I was talking to a co-worker a couple of weeks ago and made the comment that I basically had two full-time jobs, working at The News and as a full-time mommy. That was before I decided to be super smart and stretch myself even thinner by signing my 4-year-old son up for Wee Ball.
After several weeks of attempting to play catch in the backyard, getting gloves, pants, cleats, bags, bats, helmets and a variety of other baseball paraphernalia and discussing ad nauseam the importance of being nice, taking turns and listening to coaches, it was time.
I thought I had prepared for everything. As I was leaving work to rush and get Colin from day care, I was informed by other parents I needed a chair. No time. I’d just sit on the ground. On the way over, I realized I forgot his glove at home, too. Fantastic start to the season.
We get there, get signed in and attempt to corral 13 preschoolers into groups to practice hitting and catching. Eventually everyone was where they were supposed to be and Colin was using his coach’s glove while I teetered around the mushy grass in heels, since I neglected to think about needing to change out of work clothes for practice.
First up was outfield catching. Colin stood still and paid attention for about two minutes, and then he started chatting with one of the parents and missed the ball. The second ball he missed because he was wearing the glove on his head. The third, he ran really hard for and tripped over his feet, falling flat on his face before jumping up and spinning in a circle like he’d lost his ever-loving mind. The fourth, he missed because he was picking me a flower.
Time for batting. First swing twirled him all the way around. I was given the stink eye for laughing at him. Both by Colin and some other parent who apparently thinks his 4-year-old son is going to be Chipper Jones one day and takes Wee Ball VERY seriously. Good luck with that, dude. I just hope my kid doesn’t end up in jail one day or on a VH1 dating show with skanky girls who look like they smell like potatoes.
I urged Colin to pretend he was hitting squirrels. That seemed to work. For some reason, he has this weird issue with squirrels. He didn’t have some tragic experience with one, and we don’t keep squirrels as pets or anything like that. He just wants to annihilate the squirrels for some reason. He actually did pretty good with the hitting, but then he got bored waiting for a second turn. It would be my kid who used his bat to hit himself in the helmet-covered head over and over, chuckling at the "CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK!" sound it made.
"Is he yours?" asked one mother, smiling and laughing. "Oh, he’s adorable!"
Translation: Thank goodness my kid isn’t acting like a total bonehead! I can’t really blame her. Ground balls weren’t any better. He tried to assume the correct position like his coach told him and fell over. He wore the glove on his head some more, he chatted with the boy next to him. Bugger. I attempted to keep a straight face, and did pretty well for the most part. Colin was, by far, the child paying the least attention to his surroundings and was more concerned with chatting up the other players and running around in circles. But other kids had parents who seemed aggravated by their child not being some Tiger Woods-esque (yes, I know it’s a different sport) prodigy. Look, my mom made me play T-Ball. I sucked. Badly. I talked to everyone, I stared at the clouds, I looked at the ground — everything BUT catch the ball (apparently I played catcher). I don’t expect Colin to become a famous ball player because I signed him up for Wee Ball. Maybe he will — who knows? But what I do expect from this is what Colin gets out of playing sports in general: an understanding of teamwork, getting out in the fresh air, running around like a kid, making friends and making memories.
I might have THAT kid on the team. The one who would rather pick me a flower and chase a squirrel than pay attention to where the ball goes, but if that’s that case, then I will cheer him on just the same. That’s part of my job as a mommy. Make that the third full-time job I have. Honestly, I was just happy my kid didn’t hit anyone with a bat or pick his nose in the outfield. Give it time.
Amber Pittman is a reporter for The Covington News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org com.