Monday, September 24, 2012

Some Photos from the Best Day of My Life (so far)

Words alone could never express how much I love this man.  With him, everything else is possible.

Happy Anniversary, sweetie.  Thanks for giving me my happily ever after.  xoxo

Sunday, September 23, 2012

From PR to the ER

So, a few of you have already heard this story.  Or at least parts of it.  And if you were at the Denver Rock 'n' Roll Marathon yesterday, you may have heard my blood curdling screams coming from the medical tent at the finish line.  If so, sorry about that.

The good news is I ran a PR (personal record) at the marathon, qualifying for the 2014 Boston Marathon with more than seven minutes to spare.  So if I decide to run Boston again in 2014 I'll be able to register early, which pretty much assures registration.  It feels good to have a BQ in the bag already.  (I'm awaiting official notification of my entry into the 2013 Boston Marathon, but am fairly confident I made the cut.  Yesterday was the first day of the qualifying period for the 2014 race.)

And it was beyond fantastic to see Eli, Brad and Brad's parents cheering for me on the course at Miles 18 and 23.

At Mile 18 in Washington Park
Just before Mile 23, in front of Wash Perk.

The bad news is I collapsed and face planted at the finish line.  And then my feet and legs went into complete spasm.

Not fun.  Seriously, I don't think I've ever been in so much pain before in my entire life.  And the spasms just wouldn't stop.

I am so grateful for all the people who helped me yesterday, particularly a woman named Beth who was not affiliated with the race in any way, but who stepped forward to hold my hand while I screamed and screamed from the pain; who tried to get a hold of Brad (thankfully Brad and Eli were NOT at the finish line); and who basically was my angel.

Bless you, Beth.

Meanwhile, the medical staff from the race were able to do very little to help me.  As I writhed in pain, they just kept asking me the same questions over and over.  Maybe they were trying to determine if I was, and was remaining, coherent.  But in the moment, it was just making me angry.  Because instead of helping me, they just kept asking me my name.  My date of birth.  If I have any allergies.  Basically all the information on my Road ID, which I always wear when I run and which they never looked at.  Even after I told them, and kept telling them, I was wearing a Road ID, they just ignored it.  (I will still always wear my Road ID.  And you should, too.)  At some point someone thought to give me some Gatorade, with extra salt poured into it.

Then one of the medical staff from the race said that maybe this pain was God telling me not to run marathons.  Well, friends, that sent me right over the edge.  I'm not really proud of how my behavior turned at that point from aggravated to super angry.

But, I mean, are you kidding me?

This was my twelfth marathon.  I know the deal.  I know what my body is capable of, and what are my limits.  Sure, I like to push my limits, but you know what I think the real problem was today?

Chintzy Competitor Group only provided electrolyte drink at every other aid station at this race.  The rest only had water.  Every other marathon I've run, big and small, provides an electrolyte drink at least every two miles.  This race provides half that.

I've run more than 60 races of various distances since I started running in 2006, including (now) 12 marathons and 17 half marathons.  The only other time I've had issues with cramping was at this very same race last year.  I'd only run the half marathon, but after I finished and was on my way to retrieve my bag from gear check, I fell to the ground with leg spasms.  They weren't as bad following the half marathon last year, and I was able to land more gracefully instead of doing a face plant like I did today, but it was a good twenty minutes before I could walk again.

So I should've known better, you may be thinking.

Well, maybe you're right.  But I did try to plan ahead to compensate for the lack of electrolyte drink on the course.  I ate a Honey Stinger gel at every aid station that only offered water (eight total on the course), and when I started to cramp at about Mile 17 I looked for salt.  I passed a medical tent on my way out of Washington Park and grabbed a salt packet from a volunteer, only to discover when I opened it at the next water station that it was empty.

I saw my Runners Edge of the Rockies friends and teammates at the aid station they were manning at Mile 24, and was buoyed by their enthusiasm and encouragement.  My friend Julie hopped onto the course and ran with me for a bit, asking how I was doing.  I told her I was having a really rough day and she gave me a pep talk that helped me through those final miles. Big hugs to you, Julie.

So, I told Mr. Super Not Helpful Medical Dude that what my leg spasms and pain should be telling him is that his race needs to do what every other race I've ever run does, and offer an electrolyte drink at all aid stations.  And I told him that after I had this issue last year I told the race about my problem, and of course it made no difference whatsoever.

Way to save a buck, Competitor Group.

After asking my name and date of birth again for the millionth time, with my legs and feet still in full spasm, someone finally made the decision to call an ambulance and I was transported to Denver Health, a nationally ranked Level One trauma center that just happens to be located within a half mile of where the race finished.  Not that I needed Level One trauma care, but I can say with confidence that if I ever do, that's where I want to be.  Those doctors and nurses know what they're doing, and they had me put back together in no time.  And they were just generally awesome people while doing it.

While we were in the ER, Brad kept checking on his phone for the online results because I'd not stopped my Garmin when I hit the ground at the finish line.  I was having a lot of trouble in that final stretch and remembered thinking "I'm going to get a PR if I can make it across that finish line!" but I needed to see the results to know if I'd actually done it.

That's a PR right there, baby.  Oh, yeah.

After we got home, Brad pointed out that the awesome people in the ER even wrote me a nice note on my discharge papers.

Yeah, I may have mentioned my PR a few times in the ER.  I'd try and say it was the Valium talking, but many of you know me well enough to call BS on that.

"Don't sell yourself short" was the last thing my coach Maureen Roben said to me in our pre-race phone call earlier this week.  She knew I'd had a great training season for this race, and based on my course PR at the Park to Park 10 Miler I was primed to run a great marathon.

Maureen, I didn't sell myself short.  And I have a black eye two black eyes to prove it.  (Just looked in the mirror, and the second shiner is well on it's way.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dear Garmin

It's not you, it's me. 

You see, you started out as a really great training aid, and I still love you for that, but I fear I've become too dependant on you.  And on race day you complicate my life a little bit too much.

I know you're only doing what you're meant to do when you try to give me totally up-to-the-second data on my running pace.  But sometimes the numbers jump around quite a bit and my brain just can't handle it.  I constantly stare at you--adjusting, adjusting, adjusting my pace--instead of listening to my body or enjoying the beautiful scenery around me.

Don't worry, I'm not breaking up with you.  You'll still be with me for my marathon on Saturday (unless my mom brain forgets you again; I apparently have no control over such things).  But I need to alter the terms of our race day relationship.

I will allow you to tell me the elapsed time and distance run.  That's it.  No more pace feedback, please.  Not on race day.

Because it turns out when I don't have instantaneous pace feedback, I run a pretty darn good race just listening to my body.  With decently even splits.

And it's a lot more fun.

Monday, September 17, 2012

One Month Home -- The Recap

We've made it a month, our little family of three.

Eli had his first experience in a dressing room--Baby Gap at the Cherry Creek mall.  We'd gone to the mall before the stores opened to check out the play area, and when Eli saw the Gap he wanted to shop.  Um, ok.

He needed some new fall clothes anyway, so we waited for the stores to open and went in.  He did a great job saying "yes" and "no" (mostly "yes") as I held up options, then we headed back to the dressing room.

He put the first outfit on and loved it.  But when I tried to get him to change into the second outfit I realized he thought he was just getting dressed.  And he liked what he was now wearing, so didn't want to take it off.

I explained to him that we will pick four things (random number, just to get things moving). That got him to try on another outfit, which he also liked.  After that, though, I realized we were done.  There was no way we were getting through the rest of the clothes we'd brought back to the dressing room.

When I asked him to put back on the clothes he'd worn to the mall, he almost cried.  He was so confused.  I assured him we'd be taking home the other things, but I needed him to change back before we went home.

He was happy that we'd be taking the new clothes home with us, so he started stuffing it all in my purse.  Poor guy still wasn't getting it, and why would he?

We finally made it up to the cash register to pay, and out of the store without landing in jail.  And he mostly still likes the clothes he picked out that day.

Another of Eli's firsts this month was his first trip to the library.

When we walked in, he said "woooow."  (That's three syllables.)

The branch we first visited has the children's DVDs shelved right in the path to get back to the books.  So we didn't make it very far into the library.  Eli grabbed five DVDs without really looking at them, I managed to grab a few books (without really looking at them) and we hightailed it out of there.

I was fully prepared for a battle when it came time to return the DVDs, but he thought it was really fun to send them down the return chute.  And he did a great job of picking out new DVDs.  I told him he could pick five again, and he was more careful selecting this time.

When he had five, he of course saw another he wanted.  So we went to a nearby table and laid out the five, and I told him if he wanted the additional DVD that he'd have to put one of the original five back.  He understood, and traded one of the original selections for the new one.

On this second trip, I managed to get only one book in the bag.  We have plenty of time to work on getting more books in there; for now, I'm happy he's excited about the library.

Eli is still sleeping 11-12 hours per night, and even more on the weekends.  He's still sleeping in the bedroll next to our bed.  The other night I asked him if he thought he'd ever sleep in his bed and he said no.  We haven't pushed this with him, we just want him to feel comfortable and secure where he sleeps.  Our social worker gave us a few suggestions of things we could try when we feel it's time to transition him to his room, but agreed there was no need to worry about it for now.

The ever-illusive question: "what will Eli eat?"

The only thing we've learned for sure is we can never know, for sure, what Eli will eat.  He ate toast with almond butter reliably, until he didn't.  His current favorite is eggs, over easy thankyouverymuch.  He likes his yolk runny, but absolutely will not try using toast to sop up the yolk.  He just sort of eats the yolk with his fingers.  (Yes, at some point we will focus on silverware.  For now, we're just focused on getting food IN him.)

I've been doing a lot of reading about this issue of getting Eli to eat, and will probably do a separate blog post at some point in the future.  The summary, from every source, is don't push it.  Our job as parents is to get good, healthy food on the table.  And that's it.  We can't force him to eat it, and in fact trying to force it on him can make the issue much, much worse.

The first dessert he's liked was yellow cake, but even that wasn't a sure thing.  I gave him yellow cake with some homemade peach jam on top on day, and he loved it.  I tried to give it to him the following day and he refused it, wanting his cake plain. 

He likes steamed potatoes, but won't let us put any butter or olive oil on them.  But he wants olive oil drizzled over his eggs.  (Which is delicious, by the way.  If only I was trying to put on weight like Eli.  Sigh.)

He'll eat pasta, as long as it doesn't have tomato sauce on it.  We had dinner one Saturday night at Carmines on Penn, a local Italian restaurant that serves everything family style.  So we had to order something for us that Eli would eat as well.  We chose the baked ziti, thinking we could give him some pasta from underneath (without cheese; he still doesn't like cheese).  He ate it, but only after removing the tomato sauce from each piece of ziti with his fingers.  Until Brad showed him he could remove the sauce with his mouth, which I thought was brilliant.  Well played, daddy.

He's still eating fish, thankfully.  Brad and I have always eaten a lot of fish, and now we're eating more.  Salmon, grouper, cod, halibut.  More salmon.

Vegetables acceptable to Eli are holding at potatoes and corn.  He ate a spear of asparagus the other night, but declined to eat any more.  He'll occasionally eat a bit of yellow squash, but never zucchini.  Pretty much anything green doesn't make it past his lips, which is why we were kind of excited about the asparagus.  It's pathetic how one solidary spear of aspargus can make our day.

Brad used yellow tomatoes for our pasta the other night, and Eli ate the sauce.  We think he didn't realize it was a tomato sauce because the color was so light it kind of blended in with the pasta.  That 20 pound box of yellow tomatoes we got from our CSA now looks a lot more appealing.

His English skills are coming along beautifully.  Our social worker commented that he seems to be developing his language skills quickly.

Eli's preschool teacher told us last week that the other kids in his class get so excited when Eli says a new phrase, and that he's communicating very well with his classmates.

Eli no longer rolls his r's, which is sad.  Everyone warned us their language development happens so quickly, and along with it they lose the cute little quirks.  So true.

The Dogs
Eli is still struggling with feeling comfortable around Ruby, our Rottweiler.  So we continue to keep Ruby separated using the baby gate.  But Eli loves giving Ruby treats, including whatever food (usually vegetables) he didn't eat at dinner.

Soccer isn't going so well.  After his first week, which he loved, he no longer wants to play soccer.  This past week, we told him on Friday night that we'd be going to soccer the next day, thinking it would be something exciting for him to anticipate.  Instead, he said "no soccer!"

The next morning, he still didn't want to go.  We got him dressed (sort of, shorts and t-shirt but no shin guards or cleats) and went over to the field.  He refused to get out of the car and then cried in the parking lot.  And then drug his feet in a slow march up to the field.

He sat on the sidelines for the entire practice, refusing all encouragement to play from us, his coach and his teammates.  He finally got up at the end and ran through the tunnel of parents' arms, and left with a big smile on his face.  But he still insists "no soccer."

Maybe we started him in soccer too early.  Maybe he just really doesn't like it.  At this point we don't know what to think, but we've decided if he still says "no soccer" this Saturday we won't make him go.

His bike riding is coming along great, and we typically "rye-ad bye-icks" twice each day.  He's gotten pretty fast, and can do the loop around the park (about 2.25 miles) without any trouble.  We've had a few meltdowns trying to explain the park rules to him, how all the bikes ride in one direction in a certain lane.  But otherwise it's a lot of fun for all of us now that we're able to ride alongside him.

The boy who lives next door stopped by and gave Eli a scooter last week.  Eli does really well on the scooter, he has great balance, but he always picks the bike over the scooter.

We are blessed to have two neighbor boys on our block who are around Eli's age, one just turned five and the other will be 4 next month.  Eli loves these boys, and they have so much fun together when we see them.

His friendships at school seem to be coming along more slowly.  When we pick him up from his all-day school, both Brad and I have seen him playing alone on the playground.  One mom told me she'd encouraged her boy to engage with Eli, but her boy said Eli never talks.  Another mom told me that her daughter said Eli is one of her best friends, but that he talks so quietly.  When we see kids from his class outside of school, like at church or the Fall Festival, the other kids don't seem excited to see Eli.  (Except for sweet Caroline, who is always happy to see us and chatters away.  She's adorable.)  It's hard to watch him be so alone.

We'd heard that children learn language much faster when they're around a lot of other kids, and I still hope that's true.  But for now it seems like his lack of language is really holding him back from forming friendships.

I didn't cover attachment in our One Week Home recap because, well, it had been only a week.  Brad and I were still pretty much strangers to Eli at that point.  But a month in, I can see the foundation of secure attachment forming.

As I've mentioned, Eli began attaching to Brad more quickly.  Pretty much right away, actually.  I had a rough time with this in the beginning, as Eli rejected me over and over, but I'm happy to say much progress has been made over the past several weeks.

Our social worker made a spot-on observation, which I'll do my best to paraphrase.  She said children generally attach to fathers through doing things--riding bikes, playing catch, etc.  Attachment to mothers is more typically through physical touch and nurturing.  And since Eli isn't much into physical touch or nurturing, it made sense that attachment with me would come more slowly.

But it is coming.  In fact, as soon as I chilled out and respected Eli's boundaries things between us started to improve.  I've been learning under what circumstances Eli is comfortable with affection; they are few, but exist.  And believe me I take advantage of every single one I've discovered.  But I don't push it when I know he doesn't want affection from me. 

He asks for me when I'm not around, and is excited to show me things from his day when I get home from work.  He says "good night, mommy" almost every night as he gets in bed.  Some nights he's a stinker and will, with a huge grin on his face, refuse to say good night.  But a visit from the mommy tickle monster gets him to scream, between breathless laughter, "good night mommy!"

And one night last week, as I was leaving for a meeting at church after dinner, I said good bye and I love you to Eli.  He said "I love you" in return . . . paused . . . and then started singing "Say Hey (I Love You)" by Michael Franti & Spearhead, his current favorite song.

But I heard it.  Brad heard it.  It was a real "I love you" from Eli to me that seemed to surprise him as much as it did us.

Baby steps.  I'll take 'em.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Things I Did Not Do at the Fall Festival

I did not hover at the cake walk to see if my cake was being picked by a winner.

I did not later find my cake, half-eaten, on a table.

I did not examine the paper plates surrounding my cake, to see if the cake that was served was eaten.

I did not "stroll by" that table fifteen times to see if someone was returning for the rest of the cake, or if it was being discarded.

I did not lure our camera-shy son into the photo booth, counting on the fact that he wouldn't know what it was.

1.  No, I'm not the actress who played Jerry's "man hands" girlfriend on Seinfeld.  I get that a lot and have no idea why.  2.  Love the fluorescent blue cotton candy in his mouth.  3.  Eli trying to flee the photo booth.

I did not buy back a jar of my peach jam from the Country Store because they were all still there when we were leaving.

No, I didn't do any of this.  Only a crazy person would do these things.

And I'm no crazy person.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Skin, Your Skin

I've been thinking about how to write about something that happened a week or so ago when I was bathing Eli.  Well, and thinking about whether I should write about it at all. 

I've been hesitant because I'm not totally sure I understood what happened; I don't feel great about my inadequate repsonse if it did, in fact, happen; and if it did happen, I don't want to attribute more significance to it than I should.  I can be a bit of an overreacter.

So I'm just going to tell you what happened and see what you think.  Ok?

Brad and I have each settled in to our typical "duties," I guess you'd call them, taking care of Eli.  Brad cooks dinner most nights (ok, every night--that's the same as before Eli came home); I bathe him, read to him, and get him to bed most nights; and Brad wakes him up most mornings.  We didn't sit down and divvy up the tasks, we've just naturally settled into this routine because it works.

I like bathing Eli.  It gives us a chance to be with each other a bit more intimately than he normally allows.  We play music, and he usually dances his way into the tub.  With our dry climate here in Colorado, lotion after bathtime is a must and Eli happily allows me to help apply it.  It's soothing for both of us and, according to Dr. Purvis, facilitates bonding and attachment.

Bath time is a very happy time.

One night when Eli was in his bath, he kept scrubbing his forearm with a washcloth.  At first I didn't think anything of it, just thought he was being silly.  Eli is a super silly bather.

But then he pointed to my forearm, pointed to his forearm, and scrubbed some more.  And looked at me with a sort of sad confusion.  The message seemed to be that he was trying to wash his skin to look like mine.

When that realization hit, it stunned me.  I honestly hadn't yet thought through a conversation with him about race and skin color, and never thought the opportunity would present itself before he and I shared a common language.  Such a complex topic to discuss with a child who may or may not understand what you say.  (In our adoptive parent training we talked quite a bit about how to handle racism from others, which thankfully has not been an issue for us.  At all.  Everywhere we go, people love Eli.)

I don't remember specifically what I said.  I think it was something saccharine along the lines of we may look different on the outside but it's what's inside that matters.  That his skin is gorgeous and he is a beautiful boy, both because of how handsome he is but also because he is kind and thoughtful to others.  All true, but my delivery was pure blithering.  I'm lucky his English is still developing because maybe I'll get a complete do-over.

I know I didn't do a very good job, and I hope that when the topic surfaces again I'm better prepared.  Our son is gorgeous, inside and out, and I want him to know it.  To feel it.  To believe it.  But I also don't want to make him feel as though his different race and darker skin sets him apart from me and Brad.  I don't want to ignore our differences, but I want to focus on our sameness.

So how do I best do that?

Adoptiove parents, how have you done that?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Almost Foiled by Spiderman

Eli's school's Fall Festival is this weekend, and I was excited to see baking on the list of volunteer opportunities.  So I quickly checked the box to donate a cake for the cake walk and set about planning what to bake.

I distinctly remember winning a coconut cake at my school's cake walk when I was in second or third grade.  I'd never had a coconut cake before, and it was the most beautiful, tall, fluffy cake.  I delighted in bringing home my cake that I won.  And I probably ate most of it myself.

Brad suggested I make a German Double-Chocolate cake, which is a pretty spectacular cake.  Maybe the best I've ever made.  But I was thinking along the lines of what would appeal to a kid?  (Not that a coconut cake is really a kid's cake, but, whatever.)

I'll bake a novelty cake!  Of course!!  And I'll let Eli pick it.

So we went to Michael's and Eli picked the Spiderman cake.  I read the instructions, purchased all the necessary items, and began a practice cake.  Both to make sure I could make a passable Spiderman cake, and so we'd have some cake to enjoy ourselves.

Classic yellow butter cake, since Eli doesn't like chocolate. (I still can't totally wrap my brain around that.  But he's rejected chocolate in various forms at this point, so I feel pretty confident he just doesn't like it. As alien as that is to us, his chocolate-loving parents.)

I assume he'd never before licked the beater and bowl, since he at first eyed them both suspiciously.  After only slight coaxing he dug in.

I pulled the cake from the oven after the recommended baking time (AND a toothpick test), let it cool for ten minutes in the pan, and then turned it over. 

Anxiously.  Expectantly.

The cake was stuck to the pan.  Aarrgh.

And it was a little bit raw in the middle.  Sheesh.

Ok, no biggie.  That's why I'm making a practice cake.  Right?

My second attempt was only a little better; it was fully baked, but still did not completely release from the pan.

What the what?!?!?

As I was staring in anguish and disbelief at the second ruined cake, Brad suggested the Wilton cake release spray could be the culprit.  He reminded me of the time when I tried an organic alternative from Whole Foods, also with disastrous results.

But that's what the directions for this pan said to use!  I bought it specifically for this stupid cake.  This stupid pan.  Stupid, stupid, stupid. . . . 

*Brad backs away, slowly*

A few days later I tried again.  Everything the same, except I used my trusty Pam for Baking.  And the cake released perfectly.

Bless you, Pam.  I shall never again be lured into a substitution.

My practice cake was now my real cake, since I didn't plan on having to bake three cakes before I could begin decorating.  So I just had to forge ahead.

Eli helped me make the frosting.

He's fascinated with, and a little scared of, the Kitchen Aid mixer.  I told him to be careful not to turn it on too quickly, or powdered sugar would "explode" all over.  After that, he wouldn't get very close to it, fearing the explosion.  I have to remember that everything is very literal to him.

The cake turned out fine.  Not great, and certainly not my best cake.

But, you get that's Spiderman.  Right?

At least it's clearly homemade; nobody will mistake this for a professional's work.  And the cake itself tastes great.  We learned that from those two practice cakes, which we've nibbled on all week.

Still, next year I think I'll just make that German Double-Chocolate cake.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Joy of Giving

Our boy, who had nothing when he came to us, has shown an incredible capacity for and love of giving.

While we were in Ethiopia, our friend Julie gave Eli two One Birr bills.  The exchange rate at that time was 18 Birr to the Dollar, so each bill was worth about a nickel.

Eli loved his money.  He kept it in his pocket or his backpack, and at the end of each day he'd take it out and put it in a drawer of the desk in our hotel room.  Always the same drawer. 

Then each morning, as soon as he dressed, he'd take his money out and put it back in his pocket.  When we left the hotel room, he'd often transfer it from his pocket to his backpack (which always came with us).

On our final day in Ethiopia, we had dinner at a restaurant with a bathroom attendant.  After Eli used the bathroom, he saw Brad put some money in the attendant's tip jar.  Eli ran back to the table and started rummaging through his backpack.  We thought he'd lost something, but then he came running back to the bathroom and put his two Birr in the attendant's jar.

And he had a huge smile on his face.  As much as he loved that money, it was clear he enjoyed giving it to that woman even more.

Fast-forward a few weeks. . . .

At church last Sunday Eli found a lucky penny (heads up!) on the floor of the pew where we sat.  He was so excited, and added it to the change he had in his pocket.

When it was time for the children to go up with their offerings, Eli took his dollar bill and went up to the alter.  He was up there for a bit longer than usual and we wondered what was delaying him

He returned to our pew and we realized why the delay:  He'd emptied his (velcro'd) pockets while he was up there.  Into the basket went his usual dollar, plus all the change he was carrying. 

Including his lucky penny.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Soccer Mom

As of today, I'm officially a soccer mom.  Many of the Ethiopian kids come to America with mad soccer skills, and based on what we saw in the care center we had a feeling Eli would be a standout on his team.

But he almost wasn't on his team at all.

He had another long night's sleep last night, and I finally woke him at 10:15.  We had to leave for soccer at 11:00, and I was hoping to get him dressed and get some food in him before then.

Two things that can be very challenging.

Eli is very independent when it comes to dressing himself.  He knows what he likes, and doesn't take suggestions very well.  In fact, Brad and I have joked if there's something we don't want him to wear we should suggest it.

Anyway, I knew he'd probably never worn soccer cleats before.  Or shin guards.  So after he woke up I showed him pictures online of kids playing soccer, and pointed out all of their special gear and clothing.

He seemed to get it, and it worked to get him excited about his special gear and clothing. Initially, anyway.

We got him into the shin guards first and I declared success.  I really didn't care what else he wore, so long as he wore the protective gear.  But then he suddenly decided he didn't want to wear the shin guards after all, took them off, and refused to put anything else on.

So we left him alone in his room, and he just sat there.  Ten minutes.  Fifteen minutes.  Twenty minutes later, he had on shorts but nothing else.  (Not the soccer shorts we had out for him, but shorts.)


At least he wasn't wearing jeans, his recent favorite for 90+ degree days.  I told him he could wear whatever he wanted and packed all his soccer stuff in a bag.  I said we'd bring the bag with us in case he changed his mind and wanted to wear his soccer stuff.

He finished dressing, ate a slice of cold pizza, and we were off.  Just in time.

As soon as we hit the parking lot, and he saw how the other kids were dressed, he wanted his gear.  And he had a great time, just like we hoped he would.

He doesn't always understand what to do when a new ball is thrown out onto the field, so he often starts off behind the other kids.

But he hustles so fast that he's quickly right back in the action.

In fact, he's a bit of a ball hog.

I assume at some point they'll learn about teamwork, these three boys who are on the same team and battling each other for the ball.

But for now I couldn't be more proud of our little ball hog.  ;)