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!