Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Soccer Mom

I signed Emily up for a little 5-week soccer class this spring. It's held at a park that is within walking distance of our house, this particular class takes kids as young as 3 years old, and the description didn't say that parent participation was required so it sounded like a winner to me! I figured I'd bike the girls to soccer in their little bike trailer, let Charlotte play outside while Emily kicked the ball around with 10 or so other kids and I chatted with other parents, and we'd all have a great time.

My first clue that things wouldn't be exactly as I had hoped was an email I received the week of her first class. It asked parents to show up "Wearing athletic clothes and a smile!" so that we could help. Uh oh. That wasn't part of the deal! I'm not AGAINST helping, but I never really played soccer plus I would have a crazy toddler to wrangle. This is why I had purposely picked the one that didn't say parent participation was required!

The weather has also been hideous every single Wednesday that she's had class. The first day it looked like this:

All the days since then it has looked like this (or worse):

To avoid being struck by lightning or dying of heat stroke, I have only actually biked the girls to the park once.

In addition to all of the other things working against us, there are approximately 2000 3-5 year olds in the class. Ok, maybe the number is actually closer to 20, but that is still A LOT of 3-5 year olds to handle for 3 coaches who seem to have minimal experience with kids. There is also a whole lot of pushing and crying (which I actually find kind of hilarious). That's where the parent participation comes in. There is not much parent chatting. Pretty much the only interaction the parents have is trying to make our children apologize to each other after getting into a fight. I try to keep my kid from stealing other people's balls, crying, screaming at the coaches, wandering off into a field etc., all the while being followed by this:

I deal with it though, because I want to expose Emily to as many activities as possible so she can make an educated decision as to what she wants to continue participating in when she gets older. I realize now that my expectations were a bit off, but I worry that this disorganized and usually uncomfortably hot experience is going to sour Emily to soccer for life.

Today though, despite the heat, things went pretty well. Either because some of the kids have just dropped out by this point or because of the heat index of 105, there were only 6(!) kids there today. Also I have wised up and I now come prepared and bring the whole house with me for our 45 minute class 5 minutes from our home:

Shaded chairs for relaxing, and a spray fan for cooling off

Emily actually played the whole time today without crying too!

AND Charlotte behaved pretty well, as long as I was providing copious amounts of snacks and juice boxes at all times
Put down the camera and gimme some snacks!

So maybe I will sign her up for soccer in the fall after all. Now I know to ask ahead of time how big the class will be, and hopefully thunderstorms and excessive heat will be less of a problem in the fall. By then I'm sure we'll have a whole new set of issues to deal with!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Things I kinda sorta should have thought through a little better before our trip:

#1 The Maids

I was going to cancel the maids for this week, because as nice as it would have been to come home from the airport to a nice clean house, I usually TRASH my house right before leaving on a trip. Clothes strewn all over the place from my packing, the girls toys laying everywhere because I've been focusing on getting everyone ready vs. picking up around the house, unsorted papers and recycling all over the kitchen etc. This time was no exception, but unfortunately I forgot to cancel the maids. The poor things still cleaned my house, but they had to scrape my laundry into a pile to vacuum the floor, pick up all the girls toys before cleaning the living room, and clear all of the various lotions and soaps that were discarded for being over 3oz off of my bathroom counter. I'm extremely embarassed to think about all the extra things they had to do, especially considering I didn't leave a check for them :-(

#2 Will's Business Trip

We planned the trip to Jamaica first, but it turned out Will has a business trip that starts today. From the time our plane from Jamaica landed to the time Will's plane to Orlando was scheduled to take off was about 70 hours. As an abstract idea it seemed ok, in practice it's brutal, both for Will who has to actually DO the traveling, and for me who now has to be a single parent for a couple days right when it's the most tough anyway (It always seems like the kids are worse when you're getting used to having them around again after not being with them for awhile). Oh well, at least I'm well-rested.

#3 Our CSA

In my defense, this wasn't REALLY my fault since our CSA didn't start until the 3rd week of June last year, but when I came home and finally checked my voicemail (I was embarassed about the maids and didn't want to hear the message I suspected they had left so I didn't actually listen to them until Sunday) there was a message telling me to come pick up my veggies on Friday. I was able to get them today, but we had gone to the farmer's market on Saturday so now we're drowning in lettuce and spinach. I seriously need to eat salads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this week, especially since Will isn't around this to help me finish it all!

#4 My Old Roommate's Wedding

The day we left, my old roommate from junior year of college got married. She and her new husband met and started dating when we were juniors in college, and that time is getting frighteningly long ago for me so it's safe to say this wedding has been a long time coming. Even though she has lived in Atlanta and now Boston since I saw her last, she was getting married near here so it would've been easy to go. Unfortunately we couldn't, which makes me very sad :-(

#5 Canceling the mail

I DID remember to cancel the mail, only to realize that since we'd be gone over Memorial Day there were only actually 2 mail days that we'd miss. Hardly worth cancelling, but oh well. Except that we still don't have any mail and it was supposed to be delivered on Thursday. I don't think I can fix this online, so I will have to call the post office or go in, because either they screwed up (in which case I am worried about where my mail IS right now) or I screwed up and accidentally told them to stop the mail for a month or something crazy like that (in which case I am not as worried about where my mail IS, but would still like to get it because there are probably some bills in there waiting for me). Hopefully they're not just dumping it down a hole somewhere.

Some of these issues could've been avoided with a bit more forethought, some couldn't, but I'm hoping when I plan our next trip that I will do a little better job of thinking ahead so I can save us some embarassment, exhaustion, disappointment, lack of mail and excess of greens.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Everybody sing Jamaica!

Sorry, whenever I think of the word "Jamaica", this song pops into my head.

Will and I took a quick (4 nights) trip to Jamaica last week. We used to go to the Caribbean all the time back when we were young, childless newlyweds, but having kiddoes curtailed that pretty quick. I have taken a couple trips without Emily since she was born, but I've never left Charlotte for longer than 1 night and I've never left the country since having kids so this was a big hairy deal for me. We decided on Jamaica because #1 We'd never been before and #2 We could get a direct flight from Baltimore. If I was leaving my kids, I didn't want to make the trip any longer with layovers!

I was kind of a wreck when I left...Emily is old enough now to realize what is going on and she was a bit sad I was leaving, especially since she asks me practically daily if she can fly in an airplane or go to the beach and here we were doing both without her. I cried as we drove away, and was feeling pretty sick to my stomach as we headed to the airport. Partially because I haven't traveled (especially internationally) in so long, and partially because I was going to be so far away from my kids and difficult to reach.

But I finally chilled out a bit when we got to Jamaica, and we ended up having a great time. I appreciate being able to relax and do whatever *I* want to do so much more now that I have kids. Whenever I'd miss the girls (for example when a family with a 4 year old girl and a 1 year old girl wearing pink tiaras sat down at the table next to us at breakfast) I'd avert my gaze to a kid acting bratty (there were usually a couple of those close by too) and feel glad that I wasn't currently trying to control my kids in a restaurant. We spent our time wandering, laying on the beach and hanging out in the pool getting drunk in the middle of the day on our own schedule, instead of standing by the playground trying to convince our kids it was time to go eat or go back to the room for a nap.

We even went for massages, which is not unique for me, but is very out of the ordinary for Will. His last massage was on our honeymoon 7.5 years ago, and he hated it. He enjoyed this massage, although he had to tell his masseuse to go easier on him a couple times. Apparently Jamaican masseuses are beasts, because I finally met my match in a masseuse as well. I usually like a hard sister and I used to "work out the knots" in each other's backs growing up, which was basically just taking out our pent-up aggressions on each other, so I'm accustomed to pain during a massage and I even welcome it because I know that I will feel better and looser the next day if the masseuse really goes at it. But this woman was nuts. I ALMOST made it through the massage, but at one point I was in so much pain that when I opened my eyes my vision slid sideways a bit so I decided that rather than passing out I would tell her to ease up, something that was not easy for me to do because I had never had to do it before! I felt defeated until a couple hours later, when I noticed my back looked like this:

Not normal. It looks like something tried to claw its way through my skin, but really she managed to make those marks with her elbow. Yeouch! I couldn't stand anyone touching my back for 3 days afterward.

Luckily, the massage was the most stressful part of my trip (kind of backwards, isn't it?) and now that I've done my first international jaunt away from the girls I think future trips will be easier.