It’s that time of year again! The grass is green. The days are getting warmer. Children everywhere are stepping up to the plate and giving T-ball a try.
It’s been a few years since my kids played T-ball. But I remember it well. In our family, Dad coached, little sister tagged along and Mom struggled to keep little sister entertained long enough to watch at least part of the game.
Let’s just say it was a challenge.
My youngest daughter was not one to sit patiently. I wish I could share my “Five Easy Steps to a Perfectly Angelic Toddler.” Unfortunately I never figured that out. Instead, I’m going to share a few of my experiences in hopes of encouraging you. If nothing else, you’ll know you’re not alone.
Oh the stories I could tell …
Like the time I saw my toddler chewing a big wad of bubble gum during her sister’s game. What’s wrong with gum, you ask? I hadn’t given it to her. She proudly announced that she’d found it on the ground. Ack! Was it in a wrapper? Had somebody already chewed it? These questions still haunt me today.
Ball fields often have playgrounds nearby. Unfortunately, those playgrounds are usually too far away to watch the game and your toddler simultaneously. This always forced me to make a difficult decision. Should I subject myself (and those around me) to my daughter’s relentless whining to go swing? Or do I take her to swing and miss watching my big kid make it to third?
Potty training at the ball park was also fun. It actually required some athletic ability. I’d take a deep breath of fresh air and hustle my daughter into the port-a-potty. Always afraid she’d fall in; she locked both arms around my neck and held on like a monkey in a tree. Meanwhile, I did my best to keep my balance and also keep her from TOUCHING anything. Especially that disgusting hockey puck in the urinal! What a relief to step outside when she finally got the job done.
There were always moments of desperation resulting in trips to the concession stand for a sucker, a small bag of M&M’s or a push pop. These items worked beautifully until she spilled the M&M’s or got the push pop stuck in her hair.
Speaking of stuck, I’ll never forget the time she got her arm stuck in the chain-linked fence. One minute she was watching her sister and mindlessly weaving her little arm in and through the fence. The next minute, she was screaming. When she realized she couldn’t just pull her arm out, she panicked. Then Mommy panicked because a bleacher-full of parents were watching me struggle to get my screaming kid’s arm out of the fence.
Sitting on the bleachers was always a mistake. She walked the top row like a balance beam. And what if she dropped a toy or a treat? It was just not worth it.
Eventually I learned my lesson and came prepared. I threw a backpack full of toys in the van to keep her occupied. We’d spread out a blanket and dump out her toys. Five minutes later she was digging in the dirt, collecting rocks and playing with bugs.
Looking back, I suppose I couldn’t blame her. I understood her frustration. She wanted to be like the big kids. To be part of the action, not stuck on the sidelines.
Taking a toddler to T-ball may be a challenge, but take heart, Momma. Much like baseball and softball, those toddler years only last for a season. Before you know it, that younger sibling will be stepping up to the plate. They’ll turn around and give you a smile. And you’ll smile back – because now you’ll have the whole bag of M&M’s all to yourself.
Enjoy your summer and enjoy your kids. No matter what season you’re in!