One of my goals as a mother is to exhaust my children so at the end of the day they can’t wait to get into bed.
This can be done in many different ways. Some ways are more intellectual like a trip to the library or the museum and other ways are more physical like going to the play ground or long nature walks.
For Jake, Quinn and Claire this is a pretty easy task. The world is so new to them that each day is a new and exciting adventure. Our own back yard is full of wonderful things to explore and learn about.
But Hayden, he is older and therefore more of a challenge to exhaust. Especially since his preferred activity these days is sitting down and either watching TV or playing some video game. He had become board with my usual activities so I am forced to find new ones.
Last fall, I took him to play groups and gymnastics but he has since become board with those things. He has also caught onto my ‘Running’ game, where I would set them timer and have him run laps around the house as many times as he could. He thinks that this is stupid and refuses to do it any more.
So when he came home from school on day with a flier for a 4 week Soccer camp, I jumped on it.
“Hey Hayden?” I called. “Do you want to learn how to play soccer?”
“Um, no. I want to play football,” he stated.
“What? I thought that you told me that you wanted to play soccer. Doesn’t that sound like fun, running around?” I asked.
“But Mom, I want to play football. You know where they run around and kick the ball all over. Football, I want to play football,” he told me.
“Hayden,” I said with an exasperated sigh, “that is soccer. Running around and kicking a ball is what do at soccer. So do you want to learn how to play?”
“YIPPEEEEE!” He said in between jumps off my bed.
So it was settled. I signed him up for soccer. And we make the first session, a family affair. Hayden was very excited and seemed to take to the sport like a fish to water.
I was so proud watching him run around with the other kids, learning skills like ‘dribbling the ball’ and ‘taking a knee’. My Mommy heart was just swelling for now, I truly was a soccer mom.
But when the first break came, about 15 minutes into the session, Hayden came over to us with his head down and a very long, sad face. He just about fell over in the grass next to us.
I handed him his water bottle. He took it from me and used what seemed to be all his might to lift his head and take a drink. He look more like an 90 year old man than a 5 year old boy.
“Hayden, what’s wrong?” I asked. “Don’t you like soccer? It looks like you are having a great time.”
He turned his head to look at me and said, “Yeah, I like it but Mom, I am just so tired. Can we go home now? I want to go straight to bed with no movie or chocolate milk?”
I just looked at my boy, curled up on the grass ready to fall asleep. I was stunned into silence because I had finally found the activity, the one that promised to totally exhausted my 5 year old son.