we are working on a new routine at home on saturday mornings.
ander has started learning how to play soccer. the parent-founded group includes a bunch of kids all around ander's age. parents/caregivers participate fully, and i'm not talking about shouting or griping from the sidelines. we are all in there stretching, rotating to skill-building stations, and cheering for efforts made. younger and older siblings join in, too.
the coach, a dad who has played soccer in a former life, is gentle, enthusiastic, and genuinely wants the kids to have fun and think of this as a good experience. there are plenty of high-fives, hugs, and smiles from all the adults around.
ander was excited to get his uniform and special soccer socks. he picked out a bright new neon soccer ball and great goal to practice with (although it quickly turned into some version of a control station for his space rocket play). he even liked running around the field and kicking the ball into the goal.
there's a lot of coordination involved in a team sport like this, so it can quickly become confusing and at times, overwhelming. it's all right, though, because this group doesn't take issue with taking a water or snack break or choosing to sit on the sidelines and watch for a while before getting back into it. ander's a watcher. he'll observe and look and listen first until he can get his brain around what he needs to do. i have to keep that in mind when introducing something new, not to push or rush, but explain and reassure.
of course, there's also bribery.
ander was tired out and ready to go before the end of practice, so he was not enthusiastic about getting into a group picture. no amount of persuasion would do. so i pulled out my Trick of Last Resort - a promise of a smoothie afterwards if he could just go and do this one thing.
"a strawberry smoothie with whipped cream on the end of the straw from dutch brothers?"
and off he marched, without hesitation or further reluctance, to be in the photo. of course, he had to tell EVERYONE where he was going next. i felt a little guilty, but only for a moment, because i had been planning on going to dutch brothers anyway as a treat for the kids. i has just figured out how to turn this into a winning solution for both of us. not bad, mama :)
diana has just been introduced to the joys of italian sodas at dutch brothers. so many sweet syrups to select from. mmmmm.
so now, sunny summer saturday mornings have become slightly more satisfying.