Posts Tagged ‘Football’

Transitions and gymnastics.

March 4, 2013

Well, it’s that time again: the end of term is in two weeks, and we need to decide now if Snort will continue with football. For a long time it has been apparent that he goes for his friends, not the sport (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Increasingly he just wants to sit on my lap and wait for the class to be over so that we can get to the good part – all having lunch together before playing for a good hour or so.

Snort has mentioned he wants to go to gymnastics, but he wants all his football friends to go with him. During preliminary discussions today, I’ve tried to explain the choice is football and old friends, versus gymnastics and new friends. And he is saying gym. He so badly wants to start gym that he doesn’t want to go to the final two weeks of football.

I’m a bit sad because I’ve struck up good friendships with the other parents/grandparents, and because Snort really loves his friends. I know part of life is moving on, and all bar one of these kids is starting school next year so we will be ‘losing’ them anyway, but I am still wondering if this will cause major upset when he understands that football is properly bye bye. But on the flip side, a key part of my parenting/educational philosophy is being child led. If he wants gym rather than football, so be it. The way gym is set up, it’s more difficult to make good friends there, but I’m sure there will be other regular attenders. We will continue talking about it this week, but I do believe some desperately sad friendship times are ahead (though of course we will still try to see his friends, but it certainly is unlikely to be with such regularity).

On the gym front, well, I have a lot to say that is Coconut related. But we will leave it with saying that she is getting back to pre-broken arm enthusiasm. She asks most days if we can go do gymnastics, and this last week she decided she didn’t need Bunny anymore (Bunny being a constant since she broke her arm, though she never had Bunny before her accident). She is thrilled that one of her home ed friends has joined her class, and in fact she has made two other good friends from the gym….one of which I am going to invite for a play date when we see them this week.

Early last week we watched some floor routines on YouTube and she spent the rest of the week doing naked floor routines on the lounge floor, then asking for medals (no clue where she got the medal thing, as we only watched the routines!). She calls herself The Amaaaaaazing Coconut.

Coconut literally spends most of her time at home upside down. We are talking headstands about 90% of the time. As it happens, the grandad of one of Snort’s football friends has a daughter who trained and competed with Coconut’s gym 25 years ago. His daughter competed internationally, and at age twelve was preparing to compete in the next Olympics, when she was sixteen, and in fact went to the Olympics at twelve as an assistant or something. THEN SHE BROKE HER FUCKING NECK.

She was okay. Not elite gymnastics okay, but she actually carried on with smaller competitions and taught gymnastics throughout her university years. Apparently when she was a kid every fucking second was spent at the gym – the expectation was that she would formally train every day from 6-9 pm and all day Sundays, plus self directed training at school. Her schooling was all jacked up, she was very perfectionist, she developed an eating disorder. I suppose home educating eliminates one of those factors should Coconut (or Snort) have the aptitude and enthusiasm needed to train at that level, but talking to him had me worried.

He was all, ‘Yes, from the time my daughter was about three, she was always upside down and throwing herself around.’ Given that Coconut taught herself forward rolls when she was one – a mere few weeks after learning to walk, and as a baby was often trying to stand on her head, it made me feel cautious. She is definitely a big perfectionist already, and that is certainly a trait I am trying to help her tone down. Listening to this dude talk about eating disorders and broken necks was an eye opener…..though equally, he said his daughter loved the gym and felt joyful there.

So, I guess all things to be aware of. Given that the kids are only three I know all of this probably makes me sound like a crazy, overachieving stage mum, but still… I will wait and watch with interest.


Super Snort!

February 5, 2013

Every parent thinks their kids are geniuses. Let’s just get that out of the way.

That being said, I do think mine are very bright, in different ways. Snort has always been a designer, an engineer. If he sees something on tv or in life that he thinks is cool, he will engineer it. Like building a bike rack on top on his little tikes car when he was one. And you people should SEE what he’s done to the superhero house this morning!

He’s also very active, in imagination and body. What that looks like in a structured class, like say football, is that he love his coach and the other children. He likes the very active exercises. But he is also the class comedian. He will happily follow instructions to try something new, but when it becomes repetitive or is too easy, he quickly loses interest. He has a gag of pretending to fall over while shouting, ‘Woah!’ The other boys think this is hilarious and all copy him. His coach doesn’t think it’s so awesome….though Snort has told me, ‘Coach thinks I’m funny! I fall over and say WOAH. I am funny!’

So Snort has a reputation in football of being, shall we say, a free spirit. If his friend’s baby brother is crying on the sidelines, he will refuse to play and instead will hold hands with the baby, sing to him, and try to cheer him up. He is a happy go lucky, imaginative, funny little boy.

He is the child who quickly processes what his coach says, and decides whether it is worth paying attention to. He’s the one most likely to be gleefully finding ways to circumvent the system and do the exercises in a more efficient way, or throwing himself into a pile of footballs while, of course, dramatically yelling,’Woah!’

So imagine my surprise when yesterday the coach set up a particularly complicated exercise. He had cones numbered 0-9, and he sort of threw them around all higgilty pigglty. Basically, if you were looking down and had an aerial view, he was making a dot to dot and the completed picture was chaos. The parents were all laughing because we knew this shit was not going to go down.

In theory it was simple enough. Slowly dribble the ball (at this point I was already imagining another Snort debacle, as his only speed is RUNNING) to the consecutive cones, gently having the ball tap each cone before moving on to the next. You and I might have trouble with the football control, but could at least manage eventually.

Imagine six three year olds bumbling around. Just try. Like little feral kittens.

So the coach is explaining, Snort is just staring into the air and occasionally grinning at his friends, the coach admonishes them to pay attention. I am already laughing and all the adults are trading snide comments about what a cute disaster this is about to be.

That’s when the kids stand up. I don’t really pay very close attention until I notice that my kid has separated from the pack. Then I start watching him. He carefully gets to cone four, then glances around to find the next. He moves smoothly and surely and gets to cone nine a full five minutes before the first of the other kids. His coach is surprised and exclaims, ‘Snort! Wow!’ All the other parents, I notice, have dropped into silence. My own mouth may be hanging wide open.

The next exercise, the cones are set up so you have to zigzag between them. A much easier thing, and yet when they are all sat at zero and the coach asks which cone they need to go to next, only Snort (who again looked like he wasn’t paying attention) pointed at the number one and said, ‘There.’

And this little escapade reminds me, yet again, why Snort will excel outside of the modern school system. His brain is bright, thinks around the edges of problems, builds better way to do things even as the expected behaviour is to maintain the status quo. He has strong, sensitive morals and follows his own sense of what is right….and while happy enough to engage with his coach, he does so only when it makes sense (though he isn’t a ‘naughty’ boy!). He will do a task to see if he can, and once he knows he can he doesn’t want to repeat it again and again just to get approval from his coach. He is gleefully and joyfully himself, and draws the other children to him. He engages in tasks that are more complicated because he is often bored by simpler things, so he makes his own fun, his own challenges.

He’s altogether a wonderful person, and I feel lucky to know and learn from his exuberant, creative, and loving approach to life.

Football is good.

September 10, 2012

Posting from the car. Sitting here while my stomach begins to eat surrounding organs, as Snort is passed out in the back.

So. Football update. What the FUCK.  It was awesome. I know, I didn’t expect it either. He was still Snort, but was listening and following instructions and just running with this beautific smile. His only main hitch was when a baby sibling of another kid started crying, he needed to make sure the baby was okay.

He also self regulated two ‘rests’ near the end when he was tired, but lasted a lot longer than last week.

The other thing? He was more into socializing and making friends than the other boys last week – I consistently notice this with both kids. Twins can be far more socially advanced, according to literature and our experience.

But unfortunately, Snort is sometimes the victim of behavior he finds intimidating, sad, or upsetting. He’d never snatch a toy, be violent, or gang up to be mean – and finds it very distressing when other boys behave so towards him. It’s only happened a couple of times at home ed meets, but I find it heartbreaking and think about it for days.

So imagine my relief and joy when he is a sought after kid at football. The very assured kid who seems more like fifteen than three apparently was asking after Snort all week. He copied most of what Snort did – actually, so did the others, much to my amusement.

The other thing? I will be writing a Snort potty post soon, but for now let’s say that he wore underpants out of the house for the first time today, by his request, and we didn’t need the 756 spare shorts and underpants that I brought along.

So. Weird. But a great morning, all things considered.

Adventures in football.

September 10, 2012

Today is Snort’s second football session. It’s giving me diarrhoea. No kidding. Why, you ask? Well, today we have to commit if we are going to commit. Pay a shitload of money and have twelve more weeks. Or we decide to not pay and go back.

I don’t really know how to describe last week’s session. He liked it more than he didn’t like it, I think, but also spent much of the time running around in giant loops and ignoring most of what the coach said. None of that bothers me, but it does bother me that he had a huge crying jag, screaming, ‘I don’t like football anymore! Nana’s house! Nana’s house please!’

Admittedly he was coming off a major asthma incident and his breakdown came after a half hour of solid running. I just want the kid to enjoy himself, you know? I think he’s exceptionally bright (I know all parents think these things), and I see a lot of parallels between school and these football sessions. I don’t want his individuality or approach to life to begin the slow grinding down to make him conform.

But I think he is okay with being him. I chatted with the coach afterwards to suss him out, and he said he was fine with Snort being Snort and running around, it was no problem. So I guess I just need to be okay with it, too! I mean, I am, but …I don’t know. Football made me uncomfortable. Probably didn’t help that the other two boys played football with their dads all the time and watched it on tv a lot. Snort has never seen football on tv!

I’m torn between thinking this will be ‘good for him’ in some way, and thinking that that’s a shitty way to think. He’s only three and I want the focus to be on him exploring the world and experiencing joy when he can. Not learning to run endless drills. It did make me laugh because the torturous running back and forth obviously featured moving footballs from one end of the gym to the other. He quickly grasped the end objective and grabbed as many balls as possible, trying to get the job done quickly. This completely bypassed the whole point the coach was trying to put across.

I felt sort of proud of him. He’s a quick thinker, a problem solver, a free spirit, a gentle and loving boy with heaps of energy and imagination. I just hope he likes today. And that I’m wise enough to trust my own intuition as I stumble along this endlessly responsible path of motherhood.