How much activity does it take to knock out a four year old? Today was supposed to be a calm quiet day in preparation for my son’s first bike race tomorrow, but plans of this sort so frequently fail to materialize into something concrete. Instead of a restful day, it was a day filled with constant physical activity, beginning with a morning teeball game.
The teeball game today was a teeball game like all other teeball games, except the fact that my team has come quite a long way in just five weeks. Maybe their skills haven’t improved a whole heck of a lot, but they certainly have a much better concept of what to do. I find myself screaming more to cheer them on than to repeatedly shout directions. Knowing what to do apparently makes the game more fun for the kids and it has now been several games since someone has declared they were bored. Of course, my son still on occasion asks, “Are we done yet?” But at least he no longer groans when I answer, “No, we are still only in the first inning.”
The positions in teeball vary slightly from the positions in baseball. Since most kids don’t exactly whack the ball, no one plays the outfield. If they did, they would very likely fall asleep and the word – as well as the emotion – boring, would be far more common. Instead of an outfield, there are two positions which I refer to as left wing and right wing, which are located on either side of the pitcher’s mound. In many games, it is the right wing and pitcher (although he/she doesn’t pitch) who see the most action (not including the first baseman who probably does the most running around each game). In the first two innings, my son played left wing and pitcher and not a single ball was hit to him. He found this very upsetting so in the third inning I put him at the right wing position – where most of the action was all game. He was very proud of how well he played, declaring with a huge satisfied smile when the game was over, “I had four catches.” And he played each one very well – considering he is only four and new to the game. He stopped two balls that were hit to him, ran up to get one that was tapped into the grass and one he chased down, refusing to give up on it even though it did get passed him. The first throw included his signature sprint towards first where he stopped abruptly three feet before first base and then released the ball. He then completed the throw with his cute little bunny hop. After the first throw, I explained to him that the ball might actually get to the base quicker if he threw it immediately after catching it. With each succeeding play, his lead up sprint was progressively shorter.
At bat, my son had one really strong and powerful (for a beginner four year old) hit up the middle, but his other two hits were on par with hits from the last several games. As for base running, in the second inning, as all the runners were heading towards home, my son decided to pause briefly on second base and while he did so, the kid who hit the ball passed him. Unlike previous times this has happened, my son did not seem upset in the least. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure he noticed.
When the game was over we headed over to meet up with my father-in-law who was in the middle of geocaching event. Yesterday, my son had asked when we could go hiking again so we thought it would be nice to meet up with his grandfather, go hiking and pick up a few caches. My son was excited to see Grandpa-Spider and very excitedly inserted himself in the hunt for caches. Of course, we referred to the caches as “treasure boxes” which for a kid who loves pirates and treasure maps added to the allure. Even though my son didn’t find any of the caches personally – there were at least twelve of us out on the trail – he had fun trading items (Grandpa-Spider’s friend supplied the first item for him to commence his trades) and hiking. Since he does not like to be the caboose and loves to be the leader this gave him incentive to keep up with his Grandfather who also obsesses about being up front and in the lead. But for every step Grandpa-Spider took with his long legs, my son had to take at least five. Over all we were very impressed that my son successfully kept up with the big kids hiking about a mile on hilly terrain.
Following the caching, my son and I swung by our church to help with the rummage sale clean up. While there we picked up a pair of racquetball racquets. My son has been begging me to teach him how to play tennis for awhile but I hesitated to get him a racquet in fear that he might end up hating the sport. However, seeing the racquetball racquets – which the woman who ran the rummage sale let me take for free - I figured I had nothing to lose getting them. Yes, it is the wrong type of racquet but for little hands I thought it might be lighter and easier to handle. So excited was my son to have a racquet, that we ended up stopping at the tennis courts – luckily I had an old tennis ball in my car - on the way home to play. I could not believe how much fun my son had even though he missed more balls than he hit. Having to chase after the ball did not diminish his enthusiasm in the least. I’m glad I picked up the racquets and I’m thrilled he enjoyed playing. I am very much looking forward to our next trip to the courts.
So exhausted was the little guy after our extremely active day that he was practically falling asleep at the dinner table. However, he did manage to keep his eyes open long enough for booktime. While reading the first book he yawned several times and I thought he would certainly be sleeping before the book ended but I was wrong. He stayed awake for three books and then fell asleep while I read one of my favorite picture books – The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark. Sadly, he may not have inherited my family’s love of historical fiction. It seems he frequently falls asleep when I read books of a cultural or historical nature.