Monday, September 30, 2013

Conversations with Kiel

It's time to lighten things up a bit I think, and I have a handful of funny stories from the last couple weeks that all deserve a blog post. Maybe I'll actually write them.

Snuggling in bed with Kiel the other night and he was telling me about one of the girls in his kindergarten class and how she likes his new hair cut. Apparently she is his girlfriend and he's going to marry her. I asked when he was going to ask her to marry him and he told me that "no, she has to ask me."

It was quiet for a few minutes and then Kiel said "It's good I'm not a girl." And this is the conversation that followed:

Mom: Why?

Kiel: Because I don't want to have to marry a boy.

Mom: Oh. Hmm...but Kiel, sometimes boys do marry boys.

Kiel:(In a high pitched I don't believe you kind of voice.) What?  No way.

Mom: Yes, they do. What's important is that they love each other, and sometimes boys love boys.

Kiel: And they get married? And like kiss?

Mom: Yup.

Kiel: Oh. That is so weird.

Mom: And you know what? Sometimes girls marry girls, and that's ok too.

Kiel: OK. Stop. You are FREAKING.ME.OUT.

(It was all I could do not to laugh at his reaction at this point.)

Mom: Well, mostly boys love girls, but sometimes boys love boys and girls love girls, and that's ok. I'm pretty sure you love girls, but if you don't that's ok.

Kiel: Oh, I know I love girls.

Mom: I just blew your mind didn't I.

Kiel: I don't know what that means, I'm only five.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Update to "And then this happened...(episode two: the asshat parent)"

So after I wrote this post, we received a group email from the faux coach.

Hi Parents, I would like to sincerely apologize to Noah's parents. I should've handled it privately with them. My emotions got the best of me and I feel awful the way I handled it.  

I am VERY sorry. 

I appreciate that he apologized, and I'm sure he does feel bad. I wish I could accept it with more grace than I am.

It's like we tell Noah, words hurt, and sometimes an apology doesn't fix it. No child should have another parent (or worse, a coach) screaming about how horrible he is to everyone around him. 

Today we heard from Noah's real coach. The faux coach was told his actions were unacceptable and that he is no longer needed on the team, effective immediately. Between you and me, I think the coach was relieved to have an excuse to get rid of him. 

More importantly though, Noah's coach also told us that because Noah was aggressive and apparently harmed another player, he was being suspended from the league for two weeks. His coach had to report it to the commissioner of the league and they take it seriously. Noah won't be allowed to practice or play with the team for two weeks. He will be reinstated for the last game of the season and for playoffs

I have very mixed feelings right now.

On one hand I absolutely agree with this decision, and so does Rich. Noah needs to know there are consequences for his actions. I think this consequence coming from someone other than us, will have more impact on Noah than anything we do. 

When I told Noah he was suspended he was upset. I was actually pleased to see him react this way. Sometimes he closes down and refuses to discuss or even react when he is held accountable for his actions. He is still insisting that he didn't punch anyone though. I'm hoping I'll get more information tomorrow when I actually speak to the coach (we were given this information via email today because we weren't home when he tried to call). The more details I have about the incident the better I can discuss it with Noah and try to get him to understand that just because he alters the story, the details of the actual event don't change.

I tried to explain to Noah that the team will suffer too, because of what Noah did. Noah is a good player, and not having him there to play puts more pressure on the rest of the kids.

So the other hand? I'm sad. Incredibly sad. 

This fall I've been the one taking Noah to practice and I've enjoyed it. I've been able to relax on the sidelines with the other moms that stay for practice. I've actually formed friendships with some of the moms and have looked forward to seeing them at practice during the week. I don't make friends easily, and I often find the moms in this area intimidating. It's been so nice finding moms that I feel comfortable with.

Because of Noah's suspension I won't see any of the parents for the next two weeks. Because of the faux coaches little performance Saturday, I imagine they will assume that Noah was kicked off the team. I know I shouldn't care what other parents think, but I do. Some of them will think Noah is a horrible kid, especially because of the faux coaches little tirade. If Noah plays with their kids again, which is very likely between soccer and basketball, their view of Noah is likely to be pretty negative if they think he was throwing punches at the other team.

And to continue the "all about me" pity party - I look forward to the games so much because soccer is the one "normal" thing in Noah's world. The one place he fits in with his peers. The one place where I hear other parents cheering for him and saying "great kick Noah," "way to go Noah." So I'm really sad that we aren't going to have this hour of awesome for the next two weeks. It's been really nice pretending for that hour that we are just normal parents.


And then this happened...(episode two: the asshat parent)

Soccer today. Noah's been playing great this season. Watching him play is always the highlight of my week. Today was no exception while he was on the field.

Off the field however...*sigh*  Turns out when he wasn't playing he was dumping out the other kids water bottles. It wasn't just Noah, but my guess is he started it.

We played a team from a neighboring township. They are undefeated and until today had never allowed another team to score. The game would have ended 2-2 except our team scored their second goal with an extra player on the field. Want to guess who that player was? Yup. It was Noah. Just hanging out on defense.

Two of the dad's from the other team jumped up out of their chairs screaming to the ref that our team had eight players on the field instead of seven. So the goal didn't count and we lost, but our team still played an awesome game!

After the game is when the fun really started. And by fun I mean horror.

The kids on both teams line up and high five each other after each game. Today Noah decided he'd power high five the other team. Fists may or may not have been involved. Kids on the other team say he did. Noah said he only gave really hard high fives. As I explained to Noah though, I tend to believe the other kids since Noah has such a hard time telling the truth in situations like this.

Bad choice on Noah's part!

The absolutely best part of all of this though, and by best I mean most horrifying, was that one of the dad's, who likes to play "assistant" coach  (and yes, I did mean to emphasize ass. He only wants to coach during games, not practices. We call him the faux coach) blew a nut and came running across the field screaming for "Noah's parents."

Looking back it's kind of funny. I remember watching him run and almost turning to Rich and saying "wow, the faux coach is running."

So back to our story - the faux coach runs across the field screaming for Noah's parents.

If I'd been thinking on my feet better I would have turned around pretending to look for them and then told him I think they left. But I wasn't. Instead I stood up and said "we are, what happened."

Still screaming, the faux coach told us (and all the parents on both teams) that Noah "punched the other team" and he wants him "kicked off the team for unsportsmanlike behavior."

Rich and I of course immediately went over to Noah to deal with him; both of us thinking from what he said that Noah was actually fighting kids on the other team. (Noah, to his credit was sitting on the ground away from the rest of the team, well aware he was in trouble.) I know the faux coach was still screaming but I guess I'll have to wait to hear from the other parents at practice this week what he was saying.

We talked with the real coach, and Noah knows he made some pretty poor choices today. The coach assured us Noah isn't going to be kicked off the team and he apologized for the faux coach. In the future Rich may hang out on the team side to make sure Noah is behaving. We made him clean up all the trash on the field since we were the last game. Then he came home and spent some time "thinking" in his room before he wrote an apology letter to his coach. He also lost electronic privileges for the day.

It's taken a few hours for the tight feeling in my chest to loosen up, which is much more about the faux coach making this a public spectacle than anything else. I'm half tempted to ask him if he was at McDonald's approximately seven years ago and yelled at a mom in sweat pants because her son pushed his son in the play area.

The good news is that like earlier in the week, I think Noah really does get why what he did is wrong. That's new for him. It gives me hope. Now we need to work on thinking before acting. I'm not as hopeful about that.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Well this happened...(episode one: the gracious parent)

I kind of, maybe, hope anyway, that we kind of might have had a bit of a breakthrough with Noah this week. Or maybe not. It's hard to say.

The not so short version is that Noah and the boys next door (the ones we share a driveway and backyard with) got into it the other night. Noah's version includes the other boys threatening to kill him with a plastic baseball bat. (Now, to his credit I did see them with the bat and they are very mouthy at times, and definitely provoke Noah.) Noah's response was to throw a rock at them, which hit one of them in the head and cut his scalp. Much screaming and crying ensued, along with some blood. The other boys is fine, it wasn't a big cut despite the blood. However, the mom came over and told me that her kids would no longer be allowed to play with my kids. And you know what? I totally get it, and agree.

We agreed that none of our kids are angels and that right now the best thing we can do is keep them apart since all they do is provoke each other. That is going to be interesting considering the shared driveway and yard. I guess it will be first come first served and if they are in front we will stay in back. Like I said, it will be interesting.

It sucks though. I think mostly this is just stupid boy stuff but because Noah is Noah he gets more of the blame. I think the other boys did threaten him and since his brain goes into fight or flight so quickly (do not pass Go, do not collect $200) he reacted. He said he thought the only way he could get away was by scaring them with the rock. However, in the end, he was the one that threw the rock that hit someone. The other kids didn't actually hit him with the bat.

Our neighbors are really being pretty awesome about it, considering. (Especially since they are the neighbors whose window Noah broke in the spring. Did I tell you that story yet?) I don't think everyone would have been so gracious about it.

Noah and I had a long talk about what happened and he was unusually attentive and involved in the discussion. I know he was upset that he hurt the boy and when he threw the rock he never considered it could actually hurt someone. Typical thinking for him. I was very honest with him about what could have happened and that we are lucky no one called the police. We talked about what would happen if the police did come, and that because of things he has done in the past there was a good chance he would be taken to the hospital to see a psychiatrist and probably would have had to spend the night without Rich or me. Scare tactics on my part? Maybe a little. Did it work? I think so. Will he remember in the future? Hard to say. Probably not in the moment.

After all that I totally lost it and sobbed for a good hour. At one part I was crying so bad I started to hyperventilate. I don't think I've ever done that before. I know my reaction was way over the top, but at the time I felt like our world was ending.

That was Thursday evening. Today we dealt with another parent. Stay tuned for episode 2: the asshat parent.