A few weeks ago Jayce started soccer. For some reason it was kind of a big deal to us.
I’ve written before a bit about how Jayce had a rough start at the beginning of the school year. He also had a kind of rough experience at a basketball camp that we took him to.
Chris’ school was holding a basketball camp one night a week for various ages starting at age 6. Chris had talked to one of the coaches and they had thought that it would be fine to bring Jayce along and see how he liked it, so we did. We thought it might be a fun distraction for him, but it didn’t really work out.
First off, he was a young 4, and there is very big difference between 4 and 6 year olds.
Second, Chris stayed to watch, but at one point had shifted where he was sitting to a spot closer to Jayce. But even though he was closer to Jayce, Jayce hadn’t seen Chris move. He glanced up at one point, didn’t see Chris where he had been sitting, and kind of freaked out. (Nothing crazy, he just got upset and wanted to leave.) So we decided not to go back.
That was months ago and in the midst of an unsettled time for him.
This camp is for kids in Reception and Year 1, (basically ages 4-6), and we found out about it through a flyer that came home with him from school. So it was his age group and there was a good chance that there might be someone there that he knew. It turns out that it didn’t matter.
He was really excited about his soccer gear. I had bought it for him a few weeks before, gave it to him during spring break and he tried most of it on nearly every day. On the way to the camp we passed our neighbors who were walking home, and Jayce informed them, “I’m going to soccer and I have all of the stuff. Shin guards, soccer socks, soccer pants, soccer shirt, water bottle and ball. Everything!” He was so ready. But he was also a little hesitant. He had mentioned to Chris and I each that he kind of didn’t want to go. We didn’t push it.But when we arrived he saw all of the kids kicking their balls around and ran excitedly onto the field. He was fine. He ran and kicked and smiled, went up to the coach and asked if he wanted to see his “cool move” and then showed the guy before he could even respond. The camp was an hour long, and he would occasionally look over at Chris and I, smile, and give us a thumbs up. It was a total success.Strangely, or maybe not, Chris and I both felt a strong sense of success while we were there and afterwards. Not just that Jayce had a great time, although we were delighted by that. But it just felt like the type of thing that you do when you are settling in somewhere and feeling at home-enrolling your kid in an after school sport.
I don’t know why this gave us more of a sense of settling in than, say, enrolling him in a 32 hours a week, 42 weeks a year school? Or signing a year lease on our flat? Maybe it was because those were things that we had to do but this was something additional that we elected to do? Regardless of why, it was really satisfying to watch him run around so happily and walk home together knowing that we have 11 more Monday afternoons of this. I mentioned this camp to a new friend who has recently moved to the area with a little boy Jayce’s age. I said that it might help that Jayce was there if he was feeling nervous about being around all new kids. She said about her son, “Oh no, he never gets nervous around other kids, even new ones.”
I immediately thought, “Yeah, neither did Jayce. Until he suddenly did.”
It’s such a relief for us that this fear about new people and us leaving him seems to have been conquered. It’s a relief to just watch him being himself, feeling confident, feeling comfortable, and having a great time.
The second week of camp we were happily surprised to discover that one of his friends from his class was also in the camp. It’s nice that he has one of his friends there with him. But I’m a little glad that the kid wasn’t there for the first week, and that Jayce’s level of comfort hadn’t just come from a familiar face.Also, and maybe this should go without saying, but Hannah loved it. We could hardly keep her off the field even though she had her own little ball. Only two more years until she can join a soccer camp of her own, but in the meantime she ran onto the field, antagonized Jayce by drinking from his water bottle against his wishes, and yelled for him from the sidelines. She was quite the little cheerleader. And my basketball-bred husband was such a proud dad watching from the sidelines.
It was a good day for all.