We had a very early wake-up call on Saturday to get to the soccer field at 8am for team pictures. I've had so much going on that I've not been able to tell you about The Kid's soccer team, The Earthquakes!!!
If you have never had the pleasure of witnessing 3-on-3 soccer played by 5-year old boys, I urge you to immediately make an effort. It is truly an experiential thing. How can I describe to you in mere words the delicate ballet that is a 6-child scrum of pure heart and kicked shins? The thrill of victory? The tragedy of defeat?
The Earthquakes have been playing together for three weeks. They are coached by two teenage girls, who offer absolutely no strategy or pressure, which makes them quite obviously the greatest coaching staff ever. He's having a blast playing and appears to be making friends with his teammates. Sports are so important, they give you (if you enjoy them and feel like you are good at them) a confidence, feeling of ability, accomplishment, and the friendships that are forged there are somehow different than the ones made in a school setting. There is a lot to that whole "sport is my anti-drug" thing, I truly believe in that one. It's fun to watch The Kid gain confidence, I've watched it grow in only three weeks. It's pretty cool.
This week we played a team from a neighboring town, with a father-coach who is the complete opposite of The Kid's two teenage coaches. I am in no way kidding, this man had one of those clipboards with a soccer field on it and was showing the kids diagrams before the game. Five year olds were being directed from FREAKING DIAGRAMS!!! Once the game started, they clearly didn't have any advantage over The Earthquakes' minimal diagramatic soccer instruction. This didn't stop the coach, however. At one point he picked a kid up in the middle of the game and moved him to where the ball was. It was beyond ridiculous, and my first taste of the "insane sports parent." Mmm. What was that I was saying about sports giving CHILDREN a sense of accomplishment and self? I meant to say, you make your child play sports to give YOURSELF a sense of meaning. What was I thinking?
After the game, we set off for The Kid's special day.
After three weeks of Kindergarten, The Kid finally filled his sticker chart with hard-earned happy faces from school. So, we set off for The Kid's chosen special destination, The Butterfly Pavillion, or as The Kid calls it, The Butterfly Pavilliam, like it rhymes with the name "William." Hee!
The Butterfly Pavillion is pretty awesome. It is relatively expensive, in that it cost us $14 for admission and has only three rooms. The exhibits, however, ROCK. There is a creepy-crawly room, which The Kid loves, but gives me heart burn. There is an exhibit titled, "Beetle or Roach?" While they have a terrarium with freakishly huge and scary South American cockroaches, they also have one with the common household roach. Every time I go there I have to laugh at that one... There are so many people out there that live with these un-killable bugs but here in suburban America, we put them under glass so we can show children what roaches really look like. WOW are we lucky or what?
In the creepy-crawly room they also have a tarantula that a docent and the very brave Pavillion-goer can hold. The Kid has chickened out every time we've gone there. I think he chose to come here for this special day because he was determined that this time, oh yes, he would hold Rosie, The Tarantula. I must admit that I, too, have chickened out every time as well. This time, we both had the steely resolve to hold Rosie. Long story short? We did, and it was SO cool. She had the softest touch. I watched her "feet" on The Kid, and was reminded of the little bushy feet of a Bichon Frise... So, when it was my turn, I just tried to imagine that she was a very small, black Bichon with eight legs and a thorax instead of a tail. This delusion actally worked proving that with bugs, it's all mind over matter.
The other (and main) highlight of the special day was the Butterfly room. It is a huge greenhouse filled with butterflies. They are just everywhere... If it was hard for me to describe soccer, this one is impossible. Its just really cool and you'll have to take my word for it.
Oh, and The Kid saved a turtle. We rounded a corner of the butterfly room where a large crowd of people had congregated. The Kid, who must always know what is going on in a crowd, pushed us forward and we saw two turtles, a small one (about 9 inches long), stuck underneath a large one (about 1.5 feet long). The little one was just big enough to make it impossible for the large one to get any kind of footing to get off of the little one. They were stuck. I have no idea how they got into the predicament, but the kids were all mesmerized, and the parents were all looking at each other with a "what should we do--is there a turtle wrastler among us?" look on all of their faces. The Kid, who cannot stand to see his fellow earthly creatures suffer, just walked up to the turtles, assessed the situation, picked up the large turtle and gently set him back down on the ground, next to the little turtle. The little turtle was no doubt grateful for this and literally ran off of the path and into the faux jungle bushes. I think the whole holding of a tarantula made The Kid quite comfortable with all sorts of tropical creatures. The crowd dispersed, and we followed the big turtle around for another five minutes or so, and watched him try to eat leaves and slowly make his way back to his home in the little pond of the Butterfly Greenhouse.
Our next special day will be the Zoo... I hope he fills the chart before it starts to snow!!!