Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Sports day

Sigh. I should have taken it as a sign that sports day wasn't going to go well when I picked up my lemon drizzle cake intended for the sports day cake sale, and dropped it on the floor. Luckily I applied the 5 second rule and managed to scoop it up before it could get cooties. But it didn't survive unscathed. It wasn't going to win any beauty awards, but trying to get two boys, their spare clothes, bags, lunchboxes and the cake out of the house all in one go, I didn't really care.

So a somewhat shaky start, but at least the boys seemed happy to be going to sports day.

Now, before I continue, I need to give a bit of history. Child 1 doesn't like being looked at. He hates being the centre of attention. He will not participate in group activities. Or rather, he will not participate in group activities if he thinks he's being watched by his mother.

When he was a toddler, I attempted a music group type class with him, one where all the mums feel like idiots singing the wheels on the bus while the children play with their navels. Let's just say we only went once. I don't think they would have let us back in again if we'd tried. When he was roughly 2, I took him off to Little Kickers, mini football, because he loved kicking balls around. I had to spend every session running around the pitch with him looking like a right twit simply to avoid a tantrum, while all the other mums sat and watched while their children gamely joined in. After one tantrum under my chair too many (him, not me although I was close), we decided not to return. £80 well spent.

I then gave up on group activities. But sports day is one of those things that isn't really optional. Last year he sat on my lap and cried his way through it. I was told by many well meaning people: 'It's an age thing. He'll be fine next year.'

So this year, armed with that sage advice and feedback from teachers that he had been doing very well and winning races in all the practice sessions, I felt confident that he might actually take part.

So you can imagine my deep, deep joy as I saw said child emerge onto the sports field with all his classmates, howling and holding out his arms for mummy. I pretended I had no idea who his mummy was for a while in the hope that by not getting any attention from me, he'd settle down. I was wrong. It simply escalated. I sighed deeply and went over to cuddle him. Between his teacher and I, we talked him off the ledge and got him to sit on the mat with his mates. But he refused to take part. Again.

How I do enjoy missing a full morning's work to watch other people's children charge up and down a field. At this point I pegged my hopes on child number 2 who's normally game for anything. He had a good start, taking part in race 1, but was definitely completely bemused by the experience and forgot that he's learned how to run with his arms bent at the elbows, and reverted to his penguin run, arms flapping wildly behind his back. But he tried. At least he tried...

Thereafter he refused to take part again. Instead, mummy had to sit on the mat with him. At least by this point, son 1 had decided to pluck up his courage and have a go. For a kid who normally appears to have a nest of ants residing in his pants, he moved at snail's pace. I think it was his attempt at making a statement, saying: 'Yes, I'll do it, but no it's not cool and in no way am I going to put myself out for you lot.' Still, he tried. Which is more than he did last year.

And miracle of miracles, he even got up to collect his leaver's certificate without any kind of meltdown. So leaps and heaps of progress really. Maybe by the time he's 18 and wrapping up his high school career, he'll be the school egg and spoon champion. I'll be sure to have my camera at the ready.

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