot of hanging upside down involved when David plays with his girls. They love every minute of it, too.

So, what would cause 4YO to not want to play with boys? She is on her first soccer team and half of its members are boys. They are all under six years of age and all over the place. Well, the boys are anyway. My daughter and one other girl (who happens to be the actual coach’s daughter) are the ones who will, presumably, be looking for clovers in the grass during their first official game. They make up their own sort of team. Usually, one of them cracks under the pressure of an actual scrimmage and melts down right there on the field. While the assistant coach is trying to calm the first one down, the second one has her own meltdown on the other side of the field. The other two girls on the team have both played soccer before and pretty much just hang out and watch the boys. The four boys never even seem to notice the girls are not there and just keep playing. After all, that’s what they’re there for, right?

The thing of it is that 4YO actually seemed to like soccer. At first. She finally got to the point where she would go out on the field with her coaches and teammates and pay close attention to the directions from. She would stretch and dribble the ball down the field like she’d been doing it forever. She was slow, but only because she is cautious and attentive to details. She likes to follow the rules and do things the right way. In so many ways, I am not worried about her starting kindergarten. But, I still have my share of worries.

She just seems to crumble under the pressure of competition. This isn’t even really actual pressure she’s under but she doesn’t see it that way. During Tuesday’s scrimmage, the coaches decided to make my child a goalie. That seemed like a great idea at the time. Getting her out of the actual hustle and bustle of the crowd of children surrounding the ball seemed like it would be a nice change of pace for her. That is, until that group of kids started heading in her direction. She then proceeded to lose her cool before they even got close to her. 4YO was a sobbing mess by the time the ball got to the goal and the assistant coach jumped in her place to block it. The coach's daughter then proceeded to run to the sideline and have her own little tantrum. Just like clockwork. They make a great team, don't they?

During one of the first scrimmages, however, 4YO ended up getting knocked down. It was a complete accident. When you have 6 young children all running and kicking toward the same object someone is bound to be kicked or tripped in the process. But why did it have to be mine? She scares so easily and she was just warming up to the fact that she would be playing with boys and now, because a boy was the one who tripped her, we are back to square one again.

Don’t get me wrong because I know my child will be knocked down here and there throughout her life. That’s okay. That’s how she will grow and learn. But, how will she get past her own demons and get through this season?

We’ve resorted to bribery.

As much as David dislikes cats, he has agreed to get her one IF she plays in every game this season. He just wants to see her try. We already have one cat and she is basically waiting for him to die so she can get a new one. She has been talking about the cat she gets “when Shadow dies” for months now. For now I will be Googling pictures of cats on the internet and looking at books, just to keep her motivated. She has talked about getting a while, fluffy cat and naming her ‘EMBOLEA.’ Don’t ask. I think she heard the name ‘Emily’ and decided to put her own spin on it.

So, please keep your fingers crossed. Tomorrow is her first official soccer game and I’m feeling the perfect combination of excitement and dread. This feeling is oddly familiar to me since I’ve become a mother. In the meantime, I’d better Google ‘cat pictures’ and get some printed out…just in case. If you see a woman at a soccer game dangling a picture of a cat on the sidelines, it's probably me.

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