Monday, February 9, 2009

Playing Catch Up

Exposing children to activities they do not want is rather like serving fish for dinner. Sure there’s a chance that one of them might like it. There’s also a distinct possibility that you will wash off a gallon’s worth of ketchup off each plate to reveal filets submerged beneath the Heinz if you do so.

The rule of thumb in our home for outside of school hobbies has been one activity at a time unless it slips into the schedule. For example, one year, two of my kids played basketball because their practices were back to back. One child does band in addition to her sport because it doesn’t take time out of the schedule at all. I wish others of my children would do band, then I could feel virtuous about providing parental enrichment without actually engaging in any physical effort. In the past, I have lobbied to double up kids because of the apparent benefit of multi-tasking, but repeated experiences of one child poking along not finding the needed equipment while another bounces up and down in the car saying, “Come on, let’s go!” has head me to hold fast to the “You’ve got to want it” Mantra.

These days, I’m encouraging enrichment activities that don't involve me driving anywhere. You can read a book. You can play a game of pool. You can go outside and play catch. If you play catch every day with your brothers and sisters, you’ll be as up to speed as those kids whose parents love them and sign them up to play baseball year round.

The response of the children has been similar to their reactions to food. Hot dogs served at school for hot lunch at $2.75 a plate, they’re fabulous. The same meal served at home…and I’m scraping a lot of ketchup off plates. When I point out that throwing a ball at a field is not dissimilar to throwing one in our back yard, they point out that the coach has a speedometer to measure the accuracy and rate at which one throws. I offered to make up numbers and do color commentary.

"P. is backing up to make an out from a thrown pop up....and he just missed that catch.
His sister picked it up to throw back and it's a wild throw to center field."

"MOMMMM!"

They settled for me pitching to them.

After twenty minutes of watching me throw the balls, catch and drop the balls and wince as I sometimes got hit by the balls, the children took pity on me and announced they would play catch on their own. I went inside to make hot dogs but I told them it was fish so they’d stay outside and practice longer.

The two muddy kids came in twenty minutes later, “I thought you were making fish.”
“I decided to make hot dogs instead.”
“Wow!" "That’s great!”
“Do we have any ketchup?”

“Hit the showers, dinner will be ready when you’re done.”
When they’re in the major leagues one day they’ll thank me.

2 comments:

MightyMom said...

so I share my onion rings with the kids last night. They've never had onion rings before...I notice the oldest (5) has his hands COVERED in ketchup.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING??

so I watch.....

as he takes the small bit of onion ring batter (sans onion) and ROLLS it in the ketchup! ROLLS it mind you...to make sure the MAXIMUM amount of ketchup is on the bite of ring. I tell him...you don't have to eat it, I'll take it back.

NOOOOOO MOM! I like the onyunklig.

yeah, right!

SherryTex said...

Augh. Augh. Oh. ....what love to share onion rings. What a tragedy to abuse onion rings so...I'm wincing at the idea. Thanks for the chuckle.

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