Bring the Ball To Soccer Practice, Not the Older Sister

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?

Guess who? Sadie! (This is not an actualy picture of Sadie. She doesn't have breasts.)  (Photo credit:

Guess who? Sadie! (This is not an actually picture of Sadie. She doesn’t have breasts.) (Photo credit:

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:

  1. Bring Kleenex, because the 3-year-old may lose her ever-living mind when you turn your back on her.
  2. A few coloring books and some Cheez-Its aren’t potent enough to distract a 3-year-old from her abandonment issues
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?


16 thoughts on “Bring the Ball To Soccer Practice, Not the Older Sister

  1. I love Sadie – she’s such a star (just like her hysterically funny mom). I cannot believe you have Simon in soccer. What is he? 3 weeks older than my C? I totally have last child syndrome because I’m still shocked she can drink from a cup. She’s my baby. I can’t imagine signing her up for any classes, let alone soccer! Why does that seem so old to me? Organized sports? Outlawmama, I am NOT ready for this. I would have liked a warning. Now that I’m over my rant, I absolutely love that they pull the parachute out in every single “class” or activity for those under 3. It just feels like home.

    • I know! That parachute has showed up in music, gymboree, soccer and art. WTF? And he’s way too young but I have middle child syndrome, which means he has to do everything that Sadie did. Healthy.

  2. We had an outdoor soccer game this weekend (Hello, 39 degrees) and decided to leave all three girls with grandparents, despite the 5-year-old pleading to come along with is. We told her absolutely not because she wasn’t dressed for cold weather in her sandals and capri leggings under a skirt and short-sleeved shirt. it was bad enough that we couldn’t convince the boy-child Beckham to wear pants of a long-sleeved shirt under his uniform — we thought that if the whole world saw us with two inappropriately dressed children they would assume we were trying to freeze and eat them.

  3. I’m sorry for your experience, but admit I am grateful for the tip. Going to tuck this one away for future reference, as I am just now getting hints of reactions like this with my older daughter. So thanks, I guess? (We did soccer at 2, 3, and now 4. Every time I have wondered, ‘what the hell was I thinking?’)

  4. “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” This is an awesome way to think of a temper tantrum. 3 years and 20 months is a pretty rough age spread! You’re a champ just for attempting outdoor activities!

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