I have been struggling with energy levels the last number of weeks. My running regimen climaxed with the race on the first weekend of June, and I haven't been able to get back on track. I have been getting very lazy about getting out of bed on my days off. Jasmine has been very mature about making sure she leaves on her bike in time to meet her friend, who she accompanies to the school. She take after her mom in the getting places on time department. Laying in bed, often half awake, Asher either joins me in bed to watch his tee-tee as he calls it, or runs around the house playing. These sleep-ins usually end by 930, but they really slow down the start to my day. I also feel guilty about leaving Asher to entertain himself. The time I am wasting lazing in bed, should be spent drinking coffee, reading the news online, updating my fantasy baseball teams and mentally preparing myself for the day ahead. All that crap still happens now, it just happens later; and I don't like it. I haven't turned into complete couch potato, but I fear the downward spiral. I want to start getting myself up by 830 every day, and to accomplish this I need to go to bed earlier. I'll let you know how that goes.
I may not be spending much time devoted entirely to exercise, but many days that I spend with Asher are filled with exercise intentional or otherwise. I had a late soccer game Wednesday night, but was up and ready to go Thursday morning. My lazy morning starts have led Asher and I to miss Strong Start quite a few times lately, but there was no way that he was going to miss out this time. It was the day of the big end of year party.
I had heard that every program in the city was invited to Fort George Park for fun and games. We arrived at the park, finding a spot 2 blocks from the park. A steady stream of snot nosers and parents/grandparents/nannies/aunties/uncles were heading towards to playground. I had underestimated how many people would be involved. I am going to guess there was ~400 children all 4 years old or younger. My son is not shy. He is very active, loves to run every where he goes. We headed straight to the playground, and I'll tell you, that was a scary experience. Asher was climbing up the fire truck structure, then heading down the slide. He did this over and over. No sweat. I got distracted, I looked up, and I couldn't see the little guy. There are a few little places on this structure where he could have gone to hide, so I circled the thing looking in all the obvious places. I did another lap, checking EVERY place. I looped around again, spotted his shirt, then realized it was another Asher-sized boy with the same shirt. Great. I'm scanning the rest of the play area the whole time. On my fifth lap of the truck, after about 60 seconds had passed, the "should I ask someone for help?" thought entered my mind. Not cool having to admit you screwed up as a Dad. The next lap my thoughts were more morbid. "This is a creep's dream right here. Mass confusion of kids, easy to snatch and go." Oh man. I think I looped the truck 9 times and about 2 minutes passed total. I found Asher on the little train adjacent to the fire truck. There was probably 20 kids swarming the train, but I spotted my guy in the fray. I picked him up, he was smiling like he does, not aware of Dad's internal panic. We left the playground area, me shell shocked, Asher not concerned as there was much more to explore. I believe that is the first time I have had that happen. Prince George is pretty quiet most of the time, and the places that a 2 year old likes to frequent aren't prone to crowds. It is now 3 days later, and it still scares me. How easily life can be turned upside down.
I had planned ahead, knowing that we would be near the water park, I packed Asher's swimming trunks. He hasn't really enjoyed the water park yet as he was too young last year. Asher was very interested, and the water provided a good reprieve for me after the scare at the playground. Asher changed into his swimming trunks then wandered his way around the perimeter of the water park. As it turns out, he was interested, but not to excited about the cold water. He patiently waited his turn for the water guns, then when he got his chance he fired away. When a bit of the water hit him though, he went running. I love that things don't really bother Asher that much. He doesn't cry over every little thing that happens like some toddlers do. It sure saves mom and dad a few headaches. After the cold blast we didn't venture back into the water again. We did take a few more trips around the outside of the park, falling at one point into some mud near the edge. Asher scraped his knee and had mud all over him, but after picking him up and washing him off with as little of the cold water as possible, he was smiling again. We had a snack, then spent half an hour chasing bubbles with Asher's teacher who was running that station. Oh the fun. Nearing nap time we decided to take off.
After eating and sleeping, Asher had a mission. He wakes up dazed usually, and it takes some kind of stimulation to get him going. Not this day. He quickly remembered what we had picked up on our way home from the Strong Start party, and we set out for the school. We hit the field and tossed the soccer ball out of the stroller. Asher and I had gone by Value Village to exchange a few things. We walked by a shelf of sports gear, and he exclaimed: "Daddy! Gocker cleats!" It was awesome to see his pure joy. He has been getting really good about using new words. Even a few weeks ago he may have hollered "Gocker!" But, getting more specific has been fun for me and Sheila. We looked and he fell in love with the first smallish pair we saw. I managed to find a smaller pair, but they were still 2 sizes too big. Soccer cleats aren't made for really tiny guys. They were cheap, so I bought them anyway. We had some fun, Asher scoring a few goals on me, then me trying to score on him. Asher is collecting a pretty impressive assortment of sports gear after we added a baseball glove and pair of soccer cleats in the last week.
After a quick dinner, Sheila, Asher, Jasmine and I headed down to the soccer fields. Jasmine had her last practice. I was less than enthused about running the practice, feeling kind of blah from getting too much sun throughout the day. Despite our lack of success, then girls on the team are committed to soccer. Nearly all of them attended the practice, and they worked pretty hard. Brady and I organized them into teams to have a scrimmage and were a little shocked to realize that most of them had no clue how to have an informal game like this. It seems that the group this year isn't fanatical about soccer, and likely most of them don't practice soccer away from the scheduled times. I can't force the love of the game on them. I don't want to overcoach them and turn them off of soccer. I do want to see them find some tangible success as it is this that keeps players interested. We ended up having a good scrimmage, I was trying to drill home the point that aggression and effort win soccer games. I hoped to see it in action on Saturday afternoon.
Friday morning saw me up nice and early once again. Asher and I got ready and walked over to Malaspina for Sports Day. His teacher had mentioned the day before that the Strong Start program was going to participate, and of course we were heading over to watch wawa in action as well. Asher had lots of fun, and he was more willing then the other toddlers to try the relay events that were set up for the primary kids. He really impressed the other parents with his lobster claws, his sack racing, his ability to throw a ring onto a mat, and to top it off, he donned gardening gloves (adult sized) and rolled the log a few feet. Most of the kids had little interest in participating, so no relays actually took place. We lasted less than an hour before we were ushered inside for a snack.
After snack we went looking for Jasmine. The events were spread throughout the field, so finding her wasn't that easy. Walking past the bouncy castle caused a 20 minute detour, and it took all of my efforts to refocus Asher back on the finding Jasmine goal. We asked a few of her friends that we saw, and finally found her. Jasmine was having fun despite how lame "Sports Day" has become. There isn't a single sport involved, but that's a rant for another day. We went back inside for circle time before going home for food and sleep once again.
Saturday morning was early again. We dropped Sheila off at the dentist and went to a few nearby garage sales. Jasmine was very nice and she gave Asher a quarter out of her little stash. As we got out of the car at one sale, he walked up the driveway holding his quarter out in front of him. He approached the crap on display and you could tell he was itching to find something to spend his money on. He saw me pick up a magazine and it back. "Oooooooohh! Baseball" He picked up the magazine. The lady hosting the sale told he he could have it. No, no. He is looking to buy I responded. Asher toodled over and handed her his shiny quarter. Jasmine found a few goodies too. She kept going on and on about the dolphin figurine she bought. "Dad, you know that these are like 10 bucks usually? How did I get so lucky?" Awesome. We went back and got mom before going to the outdoor liquidation store to pick up more gear we need for camping. We are pretty much all set now. Sheila and the kids set up the tent in the yard last night, and it will probably lead to a backyard sleepover or two this week. If Sheila can get a couple days off mid week in July maybe we will be able to test out the gear before our planned trip in August.
We found ourselves back at the soccer field for Jasmine's game. She only has a couple more games before the summer break starts. I was really hoping for a good effort from the girls, after the focus of our practice. It was nice to see that we were up against 1 of the 2 teams that we have beaten this year. It was a spirited affair with lots of the competitiveness I was hoping for. Jasmine didn't play in goal, as I wanted to go for more offense. Jasmine and a number of others played very hard despite the heat. We had a lead, but with an inexperienced goalkeeper in net the second half we fell behind. I drove home the point about competing and aggression. One or two of them understood what I meant about urgency. "Girls! The game is winding down and we are losing! Leave it all out there!" I mentioned a few times to Brady how hard one girl had been working. She may be the best player on our team, but she hasn't found a goal yet. She plays a defensive midfield style, and yesterday she was all over the place. Tons of effort, lots of stealing the ball and gaining extra possessions for her team. She understoof urgency. Their goalie played the ball in, she read the weak pass and cut it off. She strolled into the box and drove the ball into the net. We had tied it up! The referee blew his whistle less than a minute later. I was very happy for the whole team but especially this little one. She likely has no clue just how good she is. A soccer team has many different roles and many of them are thankless. She plays one of those roles, and I made sure she knew how important she is to the team after that big goal. Awesome stuff!
As I wrap this up, I am looking forward to the next few days. My sister is in town from Montreal for a visit, and it will be great to see her after work. We haven't made too many plans, but keeping the kids busy and active will be the goal. Erin will probably get a kick out of how much different Asher is from her last visit at Christmas. I will try to take plenty of pictures to share next week. For now I leave you with a few more photos from the last month or so.