the politics of parenting (with legwarmers!)

kid #1 wanted to play soccer with his friends this season.

kid #1 has not exactly proven himself an athlete. he is best left to video games, lego creations, and sketch books. one day kid #1 will take over the world. just not on the soccer field.

kid #1 is a latecomer to the game. and what i mean by ‘latecomer’ is that he has joined the league at the ripe old age of 7 instead of 4. these missed years are apparently a problem as are team arrangements.

prior to this season, teams were based on which elementary school your kid attended so they could play with their friends. a simple yet solid plan.

but no. this was not good enough. according to some parents this did not lend the teams to fairness. some schools had stronger players than others. fine. good point. so what. the kids were 5 and 6 at this point and i’m pretty sure they had fun.

i think. unless their parents told them how crappy it was not to win at grade 1 soccer.

and some did because this caliber of parent exists. coaches were lobbied to make changes and changes were made. skills were assessed and players were scattered. teams were posted, coaches assigned, an uprising ensued.

emails from angry parents poured in. “my son needs to be on the same team as _______ (insert random dire reason here)”.

the coaches stuck to their guns. after all, they had made these changes to appease parents hadn’t they? or at least to appease the parents that hammered on relentlessly for these particular changes to be made. but the coaches had not taken into consideration that they’d be put under pressure by other parents wanting different things. so they caved. and teams were moved around again. except not without the aggressor of the first group of parents having her hand in it. which resulted in her son being exactly where she wanted him to be. on his own little super team. with players who won’t let him down. so he can be a grade 2 soccer champion.

kid #1 is on team 6. super-kid’s super-mom was consulted to see if she would be okay if super-kid was moved to team 6. just to even things out. super-mom gave a big super no.

wait. what is this consulting business? i’ve paid my soccer fees in full and want my own consultation time. in which case i would say that my kid just wanted to play soccer. and learn some skills and good sportsmanship. and have a good time and go home and move on with his life. because he is 7.

yet i worry that the parents of kid #1′s teammates will resent the fact that a non-seasoned player has infiltrated their team and messed up their chances of winning.

i had hoped this was going to be a fun thing for him. it still better be a fun thing for him because i will be the one standing on the sidelines in the rain watching this all go down.

the moral of this story though is that if you are a bully you can have what you want. which sucks. and is wrong. and is completely the opposite of my belief system or the way i am trying to raise my children.

also, i am particularly sensitive to bullying. i experienced it first hand as a child and it messes you up. bullying tricks you into believing that somehow you deserve to be treated badly because you’re not worth anything. you’re ugly. you’re small. you don’t have a voice. as a 12 year-old my lunches were eaten by someone else, the faces of my barbie dolls were cut off, my hair nearly set on fire. and it stuck with me. for a long long long time.

watch shane koyczan’s TEDtalk. just do it. and encourage others to.

i cannot prevent bullying on the soccer field or the precedence it sets for others. but i will not let it happen on the sidelines.

kid #2 knew a little girl at the field and they are friends. they have spent time playing at each others houses. they have gone on a small family trip together. they are friends. but this friend is also friends with super-mom’s super-daughter. and that day super-daughter decided that kid #2 was not allowed to play with them. they made fun of her. they ran away from her. kid #2 did not understand. why wasn’t her friend being nice to her?

kid #2 is 2 years old. which is why a pack of watermelon gum, her very own pack, was a big deal. so she came and asked for it and said that maybe if she shared they would be her friend. and they took the gum. and they ran away.

i tried to keep it cool but i was fuming. i walked over to “remind” them that it wasn’t okay to be mean. but there was more teasing and intentional meanness.

they are just little kids, i kept telling myself.

one of my favourite literary quotes is from margaret atwood’s ‘cat’s eye’, where she writes “little girls are cute and small only to adults. to one another they are not cute. they are life-sized”. and this is true. and so it was to her.

kid #2 had been having an excellent day. she had attended her very first dance class where she had worn the special blue tutu she had picked for herself. she felt big and happy and proud of herself. i was not going to let super-daughter mess with kid #2′s self esteem. not on my watch.

and then out loud i said i wanted to choke super-daughter.

what kind of crazy person says that about a little girl? so now i am embarrassed about that. mostly just because it makes me come off as an insane person.

moving along. except not really because i was still in a terrible mood after dropping kid #1 off at hip hop later that afternoon. so i went and bought stuff. naturally. this time huggalugs leg warmers for kid #2 and kid #3. and it made me feel much better. because i am shallow. whatever.

for kid #2

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and kid #3

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i had never purchased legwarmers for my kids before. lots of striped and spotted leggings and tights for kid #2 to match with nothing. but no legwarmers. and now i am super sold on them! they’re easy to get on even when kid #3 is rolling away from me, they’re soft, and they look good with anything. even with kid #2′s frilly hello kitty skirt or any of the random non-matching outfit choices she comes up with. wearing huggalugs legwarmers also do not require her to completely strip every time she needs to pee. and they can be worn as armwarmers. super bonus!

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huggalugs are stretchy so they fit kids of all ages and sizes. kid #3′s huggalugs are considered ‘nubies’ because they are made with smaller dimensions in mind. but just as cute. actually more so.

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the huggalugs brand, which originated in australia, makes adorable hats as well, many of which are specifically designed to match certain styles and prints from their legwarmer collection.

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so freakin’ cute. i just want to eat that bunny up.

the styles are numerous and i’ve picked at least a dozen more in their online shop that i’d love to have. for my kids i mean.

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and although i specifically bought them for kid #2 and kid #3 to wear as legwarmers, they’re both super cute and super practical on arms since they’ll make summer tees wearable in colder weather.

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i might even be able to sell kid #1 on these just by showing him this picture.

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because he’s a rock star.

or a soccer player.

and he’s 7.

whatever.

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One thought on “the politics of parenting (with legwarmers!)

  1. And this is precisely why we lasted just the one season on soccer—may kid#1 persevere and have a great Time in soccer despite the silly adults around him- here’s hoping!

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