Generally speaking, my almost four-year-old son's sports acumen leaves much to be desired, compared to the other boys around him. Henry is certain that the Red Sox play both soccer and baseball, and football mystifies him. Tennis is not tennis--it is "net," and Henry doesn't get why so few people are on the court. Last weekend, Brian and my dad took Henry to his first baseball game to see the Lowell Spinners, and I think this photo accurately captures everyone's experience of the event:
If he can figure out a way not to fall down all the time, I think Henry would make a great runner. But based on his behavior around the house, I'm not so sure he will be a triathlete. I know I could get him to participate by telling him he gets to write numbers on his skin with a marker. But I also know that the transitions between events are important.
Henry does not do transitions.
It takes me no less than 20 minutes to get him to change activities. I hope to God that this is typical for his age, but knowing from his teachers that he is the only kid who has to cruise the classroom for 10 minutes prior to sitting on the circle makes me wonder.
I try to picture Henry in a triathlon. Assuming they let participants swim with one of those long foam noodles, I see him exiting the water to stare at the clouds for a good 5 minutes, trying to find one that looks like the Hudson Hornet. I see him then noticing a flock of gulls down the beach and while I call to him to come to his bike, Henry takes off in the other direction to catch a bird. Before getting to the bird, he sees a shiny rock. Then another one. And another. And soon he comes running to me with two fists full of pebbles, many of which turn out to be nasty beach trash.
I tell him to get his shoes on for the bike. He says he doesn't want to ride his bike. I say the bike will be fun, and all the other kids are doing it. He says wearing shoes is not his favorite thing. I say that his feet will hurt if he rides without shoes.
I want to wear my Crocs then, Mommy.
You can't bike in Crocs, Henry.
I only like dark colors. My sneakers are light colors.
Your Crocs are pink, Henry.
I want to wear Crocs.
You'll hurt yourself biking in Crocs.
No I won't.
You can have a Hershey Kiss if you put on the bike shoes, Henry.
I put his shoes on for him.
And the helmet.
Mommy, I'm a mushroom! Look at me, Mommy! I'm a mushroom that turns into an owl!
Okay! Let's be a mushroom that turns into an owl who can ride a bike!
No, Mommy. I'm putting on my show. I'm putting on my show right here in four minutes. I have to get my show ready.
I need some time to get your costume ready. Why don't you go ride the bike while I do that?
He gets on the bike and rides 10 yards, stops, and tells me he needs the potty. After that is taken care of, he says he doesn't want to ride his bike, so I just pick him up and put him on it, and he starts pedaling away with a smile on his face.
He rides into the next transition, and I say it's time to get off the bike. He says No. I don't ever want to stop riding my bike. Running is not my favorite thing. Running is a bathroom word, Mommy.
I lift him off the bike and go to take off the helmet. I want to run with my helmet on, Mommy. I'm a superhero. Super people wear helmets.
Fine. Let's change your shoes, Henry.
No. I like my bike shoes.
But you can't run in them, Henry.
Running shoes are yucky. They're poop. And pee. And babies wear them.
Only big boys wear running shoes, Henry. Show me what a big boy you are and change your shoes.
30 minutes later...
Okay, Henry, I'll put the running shoes on, and you do the Velcro.
10 minutes later...
Okay, Hen, you're ready to run!
My son takes off running toward the ocean.
Henry! Not that way!
He turns to run back, but stops in the parking lot.
Mommy! This truck doesn't have any hubcaps! Look, Mommy, no hubcaps!
I see that, sweetie. It's time to run, Henry!
I want something to eat. I want it to be snacky. Not lunchy. Lunchy things are not my favorite. I want goldfish. And juice.
And I want to be a parrot. A parrot that turns into a cheetah.
Okay, but parrots don't wear helmets when they go running.
The helmet comes off.
And you know what else, Hen? Cheetahs are the fastest runners. They love to run. They love to run down that road right there. And when cheetahs finish running, their mommies give them a big hug. And a treat. Cheetahs get a treat when they run down that road right there.
What kind of treat? A food treat or a toy treat?
For the love of God, Henry, please. Run.
Who's God? What happens to dead people? Will I die some day?
Henry if you run down that road right there, I will play Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders tonight.
And off he goes...