Team Tornado

Team Tornado

Claire participated in her first soccer game today. Not just that, but it was also her first ever organized sports game of any kind. Well, sort of organized, anyways… as organized as a bunch of four and five year olds chasing around a soccer ball without any teamwork or strategy can be. Still, it was, without a doubt, kids playing soccer.
Claire had asked me to sign her up for soccer after burning out on the old swimming/ballet routine at the YMCA over the last few months. Even with her friends Coco, Zoey, and Isa in the classes with her, the routine had turned into a grind. Claire had been interested in basketball ever since wandering into a YMCA youth league basketball game a couple of months ago after ballet class, but we had to wait for the next sport to come around, and that just happened to be soccer. Claire was not “into” soccer before this. We had kicked a ball around a few times in the back yard before, but she usually lost interest in favor of just running around, especially simple foot races back and forth, over and over.
Still, Claire was really excited to start soccer. And that we even before she knew she would get soccer gear. We made a trip to Academy late Wednesday night and picked up some silver and pink soccer shoes, pink shin guards, and pink shorts. We failed to find any pink socks that went up high enough for shin guards, so we had to settle for plain old white socks, but still, she looked really cute, if not 100% pink. The soccer league would be supplying the shirts, which were, sadly, black and red or gray. Those are not princess colors! Claire tried on her outfit in the car and surprised her mom with her new look. Claire looked like a real soccer player, and a surprisingly grown up one at that (but still really cute).

Claire had been assigned to Team Tornado via email, and we did not know any of the names on the Tornado roster. There would be one other girl on the team, named Francesca, and the rest were all boys. Overall, there were over 400 kids signed up for this season of soccer at this YMCA alone. I had decided to go with the YMCA soccer league instead of the heralded WAYA league simply because YMCA had games on Saturday mornings and no practices, while WAYA had Wednesday night games (seriously, every Wednesday?) plus weekend practices.
Claire’s first game was scheduled for today at 10 am, when Team Tornado would be opposed by the dreaded “Aztex”. That was all we knew going into today’s game. Before the game, Kit and I prepped Claire on the first (only?) rule of soccer: don’t touch the ball with your hands. Good enough crash course, right? I might have added “kick the ball towards the other team’s goal, and away from yours” but that was a relatively minor point, I suppose.
I took Claire to soccer while Kit took Molly for the morning, as Molly was already rubbing her eyes by about 9am and would clearly be needing a nap during the 10am game time.
You can see Claire running quickly, mostly towards the ball, in the middle-right of this picture
The team made some very quick introductions and got right into some pre-game drills. Claire looked pretty sharp for a kid who had kicked a soccer ball a total of about 8 times in her life. After about 10 minutes of drills, the game started. The herd of kids chased the ball around the small soccer field, and Claire chased the heard of kids chasing the ball around. Claire ran like crazy.  She seemed to be all over the place, always hovering about 5-8 feet from the ball. But she didn’t make much actual contact with the ball.

At halftime Claire seemed concerned and a little dismayed, and she sort of wanted to just go home. She said she could never get to the ball. I told her that she was running faster than almost any kid, and if she gets a chance, don’t worry and don’t wait; just kick the ball as hard as she can (I guess nevermind which direction the ball goes). In the second half, I prodded myself to yell out “Kick the ball, Claire!” whenever she was in range. She did get a few kicks on the ball this time around. She even managed to clear the ball from her home team’s goal area a couple of times. This seemed to make her feel marginally better, although she still was not having too much fun. When the final whistle blew, and the game seemed to stop, she ran over to me and said, “Is the game over?” I said, “I think so”, and she replied, “Yeah!!!”  I was proud of her for sticking through the whole game and even giving it something extra in the second half.  As far as I can tell, the Tornadoes probably lost, but the game’s outcome did not seem to be of any real significance to anyone.

Pre-game drills
After post-game snacks with the team, we walked towards the car, past the YMCA where her old ballet class would have just let out. We peaked in the window, and right there on cue were Coco, Zoey, and Isa, all dressed in tutus. We went in for a quick visit. When Isa’s mom asked Claire if she liked the soccer game, Claire hesitated and said, “A little bit.”, which seemed pretty accurate. Still, everyone agreed that Claire looked really good in her soccer outfit.
Time to cool it off


Rainbow Star Wars

Rainbow Star Wars

We made the mistake of recording Star Wars again, this time the whole original trilogy, episodes IV through VI, and letting Claire know about it.  She was really excited to get a chance to watch it some more after her initial teaser a few months ago.  On the plus side, she finally got to meet Yoda.  Her favorite episode is Return of the Jedi, although she can’t tell us why.  Maybe the ewoks?

Claire notices a lot of things in the movies like people’s outfits and even the colors of their lightsabers.  She says that if she had a lightsaber, it would be rainbow-sparkle colored.  She asks a lot of questions about what people are doing and why.  She is fascinated with Darth Vader and the idea that he is kind of nice after all.  But when Darth is being mean, she calls him ugly names like “mustard syrup” and says that she would poke him in the eye or kick him in the shin to make him go away.

Even though Claire likes Star Wars, she insists that does not mean she likes “boy stuff”.  As if to punctuate the point, she sometimes wanders off mid-movie to go play with her My Little Pony toys.

Packing it on (sort of)

Packing it on (sort of)

Molly had her 18-month well check today.  Mainly, we were interested to see if her body was actually growing.  Last time we had her weighed at the doctors’ office, during a visit for a cold back in January, she had not put on a single ounce over the few weeks since her 15-month check.  She was stuck at 18 pounds.  If we did not see any movement on her weight this time, we might have to start with the blood tests, which besides being a troubling sign, might get ugly, based on past experience.

We did not go in with great expectations, either.  Molly had been on another “down cycle” with her eating lately, apparently due to a cold and/or teething, both of which seem to badly suppress her appetite.  She is often hostile to the very idea of food.  Most mornings when I set her down for breakfast, Molly looks like this:

Back to the well check…we had some cautiously good news.  Molly now weighed in at 18 pounds and 12 ounces.   She’s small, but definitely growing, and the doctor was happy about that.  Coupled with a lot of walking and talking, the doctor was pretty encouraged with the way Molly was coming along.  After all, Molly also looks like this once we get her away from the high chair:

More Words

More Words

Molly has been learning more real words.  She has picked up many on her own, and we have also been working on body parts and some picture books.  I wanted to take a moment to record all the words she can say at the moment while such an exercise can even be attempted.  These are the words that she can say and whose meaning she seems to understand, in alphabetical order.  
  • apple – she does not eat a lot of these, but she likes the way they look
  • bye bye
  • cheese (“chee”) – sometimes used in combination with “muh” (see below)
  • doggie
  • dada
  • ear (“eee”)
  • happy
  • hi – sometimes said as “hey”, sometimes combined with a person, such as “hida”
  • mama
  • more (“muh”) – usually accompanied by the “more” hand sign.  She seems to think this actually means “I want it”.
  • mouth – (“mou”)
  • nose (“no”)
  • no (“nuh”) – often repeatedly many times for emphasis, ie “nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh”
  • yeah – informal affirmative, used in lieu of “yes”
Then there is “elmo” / “emo” / “emma” which may refer to any or all of:
  • The annoying Sesame Street character 
  • Grammy’s dog Emma
  • Grammy Joyce
This word is a matter of some debate, but in my recollection, it started out with a very clear “L” sound in the middle (“ellllmo”) and evolved towards the “Emma” variation when said dog was in town.
Molly has not even begun to figure out what to call her beloved sister Claire.  We have attempted to plant “Kay Kay” or “Sissy” in her mind, but these seeds have not born fruit, perhaps because they are stupid ridiculous.