(Playing on a tree this past weekend while camping at Mt. Madonna.)
I made one of the best decisions I could have made this morning. I played with my kids instead of leaving for a meeting early. I did then accidentally leave late but the patron saint of good parental decisions cleared the traffic and I showed up, magically, exactly on time.
I was planning to leave early but it seems like Enzo has been having a rough couple of days lately with fewer naps and he was clearly disappointed when he asked and was answered with the fact that I was going to work today.
And then the great decision. "Enzo, I have to leave in a bit and I will play with you later, but would you like to play now before I go to work?" Brilliant.
So we played ball in the living room. I pitched from just a couple feet away the soft stuffed A's ball. Enzo was batter with the soft A's bat.
I've been using the term practice a lot with Enzo since reading research that shows advantages to crediting success to practice rather than the person. For example, I say things like "let's practice catch...., wow, your practice has helped you get so much better at catching..., close; we will get better if we keep practicing." Enzo regularly refers to practicing now. We even noted how an A's player could use more practice after missing a catch. Enzo has told me he can't throw the ball way up super high in the sky yet but he will when he keeps practicing.
So, this morning when Enzo asked to play ball I assumed he would practice throwing and hitting the ball himself which he is pretty good at. But he wanted me to pitch. We laughed and talked about practice helping him get better. Then he started hitting the ball! Four hits in a row from a couple of feet away! I was impressed.
We had time to laugh and smile and practice. After a bit Enzo wanted to sit and play catch and variations on catching. A little later is when Ana woke up and came into the family room. She wanted to play, too. I wasn't sure how that would work. The kids love each other but they can bicker over possession of a ball. But it did work. We sat in a triangle, very close together, and threw the ball to each other around and around. Enzo was extra helpful when throwing tossing the ball to Ana who is still young enough that catching is quite challenging. I think it is my favorite current Papi memory. We all smiled and laughed and took turns, it was the best start to the morning. Really wonderful.
When I did have to go, and that's when I realized I would likely be 5 minutes late rather than 20 minutes early, I felt good and so did the kids. Some days I just make the right decisions.
How about some anecdotes?
My kids are very sweet to each other. They will hug like it's a game. I think it is one of their games. They will do nice things for each other and with the sweetest voices say "here you go, Ana" or "it's okay." And they laugh and wrestle and play.
And sometimes they push or kick or Ana may bite. Usually someone is hungry and or tired and there is personal space or a ball involved. It happens.
Then I hear stories of how Enzo will go and defend Ana at school if she is arguing with another kid. The most recent was when Tami forgot to take Enzo's shoes to class. He refused to wear loaner shoes to play outside when it was time so a teacher played with him in class. Until he heard Ana screaming about something. Then my 3 year old son rushed to put on the loaner shoes and out to defend his 2 year old sister against some perceived injustice or discomfort. How sweet is that? I'm told, once that issue was settled, he forgot his obstinate refusal to go outside and had a great recess playing.
Thoughts that come to mind:
•It's so cool that Enzo protects his sister.
•I still want to be sure Ana always knows to protect herself as she gets older.
•I wonder, with all that Enzo knows about Ana, if he even wonders yet if Ana started the problem with the other kid in the first place? And when he does start to think about that, will it matter? And when will it change the conversation between the two after the situation is past?
•I love these kids. We are all very lucky to have each other, Tami, me, and the kids.
A couple days ago I got home and Tami suggested I ask Enzo what was under his hat while we ate dinner on the patio. He took off his hat and there were a whole bunch of scrap paper pieces in his hat and on his head. Why? "So the birds won't get it." Of course!
One more anecdote?
This is how Ana dressed herself in the morning yesterday.