Last Saturday M went to his first ever sport practice.
Actually, to be more specific, he cried through his entire first ever sport practice.
One of our friends teaches soccer on Saturday mornings, and we've been wanting to bring M for a while now, but it seemed like every time we'd go, the practice would have changed to a different time, or someone would be sick, or it would be cancelled and we just never could make it happen.
Last Saturday, it finally worked out. Well, except for the bawling part.
M is not usually a big crier, so I have to admit I wasn't expecting that. Honestly, I think he was confused and overwhelmed: I was kicking that ball, why did he take it? Why is everyone running? What does that whistle mean? He was way, way outside his comfort zone. It took a pretty hefty portion of self-control not to run out to the field, scoop him up, tell him that soccer sucks and we don't have to stay here, and take him out for ice cream instead.
But of course, I didn't. I want him to learn to be brave and try new things. He needs to give it a fair try. Plus, I've got my fingers crossed that one of these days sports are going to be an outlet for all that energy...
So, at the first water break, I told the coach not to coddle him and to do what he had to do. He was kind and said not to worry, they'd take care of him.
I wish the story ended with a musical montage of M pulling it together, having a change of heart, maybe scoring a goal, and being carried out on the other four-year-olds' shoulders. But he just pretty much kept crying the rest of the practice, with interspersed moments of non-crying fun. Oh well.
I'm not a tiger mom, but I do know that sometimes things are hard and scary before they are easy and exciting. So I don't feel bad that we're bringing him back again next Saturday. One of these weeks it'll click.
There was one moment that perfectly captured M's struggle and his four-year-old innocence: M was laying down face down in the middle of the field, crying. A coach went over to check on him and Miles moaned miserably, "Why is everybody yelling?" Coach pulled him to his feet and explained that no-one was yelling at him, and convinced him to get back in the game. As M ran to join the others, he yelled something like, "Atta boy, M, go get that ball!" And M dropped to his knees, looked up to the heavens, and broke down, "You're yelling again!"