I made a rookie mistake. Maybe my retelling of this story will help someone else who will later be confronted with a similar issue. Also, it’s a shameless bid to have you guys tell me you have had similar experiences, but now you laugh at them because you have grown.
Friday was soccer day for Simon. I am totally open to a debate about whether 20 months is too young for soccer (I am positive it is), but that’s what we signed up to do, and once Outlaw Mama makes a schedule, by GOODNESS, she sticks to it. Plus, he gets a cute uniform .
We were muddling through “circle time” and “try to kick the foamy balls” time. Simon was slightly less energetic than the teacher, as he preferred to sit in the middle of the field holding a ball and singing “Happy Birthday” to himself.
Fine by me.
But a few minutes in, I couldn’t help but notice the anguished cries of a young person on the sidelines. Someone is really apoplectic . . . I wonder what’s up with that?
That someone? It was Sadie. My tender-hearted young daughter whose keening and screaming about suddenly “missing me terribly” ramped up once I was preoccupied with my Pele on the soccer field.
Oh crap. That’s my kid.
Sadie had begged to come with us to soccer. I usually drop her and her babysitter off at the park so they can play while we do whatever the hell you call sitting in an arena holding a ball. But, it was raining and nasty outside, so when Sadie was begging to come, I relented.
She had packed her backpack full of coloring books and 120 crayons, while professing her “excited” about “doing her work” while watching her brother play soccer.
Judging by the screams I could hear piercing the rec center (even when Simon and I were under the parachute singing songs with 11 other toddlers), Sadie wasn’t enjoying it as much as she thought she would. I peeked over at her and gave her a wave meant to convey, “Hi, Sweetie! I remember and love you even when I am busy with Simon. I totally love you to bits now shut the fudge up because this is for Simon.”
Sadie cried for 37 minutes of the 45 minute class, which, if you think about it, is a pretty good cardio work out, if you put your whole body into it like she did.
Here’s what I learned for anyone considering taking your 3-year-old to your 20-month-old’s activities:
- Bring Kleenex, because the 3-year-old may lose her ever-living mind when you turn your back on her.
- A few coloring books and some Cheez-Its aren’t potent enough to distract a 3-year-old from her abandonment issues
- Try this stunt hours before your own therapy session so it will be fresh when you tell your therapist about your 3-year-old’s abandonment issues and your 20-month-old’s inability to compete with your rather Drama Queeny first-born child.
- If you do decide to do this, and your older child starts to go Girl, Interrupted, give your car keys to the babysitter and tell her to take her to Target or American Girl or McDonald’s or Radio Shack. Just get her out of there, because once it starts, it won’t stop.
- Read the book Sophie’s Choice to get some perspective on what a true, heart wrenching choice for a mom is and then stop taking both of your children to activities when it’s not necessary.
Am I missing any big life lessons here?