Sunday, March 27, 2011

William's first soccer game

William had his very first soccer game yesterday!

The funny part is that the rainy March weather has precluded the team from having any practices except one. So this was the first time the whole team had ever been together at all. No one was sure the rain would hold off long enough for the team to play its first game, so we were all holding our breath yesterday morning, looking out the window at the clouds.

But the rain held off. And when we got the "Game On!" email from, Coach Champion...we rushed around like mad, trying to get everything together. We made it in time, although I did have to direct a last-minute wardrobe change. (How was I supposed to know the shin guards go on under the socks? I never played soccer!)

The Coach and some of his rookie players:

The phrase "herding cats" was invoked by more than a few people througout the course of the morning.

That's William wearing No. 8. Sammy (No. 2) and Leland (No. 7) are on either side of him.

William had a whole cheering section there, too. He got my iPhone and called Grandaddy Aaron yesterday morning about 8:15. We just found out that the game was on, and William wanted to make sure that his grandparents knew they were being summoned to witness the momentous event. Aaron got there early, and Diane and Mark followed a few minutes later.

Actually, there was quite a cheering section for the whole team. Three of Leland's grandparents were there, and Sammy's grandmother, grandfather, uncle and aunt were there, too. And of course, Mary Clare, Jaclyn, Bruce and I were there. The one downside of the whole morning was that David was on call and couldn't be there. That was lousy. But he'll have plenty of other chances to see his son in action.

William and Sammy prepare to put their game faces on:

William during a break in the action poses on the sideline for his mom:

Ooh, and guess what! William scored a goal! He scored a goal in his very first soccer game! Granted, it was on a free kick, but still. It counted!

That actually isn't it. That's a shot that Mary Clare got of William (he's the one in the middle) headed toward the goal. He kicked that particular shot too wide, though, and it went past the goal. Oh well. He still looks like he knows what he's doing in the picture, doesn't he?

William and Leland enjoyed playing "chase" when they weren't on the field. Don't worry, they had plenty of hustle left for when they were actually playing, too.

My little optimist had such a good time that, after it was all over, he told the coach of the other team, "This is the best day of my whole life!" He had his peeps there to cheer him on, his buddies to hang out with, and he scored a goal. AND he got a Capri-Sun and Cheez-Its afterward, too.

There is a special place in heaven for William's soccer coach, too. As we all prepared to go home, Chris asked me if there was a bar open anywhere around there. It was 10:30 a.m. But like the Army, Chris had done more than most people would do all day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Assorted anecdotes from the month of March

So it occurred to me this evening that I have a whole bunch of small stories or anecdotes that I keep meaning to post...and then somehow I never find the time to do it. None of them are really long enough for an entire post, but I still think they're worth remembering. So I'm going to put together what we in the news biz call a "round up" of news from the homefront.

Here goes!

* * *

Being a big fan of Harry Potter, William likes to make "potion" in the bathtub these days. That is, when he's not hugging Andrew half to death or sending huge waves of water out onto the bathroom floor. Okay, to be fair, Andrew really is the one who makes the most mess. He's taken to throwing those little stacking cups out of the tub and soaking the bathmat.

But I digress.

Where was I again? Oh yes, the potion. So William made a "potion" tonight out of bathwater and Suave coconut-scented 'no tears' shampoo for kids. He mixed it up in a little red plastic baseball helmet that held a soft-serve ice cream sundae at a baseball game, once upon a time.

He showed to me and proudly announced that it was a special potion that would make you feel like red hot lava! (He's very interested in volcanoes these days, too.)

I didn't have the heart to tell him that something like that already exists. They call it "moonshine."

* * *

When I asked him who he wanted to pray for tonight, he came up with the people of Japan, Egypt, and Libya. All on his own, without any prompting or suggestions from me. I'm pretty darned proud of him right now.

* * *

Andrew now likes to hold onto the railing of his crib and jump up and down. You can hear the thumping all over the house. He loves to do it first thing in the morning, especially. So now that is how we mostly find him after he's been asleep, although occasionally we'll sneak up on him while he's still sitting up and "reading" his books. And there was one morning last week when I walked into his room, and he was sitting down. When he saw me come in, he began to clap. How can you top that for a greeting, I ask you?

* * *

So you know how William likes to eat just about everything, except for maybe lettuce? Well, Andrew's eating pretty well these days now, too, much to my relief. However, his favorite foods are 1) toast, 2) toast, 3) bread, 4) green peas and 5) toast. He also loves bananas, peaches, yogurt and did I mention toast and bread? If he's close enough to you, he will actually take a piece of bread out of your hand and stuff it into his mouth. I had a piece of raisin toast clenched in my teeth the other day, and he snatched it away and crammed it into his mouth before I even knew what was happening. The boy loves his bread.

* * *

My mom was visiting last week, and I was so glad that she was here while all the trees were starting to burst into bloom. Nashville really is beautiful in the springtime, and we all enjoyed seeing the Bradford pear trees and daffodils in bloom.

Mom pointed out the yellowbelle bushes in bloom to William and told him about how her grandmother always loved to see their yellow blossoms. Now, every time we see a particularly gorgeous yellowbelle bush, William says that it reminds him of his Mama Judi.

* * *

Both of William's preschool teachers are getting married very soon, so the moms of all the kids in the class threw them a surprise bridal shower a couple of weeks ago. It was gorgeous. In fact, it was nicer than my wedding!

I think the teachers were excited, and the kids had a ball. One of the moms had the genius idea of buying a bunch of those disposable cameras and setting one at each child's place at the table. So the kids had a big time taking pictures of themselves, their friends, their teachers, the moms, Andrew (he was there, too), and all the decorations. I hope that whoever gets the film developed shares some of the photos from those.

Each of the boys got a boutonniere to pin to his shirt, and the girls all received mini bouquets of flowers. The teachers each got a white ball cap with "Bride" emblazoned on them. In this picture of William with Miss Davies, you can see the hat, the boutonniere, and one of the cameras:

Friday, March 18, 2011

The park

We went to Woodmont Park this afternoon. It was warm and breezy, and oh, just so lovely.

William immediately took off for the slides.

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I plunked Andrew down on our picnic blanket with some toys, and he just had a good old time.

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William did make an occasional reappearance:

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Andrew played a little peekaboo, too.

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And a serious picture (I like to think of this one as being titled "Playing is Very Serious Work"):

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Today reminded me of another early spring afternoon, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away (okay, in California). Anyone want to join me in a waltz down Memory Lane to a time when Baby William played happily on the same picnic blanket?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The secret's out on Chuck E. Cheese

On the way home from a birthday party at BounceU this afternoon, William was talking about all his favorite birthday party venues. It seems that BounceU, Glow Galaxy and West Side Athletic Club are all at the top of the list right now.

Then he said, "And did you know, Mommy, there's this place called Chuck E. Cheese? They have games and stuff and parties there, too."

Inwardly, I groaned. Aw, MAN. I ALMOST made it to his fifth birthday without him finding out about Chuck E. Cheese. I've managed to keep the knowledge of Chuck E. Cheese from him all this time, and someone blew the whistle.

Yeah, yeah, I know they have Skee-ball, and yes, I adore Skee-ball. Yes, I loved it as a kid, too. But I'm oooooold now. And at least if it's anything the way I remember it being, Chuck E. Cheese is so LOUD. And so EXPENSIVE. And so GERMY. And the pizza is so LOUSY. Okay, so the germy party doesn't really bother me; every kiddie place is germy, and besides, that's David's bugaboo. But STILL.

"Oh?" I asked calmly. "Where'd do you hear about this Chuck E. Cheese place?"

I played it cool. As if I'd never heard of Chuck E. Cheese before and was only mildly interested.

Turns out a couple of his friends from school let him in on the secret. (Gee, thanks, y'all.) It's going to be hard to put the rabbit back in the hat now. Or the cow in the barn. Or the cat in the bag. Or whatever animal metaphor people use for this sort of situation.

I think I managed to distract him with talk of candy. (He was eating a blue raspberry ring pop, and he was delighted by the way it was turning his mouth a vivid shade of Smurf blue.) Maybe he'll forget we talked about it. Or maybe he's not really that intrigued by it because it's still an abstract concept to him.

That's what I'm hoping for, anyway.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Night Fatigue

When I was working my first full-time job right out of college, my friend Loretta and I used to refer to the bone-deep exhaustion that we felt at the end of each work week as "Friday Night Fatigue."

There were some Friday nights that we'd hit a Happy Hour at a local bar or restaurant after work, and then we'd head home to crash when it was over. And yes, the Happy Hours were usually over by 7 p.m. Eventually, we got used to the demands of a regular work week, and Friday night wasn't quite as exhausting. But it was still a night where we sometimes felt more like collapsing than playing.

Fast forward 15 years... a couple of hours ago, I was sitting at the dinner table while William told me about Batman missions and Andrew shovelled peas into his mouth, and a wave of exhaustion washed over me. Granted, I'm not as tired in general now that Andrew is a big boy who sleeps through the night, but I'm still pretty tired by 6 or 7 p.m. each evening. And that goes doubly for Friday evenings. Especially on Fridays when I'm crazy enough to take both boys to the grocery store before dinner. (We needed yogurt, bananas, and bread. And peas. And $70 worth of other stuff.)

How is it that my children ramp up even more in the evenings, just when I'm starting to shut down? The sheer amount of noise that William was making tonight in the bathtub was just astounding. How does he have that much energy? He was in preschool all week. Shouldn't he be tired, too?

Good old Friday Night Fatigue. I'm not the only one in my household who feels it, either. I bet, when I go upstairs in a few minutes, that David will be sacked out on the playroom couch. He was going to watch one of the SEC tournament basketball games, but I bet he conked out. It's like by a certain age, if you sit still for more than a certain amount of minutes, you just fall asleep. You're powerless to resist. Your body shuts down. And in David's case, he operated on a major sleep deficit for years during residency. He may never catch up.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Not such a giant

So all the fretting I've been doing for the past couple of months over Andrew's size?

Pointless. Needless. Silly, even.

As of last Thursday, Andrew was 30 inches long, which puts him at the 50th percentile mark. Hurrah for average! For comparison's sake, I will note that that is almost exactly the same length that William was at the same age, maybe a smidge longer.

And he was 20 pounds and 6 ounces, which was glorious news to me because he'd had a terrible stomach virus the week before and barely ate for about five days. David and I think that he lost at least a pound or so from the yuckiness. I was nervous that he wouldn't even crack the 20 pound mark, but he did. And he's been eating like a crazy man ever since, too.

The weight puts Andrew at around the 20th percentile, which is not terribly surprising, given the trajectory he's been on for the last few months. I would have been surprised that he didn't weigh more at the one-year-mark if you'd told me all this about six or seven months ago, but there it is.

As our pediatrician noted, look at Andrew's parents. We're not exactly giants. Andrew's size makes total sense when you look at David. He may have started out life as a big old baby, thanks to my giant placenta and umbilical cord, but then he had to live life on the outside. And that included coming to terms with the fact that he's his daddy's son, and his daddy is not a large man. David's about the only person I know, in fact, who could still wear clothes that he wore in high school. (Not that he necessarily should, but he could, if he wanted to.) Andrew's built like David. Maybe he'll be a good runner, too.

But at least he weighs more than 20 pounds. And because Andrew weighs more than 20 pounds, we could turn his car seat around and have him face forward. But since he doesn't seem to mind being rear-facing--after all, he has William in the seat next to him to entertain him--we're going to keep him rear-facing for awhile longer. The AAP recommends it now, and I don't see any major reason to turn him around for now. Still, it's nice to know that we could. If we had to.

Friday, March 04, 2011

To the Batcave!

Last Christmas, we...I mean, Santa gave William a Batcave toy. It's essentially a Batman-themed dollhouse for little boys. But instead of a nursery for the baby doll, it has a jail for the bad guys. And instead of a kitchen, it has a command center.

That was some of the best money that Santa ever spent. It was not only a huge hit, but more than a year later, William still plays with it almost every day.

But there is a downside of having such a beloved toy. That downside is for his parents, of course: William always wants us to play Batman missions*--and he wants us to play those missions with him to his exact specifications. You see, if you've never had the opportunity to play a Batman mission with William, let me fill you in on what happens.

(*"Mission" is William's current favorite word to describe a session of play. I believe that it came from playing the Star Wars Lego game. It replaced his previous favorite word, which was "episode." If you have to interrupt playtime to, say, answer the phone or go to the bathroom, William will call out, "Pause the mission!" When you return to the play area, William will then say, "Unpause the mission.")

The unofficial rules of any and all Batman missions directed by William:

Rule No. 1: William is in charge. No exceptions.

Rule No. 2: You do not get to choose which Batman character you get to be. William will choose for you. You are very unlikely to ever get the chance to be Black Batman. On a really really good day, however, you might land the chance to be Arctic Batman. You are more likely to be assigned Superman and Robin, however.

Rule No. 3: William gets to decide the objective of the mission. Typically the main objective of any Batman mission is to defeat the bad guys and throw them into the Batcave jail. Usually but not always the bad guys have taken refuge under those dreaded strongholds of evil, the sofa cushions. However, no matter where they are hiding out, laughing their evil laughs, they must be brought back to the Batcave jail.

Rule No. 4: You have absolutely no say in what happens on the mission. If you attempt to make any independent decisions about action taken on the mission without getting William's prior approval, your idea will immediately be shot down with virtually no chance of reconsideration.

Rule No. 5: You are expected to make sure your characters carry on a sparkling conversation throughout the mission. Apparently there is no such thing as the strong silent type on a William-led Batman mission. They can't just stand there. Good dialogue is key. And in case you forget, William will remind you to make sure the characters keep talking.

If you keep all those points in mind, you'll do okay. You may be tempted to put your head down on the floor a little bit, but at least you won't cause any major existential Batman arguments.

Some missions are better than others if you stray just a little bit but still stick reasonably close to the rules, even if they do bear a striking resemblance to all the previous missions. Every once in awhile, William will be feeling very magnanimous and he'll let me be Green Lantern. That's always good. Today, he even let me have Green Lantern and Arctic Batman talk about the day earlier this week when Arctic Batman went to preschool with William for show-and-tell. Arctic Batman had chips for a snack while hanging out in William's totebag, in case you were curious.

But there are some days when I just. can't. play. another. Batman. mission. I've had to turn William down for the sake of my own sanity. Sometimes I'm genuinely working on a freelance story, but other times, I just don't want to do it. I say, "Hey, wanna watch TV? I think "Dinosaur Train" is on..."

Of course, every time I do that, I swear I hear the strains of "Cat's in the Cradle" playing in my head. One day he'll be all grown up, and I'll be all lonely and sad and wailing, "Why, oh why, didn't I play more Batman missions with William when he was four?"

I guess I can go make up for it, though. As I am typing this, William is standing right next to me, saying, "I really want to play a Batman mission." I am capitulating. I told him to go "get the mission ready" and I'll be in there in a minute. What can I say? It's that darned song, getting to me.

William with Green Lantern and Arctic Batman:

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Shoe shopping

Oh my God, it is painful to buy shoes for a growing boy. In the past two days, I have spent (gulp) more than $100 on shoes for William. My checkbook hurts.

That's right. I've spent more on shoes for my four-year-old son than I have on shoes for myself in ages even though my shoe size will stay the same and his won't. But he outgrew all his shoes all of a sudden, and what was I going to do? I can't make him mince around in shoes that are too tight, which it seems that he's actually been doing, without even complaining, bless him.

Here's part of the problem. Like his mama, William has wide feet. The brand spankin' new saddle shoes that are sitting upstairs in a box in his room are a size 12 EE. The New Balance sneakers are a 12.5 W. Those are some Fred Flintstone-esque dimensions, kids.

I'm feeling for him, too. You put some sassy little strappy sandals on my feet, and it looks like you're trying to resurrect foot binding.

But the reality is that it's harder to find wide shoes at places like Target and at consignment sales. So we're usually stuck buying brand new ones at the kiddie shoe stores. I mean, it's worth it to get shoes that really fit William's feet and are comfortable for him to wear. But when you have to buy more than one pair at a time, it's painful, financially speaking.

Mr. Randy at the shoe store did point out that both pairs I purchased are very sturdy shoes and it's very likely I could hand down at least the dress shoes to Andrew in a few years. True. If William doesn't destroy them first, which is not a foregone conclusion. In the past William had a not-so-charming habit of dragging his feet across the asphalt parking lot at church, resulting in big dark welts gouged into the tops of his nice church shoes. He hasn't done it as much in recent months, but I won't hold my breath that he won't find some other creative way to break in his nice new shoes.

And I am going to start cruising eBay and the Stride Rite website for sales on wide shoes for small boys. And Nashville folks, if you see any boys' shoes at a consignment sale in decent shape in a 12.5, call me and let me know.