I love watching my son play sports, despite the fact it occasionally brings out the worst in him.
Beckett’s two soccer games last Sunday demonstrate the point well. Both games were highly competitive and exciting, being decided in the final minutes.
In his first game, he scored multiple goals but it was the one he didn’t convert on that hit him hard. He fought back his emotions during the game and even immediately after but when I went to give him a high five I could see he was teetering on crying.
He had played a strong game, but with about a minute to go he badly mishit a shot that he would have normally made. He should have made it. It might have been the pressure from the lateness of the game or simply a clumsy play, but he obsessed on that missed opportunity to tie the score with a minute to play the rest of the afternoon until his next game.
That second game was a blessing because it took his mind off of it. It helped that he scored early in the game and he was back to his upbeat, energetic style of play. Once again, the game was a nail bitter and he had an opportunity to score from close range with a direct kick off a hand ball. Unfortunately, he shot squarely into the wall of players.
With only about 20 seconds to play, the opposing team scored and the game ended in a tie. Beckett then regressed to being a toddler, complaining the other team cheated and how it was unfair. That went on and on and fortunately he saved most of that for me on the ride home and didn’t show that immature reaction to his teammates and coaches.
I have learned when he’s that worked up there’s no reason to even try and calm him down. My job is to listen and not downplay his feelings at that time. He has to vent and get it all out and I need to bite my tongue, despite how absurd and inaccurate he is being.
Later, I was able to talk to him about his immature reactions and how sometimes losing (or even a tie) is part of the game. I equated losing to everyday life occurrences. How there are multiple instances throughout any given day when things don’t go as we wish. Life is not easy and there are times when challenges arise and we have to cope with them as they surface.
He didn’t get that and maybe I did a poor job of explaining it in terms he could understand. I wanted to let him know it’s okay to despise losing because he’s a competitive being, but there are times when you have to accept it in sports and life.
I told him that I love watching him compete and giving his all, win or lose. If you play your hardest, do the best you can and lose, the best thing to do is learn from it, remember the feeling and be ready for the next game.
That’s the beautiful thing about youth sports. Each game and every practice are learning opportunities and it’s amazing to me to be able to watch him and his teammates improve — physically and mentally — on a seemingly weekly basis.
There are many bumps along the road, but it’s been and will continue to be an exciting journey for him and us, even if it at times spotlights some shortcomings along the way.
At this point, I feel like Pam and I should be writing a book about Carson’s sleep adventures.
The 7-year-old of the house has become a highly unpredictable sleeper. Every night there is something with the only commonalities being Carson coming into our room, resulting in one or both of his parents getting upset.
It’s tough to keep your cool when you are awakened to your child standing in your doorway flicking the lights on and off at 2:30 in the morning. Because he seems to be in some sort of altered state of sleep, there’s no reasoning with him.
Other nights he will come in our room, jump in our bed and go right to asleep. Those are the good nights. We have learned to tolerate sharing our bed, despite the fact it makes sleep more challenging for us because he’s a restless sleeper. We have tried walking him back to his room and that usually results in one of us falling asleep in his bed out of desperation for some peace and quiet.
For a period recently, I would just give up my side of the bed and go sleep elsewhere, typically in his bed. Pam would sometimes try the same thing but he would normally freak out if she left the bed.
One night this week was a nightmare. He came in a little before 4 in the morning with 10 stuffed animals and was obsessive about having them in bed with him. Being exhausted ourselves, seeking the path of least resistance and wanting to ensure he went back to sleep before school, we let him climb in with his furry friends.
It was a mistake. We knew it would be. He continually placed the animals atop both of us. I was willing to deal with that, but not when he started pushing them in our faces and deliberately trying to bother us.
One hour later, I gave up and just decided to start the day, which, of course, was not a good one for him at school because he was so exhausted.