While our family was at the park today to celebrate the end of school, our Danny Sam did a set of five monkey bars all by himself!
If you are not gasping or cheering right now, then you are not reacting properly to this fantastic news. The boy is only a bit over four-years-old! Already I am truly convinced that he is destined for outstanding, wildly successful, extraordinary, well-coordinated things - perhaps on planet Mars - because he can also ride his bike with no training wheels around the yard really, really fast. And he just barely learned! You should see that boy take corners with a smile on his blue-eyed face.
This week our Boo, aka Ella, graduated from kindergarten.
She was very nervous the night before, and at bedtime I laid down to snuggle with her. I don't think I do quite enough of that, just taking quiet moments for them individually.
She must have appreciated my concern for, "You can pick out my dress and fix my hair, Mama," is what she said in the morning.
That sounded quite sweet and suspicious, for Boo likes to fix her own hair without combing or parting it. Then if I balk at the lumps or general disarray on her head she gets extremely offended, pouts, and accuses me of all kinds of meanness hidden behind my innocuous concern in making sure she's properly groomed.
Growing impatient for her appointed hairdresser, she had her sister braid her hair in pigtails without parting it and picked out her own outfit to boot. Her style looked fabulous from the front, but the top and back? Not so much. My objections to the form set off a whole morning of jungle hair warfare. I barely survived to tell the tale!
When I showed up for the graduation, I wore all blue and black: Batman colors for my number 1 Batman fan. I brought two beautiful dresses with me, jewelry and dress shoes just in case Ella wanted them. Walking into her classroom, I noticed immediately that a teacher had taken Boo's hair down in order to fasten her cap to her head with bobby pins more easily; the battles had been for nought. Booey was grateful for the dresses, though, choosing a dark blue fancy number to match me.
She was absolutely beautiful as she sang her favorite song Muscles and Bones in the little auditorium/lunchroom, and her whole family was in the audience, her big brother and sister having come from their classrooms and Papa from work to see her promotion to first grade. My only regret? - that Matthew and I did not think to ask someone to take our picture with our little girl in her cap and gown.
She made excellent grades and behavior marks, learned to read Little Critter books, lost more teeth than I can recall, and also, sadly, outgrew her curly hair this year. Ella Belle, with her very strong personality, is growing up.
Ana's teacher said to me one afternoon this week, "She kicked the ball over the fence and kept apologizing. I told her there was no need to be sorry about it; she was just playing the game. Ana is a great defender! All the kids want her on their team during recess."
"She is! She is a great defender," I agreed as I hugged Ana. "I've always thought so, but that's good to hear."
With her crazy long legs, how could she not be? I am so glad she's in soccer and that she enjoys it, but I didn't feel that way - not even close - the first time I saw her play.
I wanted to yank her away from the cruel sport, pull her off the field into my arms and keep her safe from that mean ball and those rude, rough kids. In just that one game, the ball was kicked into her head and chest at about 3000 miles per hour, a gigantic boy fell on and crushed her arm, and then she nearly collapsed on the field in exhaustion after running up and down a field continuously for no good reason.
What kind of devil sport is this? I wondered.
But now, coached by her papa for two seasons, my girl is confident on the field. She doesn't feel badly anymore when she steals the ball or accidentally knocks down or kicks a rival player. She runs continually and hardly puffs one bit, and she is a great defender of the goal. I've told her so myself many times after seeing her skill in several games these past two seasons.
"She's going to play in high school," her assistant coach pronounced last week. I think he's right.
After being madly in love with football for two years, Berto finally gave soccer a whirl this season.
Did I say the game of soccer is all about anticipation? No? Well, if you've ever watched a bunch of men running around an enormous field FOR-EV-ER for the chance in a million that they or a teammate will get the chance to put that stinkin' ball in THAT STINKIN goal and actually make it, then you know what I mean. If you are a crazy soccer fan who watches your favorite team's players - or a parent who watches their favorite kids - running around like dehydrated lunatics chasing down the mirage of netting spanning metal poles, then you know what I mean. The only thing that keeps us going is the anticipation, the blasted dream of a ball on air hitting a pocket of love.
Well, with our boy Berto, the anticipation wasn't such a commodity; nearly every single game he scored a goal.
I kid you not. Is not that miraculous? They're going to call him B-AIR-to when he gets to the MLS. That boy knows how to play forward and rock it, my friends. Yes, his team lost more than won (isn't that good for a boy who got too used to his team annihilating opponents in football?), but he got them goals or assisted the cause on a regular basis. He also played goalie, diving and jumping to bat that ball back down the field.
"The problem with him is that he's good in every position he plays," one of his coaches remarked to me.
We were very honored when Berto got the chance to play in an invite-only tournament here in Phoenix called East-Versus-West. His coach said it was about sportsmanship and behavior but also about skill. Sure enough, Berto scored his team's only goal in their first game. (He was appropriately humble about it, however: "My goal was easy, Mom. It was just me and the goalie.) Sadly, they lost, but they moved on to a shootout at the end of their second game, and they racked up three consecutive goals and won. Berto, though he wouldn't have his turn at the opposing goalie, ran down the field to jump on his fellow players in celebration.