Friday, August 1, 2014

mama bird: just for kicks

I find parenting to be a daily (sometimes hourly) learning experience. When I was pregnant with Henry (our first), I assumed I had it all figured out. And even when he was a baby, we assumed we were the best parents in the world. As it turns out, Henry has a very calm demeanor. Once we had Eva – and did the same things with her as we did with Henry, and they didn’t work – we realized quickly that his good behavior had almost nothing to do with our parenting skills, and almost everything to do with his temperament.
I do, however, think I am a good mom – maybe not every day, but in general, I’m doing a pretty good job. Our kids are respectful, caring, honest, and happy, and we are happy to take credit for at least part of that.
Back to my main point that parenting is a learning experience. We can never know what will come next. Once we figure out one thing, we’ve already moved onto the next, and there is always something happening that we need to find an answer to. And for me, it’s always something that in my vast imagination, I never would have thought of.
This summer, for instance, I had a conundrum. The kids were both on soccer teams, and this was Eva’s first year of playing. Being the caring person she is, every time she bumped into another player, she would stop, say sorry, and offer her hand to the person. The first time it happened, the little girl got up, knocked Eva over, and stole the ball. Of course I was upset over this, but didn’t quite know what to think or say. After all, I didn’t want to teach Eva to be rude, but I also wanted to teach her to fight the good fight.
After a while, I noticed that it was really bothering Eva. I had to sit and think of what I would say to her. How do you tell a seven year old that everything you have been teaching them about being polite and nice halfway goes out the window when playing sports? And how do you also tell them that you still need to be polite and nice while playing sports, but that you can also be aggressive, lean a little, and wait to say I’m sorry?
It all came to a head, of course, during her last game of the season. She said to me, “mama, when I stop to say sorry to people, sometimes when I look down, the ball is gone.” And in my very best mom voice (the voice where I sound like I know exactly what I am talking about), I told her what I think are the rules of sports – lean, but don’t push; steal, but not from your own teammate; be aggressive, but not in a mean-spirited way; try not to knock down, but if it happens, say you’re sorry at the end of the game; and always be respectful, even if you’re leaning, stealing, and being aggressive.

It’s hard to realize that at some point in life, your child needs to learn that things aren't always going to work out just from being polite, that sometimes you need to fight for that ball. 

It’s hard to realize, and even harder to teach.

megan bird


  1. Sounds to me like you're handling it just right Momma. It's a difficult lesson to learn, and harder to teach, that we need the wolf as well as the lamb self; and when each is appropriate... don't know about you, but I'm still working on it and hoping I'll get it right!

  2. It's SO hard to teach!!! You've obviously done a good job. But honestly 9 out of 10 fights in our playground at school are over football. The boys are SO aggressive and horrid to each other over football and it is v hatd to change that so I'd rather have to do it your way!!! X

  3. Oooh that was such a tough one, I think you handled it really well.

  4. excellent reaction to this situation!

  5. That is definitely a difficult situation but I think you handled it perfectly! And this is probably why I never played team sports, ha. :)

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  6. My boys are on opposite ends of the spectrum and even though they are 20 and 22, I am still learning everyday how to be a good parent.
    What no one ever tells you is that you NEVER stop being a parent no matter how old your child is.
    Have a great weekend

  7. That is a tough one - but I think you handled it well! It's a good - and tough - lesson for her to learn. You're a fantastic mom!

  8. Sound like you handle it just right. I hope you all have a great weekend.

  9. You did a great job. That is a hard one to teach. My boys went through this same exact thing when they got into football. They didn't want to tackle and be mean. But when they realized it was part of the game and that it wouldn't hurt anyone's feelings, they felt better. Now they tackle, but they also help the guy they tackled up after the play. Best of both worlds. Good job mama!

  10. i hear you, mama! i sometimes find myself stumbling over my own words when trying to offer an explanation and realizing i just contradicted myself....

    i like your response to your daughter.

  11. You handled it well sport is tough but I think you learn so much about life through these tough exsperiences

  12. Parenting is touch and challenging. You did great and handled is well. We are their role models and it is hard not to make mistakes or do stuff that we don't want them to do but we are also human.


  13. Good on you.

    Sport is really tough for kids here and in the 16 years since I've had the four kids, I've seen some shocking behaviour by kids on the field and even worse behaviour from pushy over the top parents, Baseball is the worst, the Dad there are just crazed, it's weird.

    Cy alone has now done two sports at high levels and wants to go back to rec sport, only 10 years old and he's sick of how these sports now are organised.

    Jackson gave up on baseball after he was stuck in a team with odd father and sulky son who blamed other kids for everything. I have a mountain for stories for T and Harley which I won't bore you with

    I wish I could say I was a good mother, I get up in the morning and say it's another day but failing frequently is more my norm

  14. That's so funny, my daughter (first born) was (and still is) the sweetest, most wonderful baby. She didn't cry, she went right onto her schedule so I could get some sleep. She enchanted everyone she met and wrapped them around her little finger, she never got sick. I had my son and he had GIRD, so he couldn't keep down food and projectile vomited. I was covered in puke for six months. I basically bought a seven pack of hanes black tee shirts every monday and would just throw them away each night before bed,because it was pointless ruining my clothes. He did go on schedule, but he cried so much because he was always so hungry. Poor baby. After 6 months old he was able to eat baby food and it was heavier and stayed down. His temperament was completely different form my daughter's, they're like night and day! I love how they teach me new things everyday, and the almost overpowering love they elicit from me. It's so cliche Mommy but I never imagined loving someone this much. I know it's very ANTI Mom but London is like my best friend in training, she just GETS me. And Logan, he just makes me laugh so much.

  15. Soccer is such a great sport for kids; healthy and fun and they do learn other valuable lessons as case in point. I wish we would have had soccer when I was a kid or even for my daughters when they were kids. My granddaughters (the two oldest) have been doing it and they LOVE IT!! Great little family you have Megan, you should be so proud and happy each day you are able to hug them and tuck them into slumber each night! ♥

  16. You handled that situation perfectly. You're a great mom. :-)


  17. I think this you did an amazing job of teaching her how to act while playing sports. It's hard enough to teach the 'rules' of being polite, then you have to teach the exceptions! But seriously, you did it so well!

  18. We had the same issue with my oldest when she started soccer. That was great advice that you gave her!

  19. just catching up on your blog before i fall asleep, and what an absolutely lovely thing to read before bed. you're an amazing mom <3

  20. We have an extremely even tempered child and I'm terrified to have more because we can't get this lucky twice.