Interstellar Adventures

November 7, 2007

Put away the Sour Grapes

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:37 pm

One of the lessons that I individually, and our various team coaches collectively, have tried to teach both Elle and Zed is that you have to be both a good winner and a good loser. And both kids have gotten to experience their fair share of winning and of losing. They always shake hands with the other team, win or lose, and they’re never allowed to ‘rub in’ a win, or vice versa, they’re not allowed to kick around and grouse about a loss.

Last night, Elle had a playoff game for her club team. She was goalie, and it was a tough game, which we ended up losing 3-1. Two of those goals were scored on Elle, and she was devestated. I had to remind her that she can’t win always, and that it takes a lot to get in goal and defend for your team. They can’t all be saves.

Tonight, Elle had another playoff game for her rec team. The team we faced we’ve played twice this season, and won both games. We played this team twice last season, and we each split a win. They’re tough on defense, and have one girl that can clear it half way across the field. It’s always a close game when we play them. Our last regular season game on Saturday was a 1-0 win over this team. Tonight we won 2-1. All the goals were scored in the last half of the game, and both teams were worn out from playing their hearts out.

And just now I found an email in by inbox from our coach. Another mom and I had to sub in as coaches because our coach had to attend a funeral service. The email was forwarded from our league coordinator, and contained a complaint against our girls tonight for ‘overly aggressive play’. It really upsets me that the other team would suggest that we were out to ‘win at all costs’. Both teams played hard. It was essentially an instant replay of our previous games against this squad.

Soccer isn’t a non-contact sport. Contact happens, and it’s not unusual to see girls running, shoulder to shoulder, leaning, to try to get or maintain control of the ball. And as long as there is no pushing, shoving, or tripping, there’s no foul. I have seen fouls happen in the past, both from girls on our team and girls on other teams. I know what overly aggressive play looks like, and our girls absolutely don’t play that way, and certainly not tonight. We don’t play dirty.

And what’s more, it’s rec soccer. It’s not World Cup. It’s third grade girls, on a field, with a ball, playing their best. And that’s all we ask of them – play hard, and win or lose, hold your head high because you did your best. Maybe the other coaches need a lesson.

October 24, 2007

Nevermind, Dammit

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 9:17 am

I had full intentions of sharing this weekend’s superfun nerd pictures with you, but I’m having difficulty uploading. So you will just have to wait to see pictures of me with Kenny Baker, David Prowse, Darth Vader, Dark Helmet and a few miscellaneous others.

Instead I will regale you with tales of how I sat my butt on metal bleachers for 3 hours on Monday. Two of those hours were spent freezing and watching Zed play football. It was quite exciting because they were in the ‘premier’ matchup in the ‘big stadium’ at the football complex. His team lost 20-12, but it was a fairly good game…couple of interceptions, a failed on-side kick attempt, and some dubious ‘kick-offs’. Inexplicably, it took 45 minutes to play the first half – which consists of two 8-minute quarters. They stopped the clock on every darn play! I don’t think the clock-runner knew what they were doing. Either that or they wanted more play time with the jumbo-tron fan cam.

The next hour on the bleachers was at Zed’s basketball practice – directly after the football game. Despite ample padding, my tushie was quite uncomfortable at the end of the evening. And my tummy was rumbly. Zed and I didn’t eat dinner until 9:30! But that’s how Monday’s have been the past month. I did feed him a couple of Quaker bars between football and basketball though. He’s a growing boy!

Also, there has been HIGH DRAMA in the world of pre-select soccer. Elle’s soccer club has recently undergone a great schism, and my email inbox is full to prove it. Lordy people! I have never seen a group of more immature, snipey, panty-twisted adults. It’s a game about a ball in the grass. Granted we’re hoping to get a scholarship to a smaller college out of this for Elle, but still! End of it all is after our last game this weekend, Elle’s soccer coaches are moving on, and we’re following. We really had no tie to the club other than through the coaches that she’s been playing with, and after listening to obvious BS come out of the club owner’s mouth at the parent meeting, I decided I didn’t want my kid playing with people like that. Seriously. I wonder where some people get their ethics and why they think they won’t get caught in their lie.

So, if listening to me bellyache about my kids’ sports, which I knowingly put them into, isn’t your cup of tea…hold out for the photos. I promise, they’ll be here soon…

October 2, 2007

Jumble

Filed under: Elle & Zed,It's Me, Lass,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:04 pm

On Monday, Zed had his Fery First Jr. High School Career Football Game. He didn’t inform us of this, but before his VFJHSCFG, Zed was promoted to 1st string B team. Beside one muffed snap, he supposedly was pretty perfect as the center/snapper. And I missed it. I am so torn up and sad that I missed his game. I would give a million dollars to have seen that game. Because if I had a million dollars to give, I wouldn’t have to be on a business trip and missing my baby’s game.

I talked to him tonight about his game last night. He felt like he did well. AND, his coach told him today that his snaps were perfect during his VFJHSCFG. Now all he needs is to grow a few inches and gain about 20 pounds, and he’d be on the A team. Seriously. It’s his size that is keeping him back from being the ace snapper on the team. I aform PROUD. My heart is bursting with proudness and happiness.

Zed also has qualified for the Duke University TIP (Talent Identification Program). Based on his state test scores, he has qualified to be able to take the SAT in the 7th grade. If he does well, he’ll get special recognition and possibly the opportunity to take classes next summer at Duke University. I also realize he’s in 7th grade. He’s very, very smart. But the SAT? I know how I stressed about that. My junior year. That’s 4 years of learning he has to do, But he’s supposedly smart enough to do it. I haven’t decided. I think I’m going to try him on an SAT prep book and see how he reacts to it before I decide to put him through that pressure.

 On the other hand, Elle is doing OK in school academically, but she’s having social issues. She’s had a couple of outbursts lately, probably due to stress I think. Last year she had issues with girls that were growing up before she even had the concept of growing up. Plus she’s also going through some possible hormonal/emotional issues. She also had a lot of anxiety before the school year started. See, our school district doesn’t give ‘grades’ until 3rd grade. They get pass/fail and meeting testing thresholds from Kindergarden to 2nd grade. Now she’s freaked out about failing. See, where Zach is smart and ‘gets’ it the first time through, Elle doesn’t. She’s a little slower. She doesn’t do well in group learning sessions. She does better in one-on-one learning scenarios. I think she gets anxious about how others perceive her, and she just says ‘Yes, I understand’ even if she doesn’t just so other’s won’t pay attention to her. And when she doesn’t understand, she cries.

My heart breaks for her. I’m a person that usually ‘gets’ it the first time around. So is Zed. But Elle takes longer. I think she may actually have some auditory processing issues that I plan to have her tested for this year. I KNOW that she is highly intelligent. She remembers, she figures, she assesses, she figures out all on her own. It just takes her a little longer, and maybe she needs more explanation and time that other kids.

And my heart breaks for her because I see her struggling. She’s embarassed and frustrated, and it hurts her and me. So I hope that I can work the system to get her the help that she needs. She’s continuing in speech therapy that I finally got for her at the end of last year. I’ve asked about the mentoring program that was such a big help for her last year. She really responds to one-on-one interaction. I’ve talked to the teacher about the mean little girl that is saying ugly things about Elle and telling other children not to play with my daughter. On threat of physical pain no less. Nice.

It feels bizzare to me to have one child that excels easily and to have another that has the intelligence, but still struggles. I’m frustrated and puzzled by this. But I will never give up on her.

September 23, 2007

It’s a Birthday Monkey

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 12:21 pm

Nine years ago today I welcomed my sweet baby girl into this world. She came into this world a tiny, pink, hungry, hairless thing. She was tiny compared to her brother. A full 2 lbs. 6 oz smaller. I was scared to hold her because she was so little. Her fingers were long. Her lips were red.

Today she is a ball of raw energy. You could power a city off of her. Equally, I have never seen another human being fall asleep so fast. She’ll fall asleep in the middle of a conversation in the car. A nap from school to home will refresh her for a bit. Her reading and writing are improving dramatically. She’s funny. She’s loving. She’s considerate. She’s a beauty. Her sunny outlook makes me smile no matter what. She still loves simply. She’s an athlete. She loves to run. Game followed by practice? No problem.

My baby is budding into a young girl. It will be too soon before she’s no longer a girl. I tell her I’d keep her little forever if I could.

Nick immediately nicknamed the kids when he came into our house. Elle is ever-affectionately known as Monkey. Anything we see with a monkey on it gets added to her collection. Monkey pajamas, shirts, backpacks, puppets, stuffed monkeys…you name it. And the name describes her exactly. Energetic, climbing, silly, loud.

Happy Birthday My Little Monkey Love!

 

September 10, 2007

Pretty Sure I’m Just Freaking Out A Little

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:08 pm

On Saturday Elle was getting ready for her three soccer games – indoor playoff, outdoor club, outdoor rec. I was in her room, lamenting it’s messiness, when she threw me a curve ball. She complained that her left breast area was bruised. I thought this was odd, but maybe she’d been hit with a ball in practice or something.

But when I took a closer look, I didn’t see any bruising. So I felt around her nipple and about fell over when I felt a lump. So I felt the other side. No lump. Me being me, I immediately panic on the inside, all while trying to act very normal, so as not to freak her out. Continue about your day as normal, everything is OK.

I spent more of the weekend obsessing over this issue. Also freaking out a little because I don’t have a pediatrician that we see regularly, and haven’t in some time. We have a family GP that is generally pretty good, and who I used for Zed’s first-ever sports physical just a few weeks ago. But with whatever this is, I decided that she needed to see a pediatrician.

And, further, to soothe my mind, I of course decided to Google ‘breast lumps in 8-year olds’. And I actually do feel better. Sort of. From several boards that I found, this is most likely a pre-pubescent breast bud. I hope to have this confirmed tomorrow morning.

But this leads to another worry. Prepubescent! I remember 1 girl in my 3rd grade class that actually had boobs. At least a B cup. But I didn’t get my girly bits until I was in 5th or 6th grade I think. I’ve heard about girls starting earlier, and in several boards, some commenters mentioned they started their periods at age 9! (Sidenote: Elle turns 9 in 12 days). At least by looking this up, if this is truly what the situation is, I’ve got lots of questions to ask.

This could also explain why Elle has been a wreck the last couple of months. She’s more emotional lately than ever, and cries at the drop of a hat. And I am so not ready for this! My baby. My little girl. She’s not ready for it either. She’s still such a tomboy. I’m sure we’ll get our money’s worth at the doctor’s office tomorrow.

How about any of you moms parents with girls? Is this normal? Am I over-reacting?

Update: Our visit to the doctor eased my mind a bit. Totally normal. This is seen in both boys and girls. Watch it, and it will probably go away. It is a little early for this to be buds, but if the other one starts to develop as well, don’t be alarmed. Mom freak-out can go back to guarded.

August 31, 2007

Welcome, Sports Fans!

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Hobbies,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 10:43 am

I find myself in a postion that I promised myself I would never get into. This semester, we will be suffering from OverSportitis. A long time ago I had a hard and fast rule. No child would be in more than one sport at any one time. Elle played soccer, and basketball in the off (winter) season. Zed played baseball when he was little. Then he decided on basketball. Football was a big no-no. “I will not even consider it until you are in seventh grade.”

I never stopped to think about what I would do once he got to seventh grade. Did I mention that he has started seventh grade this year? The whole ‘pick your classes for next year’ process was very confusing last year. Basketball is only a second semester sport. Tryouts aren’t even until November. So I figured he’d be put in another class for first semester. Art, drama, something. Nope. He got Athletics for the whole year. So I thought maybe he’d be put in some kind of off-season fitness thing, which would be good for him. This summer he grew a couple of inches and lost 11 pounds. Keeping him active was going to be the best thing.

So, imagine my chagrin when Nick put me on the phone with him on Monday. “Mom, I want to ask you something.” Uh. OK. “Since basketball doesn’t start until next semester and I’m already in Athletics, can I play football?” My head screamed NO! And then my heart hurt a little. And then conversations with Nick played over and over in my head. “You don’t want the boy to have regrets when he’s older. You don’t want him sitting with his friends, sharing stories, and regretting that he never tried football.” Of course I don’t want to hold him back. So I said Yes. Zed couldn’t believe it. “Really? Oh cool! My best friend J is playing and this is going to be so much fun.” The excitement in his voice still wasn’t enough to cover my fear. Because of course, in my mind, the worst is going to happen – a catastrophic injury of some kind.

So Nick took him for his physical, bought him a jock, cleats and mouthguard, and got him prepped. They started practice yesterday. But it wasn’t until I was talking with The Ex that it fully dawned on me. I’d already paid for and signed him up for basketball. So Zed will be playing basketball at the rec center, football at school, and be in the band. (Sidenote: I also checked the band schedule, and they never play at a 7th grade game.) Plus he’ll have his homework and other chores.

On top of that, Elle is playing on TWO soccer teams. She begged to play one more season with her rec team that she’s played with since Kindergarden. And she wants to play with her new club team. I had to check those rules too. Technically they’re not allowed to play on two teams, but since they’re in different divisions, they allow it. So, she’ll have two games and two practices per week.

Basketball, football, soccer, band…my head is already swimming. I’m going to have to be more faithful to my calendar book and remember to write it all down like I’m supposed to. And to stand and smile on the sidelines, cheering for every good play, wincing and enouraging at the not-so-good plays.

On top of it all, between now and October, I’m also playing dominoes, golf, softball, running, biking, and swimming (hoping a business trip gets me out of that one) for my company’s team during a Special Olympics fundraiser thingy-mabob. Sleep? What’s that?

August 14, 2007

Keeping them Entertained

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Married Life,Mom Life,Mr. Wonderful — by InterstellarLass @ 11:30 pm

Nick got a job working from home. It’s perfect, because the kids don’t have to go to daycamp. And once school starts (August 27th can’t come too soon), he’ll be here when they get home. Plus he’ll be around for his dad, and able to be more flexible with doctor’s appointments and such.

But until the school year starts, the kids have to entertain themselves somewhat during the day. And not all electronic entertainment. Elle has been reading the Junie B. Jones books. Zed finished Harry Potter VII last week. Today he started on Tom Sawyer. They also have ‘summer workbooks’ which I procured from Barnes & Noble. Grade-level tasks to refresh their young minds. Zed is working on reading comprehension and Elle is working on writing, math & reading. And, their time is interspersed with Game Boy, lunch, naps, walks and movies. Today was Where the Red Fern Grows. The 1974 version based on the Wilson Rawls novel. If you haven’t read this book, read it. If you haven’t seen this movie, see it. One of the great boy-dog stories of all time. I read this book in 6th grade English, and openly cried in class. It’s stuck with me ever since.

T0night I traded in the BBOnline DVD for a free in-store rental. Tomorrow they will watch Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog. Trying to find a movie that is suitable and palatable for both nearly-9 and just-12 year old kids is tough. Another movie that I’ll be looking for is The Journey of Natty Gann. I was 10 when this movie came out, and I loved it. And it’s loosely related to the canine theme with the wolf. And of course Old Yeller. What other framily-friendly dog-themed movies are there? I mean, besides Lassie & Benji.

Tonight at dinner, we somehow came to talk about the subject of dating. Zed is in 7th grade this year, and has had a crushes on a couple of girls over the last couple of years. Of course, these are the from-afar-she-doesn’t-know-I-exist-crushes. He typically gets very embarassed when talking about girls, but tonight he was asking questions. Like about how you actually ask a girl out and what kinds of things you say to get her phone number. GULP.

Nick, of course, being Mr. Suave (um, you have read about how he asked me out again at the end of our first date, right?) gave him a few tips. I told Zed his mom is a sucker for big, goofy, hairy guys and not to take his advice so readily. After cautionary tales of cheesy pick-up lines such as “Wow, did it hurt? When you fell from heaven?”, Zed thought up his own. On the way home he asked “What about this? ‘Call the doctor – I’ll need surgery on my eyes after being blinded by your beauty.'” Bwah ha ha. I couldn’t contain my chuckles. We advised him against obvious flattery. This is going to be fun.

What’s the best/worst pick-up line you’ve ever used/heard?

June 5, 2007

Hey Kid, Happy Birthday, Once We Get Past the Hair

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:11 pm

So, since it’s the summer time, and since Zed’s birthday was just around the corner, and since he needed a haircut anyway, Nick and I decidd to have a little fun. “Hey. Want to shave your head into a mowhawk?” “Ummm…sure! Why not!”

So, Nick and Zed went into the bathroom and got hair all over the place. I had to go in and clean up, both the cut and the hair. And when we were done, I think it looked pretty cool. We went and got it professionally cleaned up a little more over the weekend.

Saturday night we went to dinner with my family for Zed’s birthday. I’m surprised there’s any oxygen left on the planet from the gasps my mom and grandmother sucked down. My sisters were a little more cool. After the first hundred ‘Oh my gods’ we finally got a ‘that’s cool looking’ from one of them. My grandfather just looked at him with disapproval and said “What a disgrace.” Nice gramps. Way to start off the night. No happy birthday? Isn’t that why we were there?

My grandfather sat outside the restaurant and stewed while the rest of us went inside to eat. There was palpable tension at the table through most of dinner. Nick went a little overboard in defense of my parenting capability and I’m not sure if he and my grandmother will speak for some time, if ever.

So forget the fact that he’s first chair clarinet, that he’s in honors math, that he got a ‘commended’ score on our state-standard test, that he has the sweetest heart of any kid his age that I know, that he looks after Pop and checks on him during the day to make sure there’s nothing he needs, that he’s progressively more responsible and is dismayed any time he thinks he disappoints people. Let’s throw all that out the window because of a haircut.

There he sat, at his birthday celebration, he was apologizing for causing trouble. I told him he did nothing wrong. Because he didn’t. And neither did I. My grandmother is convinced that we’ve opened ourselves to a world of trouble by allowing him to do this. Uh. He’s almost a teenager. That’s trouble right there isn’t it? And if I though he would be negatively influenced by this action, I wouldn’t have even considered it.

This is the way my family has always been. Never fearing to stick their noses in when they haven’t been asked. Never failing to have a comment or an opinion on my choices. Nick called it ‘child rearing by committee’. And they do all act as if they have a vote. And at times in my past I wasn’t capable of pushing back on them. Of putting my foot down and saying ‘no’. Of insisting that they respect my authority as a parent.

So, because I have yet made another bad decision and failed at my parenting duties, Zed will no doubt be featured on America’s Most Wanted within the next 10 years. I’m probably going to have to visit him over the Christmas holidays in juvenile detention. He’ll be convicted of selling drugs to babies. All because at age 12 I let him shave his head into a mowhawk. Silly me. Someone revoke my rights as a parent and save my children now from the inevitable damage that I have now done to them. I’m most angry over the fact that this was his birthday. And it was sullied by the negative reactions of my family that aren’t mature enough to keep their mouths shut.

But you know what? My baby boy turned 12. On Sunday he went to training to become a timekeeper at the basketball games, earning $5 per game. Then Nick continued to contribute to his deliquency by taking him to TwinPeaks (similar to Hooters but with lumberjack girls) for lunch. He declined the photo with the girls, but accepted the koozie signed by the staff. Last night I took him shopping with his gift cards and birthday money. We went to JCPenney, armed with a $40 gift card, a $10 coupon (good on an over $10 purchase), and his ‘savings’. He had a list of what he wanted. Shoes, shorts, shirt. The Target gift card would be saved for a Gameboy game. We searched the men’s shoe section. We found a pair of Adidas sneakers ON SALE. In a size 8. Is that normal? I was shocked. He checked out on his own, using his coupon and gift card. Then we wandered over to the boys section. I helped him locate sizes. He chose styles, and tried on for fit. Then checked out on his own. The cashier complimented him on his hair, asking (though totally bald) Zed if he thought he could do that style with his ‘hair’ too. “Hey, it’s America.” and the cashier laughed. Everything he bought was on sale, and with the coupon, he only spent $4.89 of his cash. Target was out of the Gameboy game Zed wanted, so he decided to save it rather than buying something he really didn’t want.

I’m so proud of Zed. I could brag on him all day. He is a wonderful, sweet, warm-hearted, kind, loving, smart, responsible (for a 12 year old), trustworthy, funny (funny!) kid. I could not have asked for a more perfect son. All you moms know that squeeze of your heart when you think about how much you love your kids. It’s both heart-wrenching and exciting watching them grow up. My time getting him ready for the world is already over half gone by, and the next few years are going to fly by I feel.

Happy Birthday Sweetie. I love you.

June 1, 2007

New Soccer Mom on the Block

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 9:52 am

Thusfar, our experience with soccer and Elle has been all rec and all for fun. Starting tomorrow, we enter the big leagues. Select Soccer. Elle had to go try out a couple of weeks ago, and after the practice the coach said he would be glad for her to join the team. “She’s good. She does need to work on fundamentals, but she’s good.” With just two practices with these coaches, I’m already seeing an improvement in her footwork and skills.

We’re starting with the shorter indoor season, and our game tomorrow is at 7:42 AM. That’s in the morning people. Early in the morning. We’re going to have to get up at 6 am on a Saturday. That in itself is just wrong. Tonight we have to go to Academy to get new shorts and socks in the appropriate color for the new team. Oh, and ponytail holders in the right color too. Can’t forget those.

I’m also going to be the ‘new mom on the block’. I won’t know any of the other mom’s on the team. One other girl from Elle’s team is playing, but she’s playing an age group down because of when her birthday is, despite the fact that she and Elle are in the same grade. I’m not good at talking to other moms. Especially not early in the morning. And especially not Soccer Moms. Our resume is rec league only, so I feel a little like the white trash soccer mom. But hopefully Elle will play well and ease my transition. No pressure kid.

Update: Well, she pulled through for me. Like it’s all about me. Her team was technically better than the opposing team and we won easily. They stopped counting goals after we scored 8, and I’m pretty sure we scored at least 8 more. Elle scored two goals in the first half! Way to go baby! There are several girls on the team that have excellent skills, and Elle has a lot to learn. She has the time, and I’ll find the money. We’re thinking World Cup one of these days. 😛 

April 24, 2007

Ringers

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 9:31 am

Elle’s soccer game on Saturday was a tough one. One of our girls scored in the first quarter, and then our defense held through the game to give us a 1-0 victory. And although we won, I was upset when I overheard parents on the other team discussing the ‘ringers’ on their team. Evidently a few of their regular girls couldn’t make the game, so their coach called over to the local soccer club and got some more. I can’t believe that at this age level, when stats don’t matter and there are no playoffs, that a coach would do that. But, it felt good that our ‘rec league’ girls really put it to this other team.

Sunday, Elle and I had more fun with soccer and went to the FC Dallas game with her team. The girls got to go down on the field again and got to line up outside the player tunnel. They were even briefly up on the big screen. The home team won 3-1 and there were some exciting set ups and shots on goal. Watching these guys and their footwork is just amazing.

Tonight is supposed to be Elle’s last soccer game of the season. It’s also supposed to thunderstorm and be severe weather tonight. This is the soccer season that will just not end. Our first game was back on Feb 10. Reschedules, rainouts and spring break have made this season excruciatingly long.

Other events this weekend:
Zed went to Six Flags and lost his wallet. It was found, but I don’t know if we’ll get it back unless they’ll mail it. We’re not driving out there to get $13 from a $10 wallet.

Elle went to my knitting group with me. She was very good for two hours, alternating between playing her Gameboy and learning to knit.

Went to dinner with my family for my brother and niece’s birthdays. Father and daughter have birthdays 2 days apart.

Didn’t get anything on my ‘list’ accomplished. What else is new?

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