Catching up – on spending time with children and sport

treeWe planned nothing this past weekend, except for spending time with the kids, and it was SO worth it. Puzzles were built, movie was seen, Spur was eaten, trampoline jumped, tickles were tickled, copious kisses and hugs were dispensed and walks were taken. We literally love-bombed them this weekend and it was awesome.

The week before last I was away in Gauteng for 3 days for work (loved it there by the way, lovely people, great weather!), then came back on the Friday night and off we went for an adults only night away to Riebeeck Kasteel with 3 other couples on Saturday night that was arranged ages ago. I felt really guilty about leaving the kids, but it was great to spend time with Etienne, we both needed it. Hence the weekend of kids only this past weekend.

The only pre-arranged thing we had this weekend was taking Daniel to a rugby match in Paarl on Saturday morning. I say ‘take Daniel to a rugby match’, as we didn’t really get to watch him play because he refused to once the game started. He didn’t even break into a run once during his match, it was painful to watch. I conveniently went off to buy coffee, so I was saved the worst of it.

There were plenty tears afterward, so we decided to withdraw him from the last 2 games, it really is not worth the heartache for him.

But hear me out before you start judging.

This made me think long and hard about the decisions we made at the beginning of the winter sports season. First Daniel wanted to play rugby and couldn’t wait to start, then not. Then there were lots of conversations about how much fun it is to play with your friends. Then he wanted to rather play hockey because one of his mates changed over early in the second term. We stuck to our guns, we really wanted him to see the season through as we felt there was a lesson in it for him about completing what you start. We (to be perfectly honest) also felt that maybe, just maybe, he was a tad lazy.

After Saturday we realised that he’s not lazy (mostly), he just really doesn’t enjoy team sports. Etienne asked him what he wanted to do in summer: not cricket, tennis please. Maybe hockey next year, but we aren’t going to push him. He is also keen to do gymnastics, so we’ll investigate that. He doesn’t enjoy physical contact of a competitive nature if that makes sense.  It’s hard to explain, as he is a very affectionate little guy.

It is really important for us to have our kids play a team sport, but after seeing what it does to our normally vivacious child are we really going to compromise his sense of self and his confidence?

I think not. We would rather find him something to do that doesn’t entail him sitting on his backside, builds his confidence and he absolutely loves and we will keep trying until we find out what it is.

Does this mean that we are going to let him change his mind every 5 minutes? Absolutely not. But I am no Tiger Mother, I have precious little time with my children, I would rather make it count.

Sometimes, as parents, we need to re-examine our own principles and the things we feel are important as they aren’t necessarily valid or applicable to our own children. And sometimes, just sometimes, our own shit gets in the way of raising happy, adjusted kids that will actually want to spend time with us when they’re all grown up in about 5 minutes’ time.

Edit to add: the other thing we did this weekend was to purge all the clothes from the cupboards in our room we don’t wear anymore and never would.  I went to drop off several black bags and a box of kitchen stuff at The Haven Night Shelter in Bellville.  I swear it looks like we have been burgled, we now only have the things we actually wear in our cupboards and I feel 10 times lighter not holding on to those size 8 pants I’ll never fit into again.  Hopefully there are a couple of people out there that are warmer tonight.

7 thoughts on “Catching up – on spending time with children and sport”

  1. Kiara also is not into team sports and I have hesitated up until now to send her to anything outside of the “free” stuff they have on offer at school but she REALLY wants to dance so now she has started that and she is loving it!

    I do “force” swimming on them both though but only at school. Kiara doesn’t have to join the team (because she HATES the competition) but Cameron does (he is good and enjoys it more). The rest they can choose but they do need to stick it out for a term.

    I only started sending Cameron to club soccer and cricket this year after he had tried it all and found what he wants!

    So expose him to as much as possible (within reason) and then see where his strengths lie and go with that!

  2. Absolutely agree about revisiting your principles as parents. This is so true and doesn’t make you weak. It makes you appreciate each child as an individual and respond accordingly. Just as your first baby may love co-sleeping and attachment and all that, your next two or three may not! And that is okay. My son is also not into team sports, he is not competitive by nature so I would have done the same as you. I forced him to see out the cricket season but he hated it. Luckily he is too young to have experienced any actual matches. But now he is doing pottery (!) and loving that. These kids make us live and learn on a daily basis neh?

    1. Thanks Jenny, funny you should mention pottery, we’ve also had a request for that from Daniel. I wonder what the fascination is?

      1. It has certainly helped my lefty’s fine motor skills and helps his creative side because he doesn’t really love drawing because of his left hand issues. It’s really great (be prepared for many dodgy pottery artworks to be displayed ;))

  3. Oh I need to do that clothes thing! On the rugby, well we do stick to the “play the whole season” thing and with us, until you can swim well, you WILL swim. We believe it is a life skill. We do insist the boys do Judo – we think they need a physical outlet and in any event was advised to by the neurologist, and ballet – we think girls need to do something for posture etc. That saying it, after a couple of years if she asks now to say change to another dance form, we will let her, or music or whatever. However we insist we want to see their best in what they want to do.

    And do try the hockey – it is hugely popular in our school with both boys and girls and it is lekker rof! A prefers it to netball because it is a bit rougher (BTW she loves playing with and against the boys!)

    1. I used to play hockey (spectacularly bad, but I used to love it), so I’m quite looking forward to playing with him. And yes, the girls have to at least do a little ballet until they don’t want to anymore and I completely agree on the swimming, but luckily our kids love the water!

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