I’m not going to drown you, but if you keep this up I might think about it

Mar 23, 2007

#The Flinger Family

My lovely, darling, always sunshine of a daughter recently became opinionated. There are activities she likes and those she most certainly does not. She loves kicking the soccer ball, loves watching Dora, loves going shopping. She hates eating broccoli, she hates taking a nap, she hates brushing her teeth. We do all of these activities regardless of her passion for or against each one, however, she is more than welcome to voice her opinion. We listen. We nod. Then we make her do it anyway.

When she decided one day that she’d like to go swimming, I thought, “Well, yea! What do you know! *I* like to go swimming! *I* am walking around fighting gravity with my big ol’ belly and *I* would like to get in the water, too!” So we got our swimsuits, called around the local pools, gathered up friends, and headed out.

Anyone with a toddler knows what a pain in the ass swimming is. It’s not just the shaving of the legs (hello? Legs? Where’d you go?) the hayhay (I think I had one once and it got me to my current state, although I can’t find it anywhere to save my life…) or wearing the swim suit in public. It’s not just the fact that you search high and low for those coveted swim diapers that do not get put on the shelves until June in this godforsaken rainy state. It’s not just the towel you pack, the shampoo for you both, the change of clothes, the lock for the locker, the money to get in. It’s not just that you have to change your squirmy self-reliant “ME DO IT!” two foot person in a crowded locker room where old ladies frown and curse while rubbing lotion on their wrinkled fat. It’s not just those things, no, it’s the fact that the moment you step in to the pool, your toddler will have a major melt down and exclaim, “I WANNA GO HOME!!!”

Or is that just us?

We were in the pool probably ten minutes before LB decided she was finished, she wanted out, she was scared to death of the jets streaming water in to the pool. She was cold. She was hungry. She was tired. It was an hour and a half of getting ready for ten minutes of “fun” before she decided it was enough. She was finished. She wanted out.

I cursed, made her stay in the water just a little while longer, tried to play with her. Finally I gave up, got her out and did the forty-five minute routine to get us cleaned up and back home swearing the whole way to the child eating her crackers in the back seat, “We won’t go swimming ever again if you don’t appreciate it when we’re there. Do you hear me?” I looked in the mirror expecting to see my mother and was shocked to see it was my own mouth telling her, “I’m not going to do this if you don’t appreciate it. Understand?!”

Because I’m slow to learn, I listened to my child when she asked to play soccer. “You want to take soccer lessons? Ok! *I* like soccer! *I* would love to have you in soccer. Why not! It’s a family sport!” so off I went and signed her up for tiny two-year-old soccer. I was giddy.

She’s done nothing but talk about how she gets to start soccer. Soccer was the winning bribe during naptime. Soccer is the sole reason she went to bed last night. Soccer! oh! We start Soccer today!

Literally four minutes in to practice where fifteen two year olds run chasing fifteen very tiny balls, my daughter decides she does not want to do soccer. She, in fact, is cold and wants to go home. NooooOOOOOo. HOoomMMMEEEE. She is tired. She is crying. She’s the only child not kicking the multi-colored soccer ball and I’m the only parent not recording it on camera. Hello Seattle! I’m certain there are pictures of my child’s tantrum on the Internet somewhere in the background of “Jonny’s first day of soccer!” My kid will be the one in the blue coat covered with grass as she rolls around yelling to go home.

Finally it is time to leave and we pack her in the car and start driving home. She’s happily eating her snack and begins to talk all about soccer. “Kick the ball! It’s fun! Play with your friends!” Mr. Flinger and I look at each other and roll our eyes. “Yes, LB,” I say, “we’ll go back next week and try again. Maybe we’ll go early so you can kick the ball before your friends show up, ok?” “Ok!” “But listen, no more crying at soccer, ok? We want to go kick the ball with our friends and play soccer with mommy and daddy, right?” LB thinks for a minute, “Ok!” I think I’m making major strides until she asks,

“Can we go swimming?”


  1. So this is what I have to look forward too? My kid has been opinionated since birth so I am pretty much thinking I am screwed.


    By Emily on 2007 03 23

  2. Sounds like my oldest.  God bless you girl, as always I’m feelin’ your pain.

    Just remember, supposedly this too shall pass.

    Or so they keep telling me.

    By sleeping mommy on 2007 03 23

  3. I could have written this about Haley..oh..wait, I think I did when she did soccer this fall.  Oh boy does that sound like her to a T. This too shall pass…hopefully much sooner then it has for us.

    I will pray for you. wink

    By Bree on 2007 03 23

  4. How did you give birth to one of my children?

    By Friglet on 2007 03 23

  5. Oh my…you poor thing.  You know, down here (I don’t even think they have two year old soccer) but the four year olds are on teams of four, I believe.  Maybe it was overwhelming to have all those kids out there pushing and shoving each other?  I’m sorry the swimming thing didn’t work out- that sounds really nice to me too… smile

    By sarahgrace on 2007 03 23

  6. That’s why I never let my children participate in anything.  Of course, it’s hard to participate in anything when you’re shackled in the basement trying not to knock your ‘urinal’ over. 

    Ok, not really.  But MAN, that would have been cheaper than buying dance shoes and cleats and shoulder pads and jockstraps only to have to make the kid participate because ‘you’ve made this commitment and now you have to stick it out’, because they realized about 30 seconds in that *this* was not what they had signed on for. 

    Although, it is pretty cute when a bunch of 6 year old T-ballers are too busy catching bugs and pulling flowers and watching clouds to play. 

    Ok, so it’s totally worth it.

    By Contrary on 2007 03 24

  7. Sorry the swimming didn’t work out so well.  or the soccer!  I am surprised they have a team so young.

    By Holly on 2007 03 24

  8. Yeah. Uh…that’s EXACTLY the reason I’ve been stalling on the idea of enrolling my 3 1/2 year old in gymnastics. I’ve done exactly what you described before. Once Son came along, I just knew I wouldn’t have the patience or tolerance to juggle both of them during one of those ordeals. Now that Son is 15 months old the voices in my head have started one of their infamous arguments:

    Voice 1: “Oh c’mon! You really oughta get Daughter into some activities with other kids!”

    Voice 2: “Yeah, you know how it’ll go. You’ll pay the money for it and get all emotionally invested in how much she will love it, and she end up clinging to you and saying she wants to go home.”

    V1: “You’re not a very good mommy! All the other mommies are doing it!”

    V2: “Wait a minute! If Daughter’s not the one having the fit, Son will be and you’ll be holding a screaming toddler the whole time while all the other kids and mommies stare at you and wonder what in tarnation you are doing bringing your unruly kids to a place like this.”

    V1: “You worry too much! Lighten up!”

    V2 “Maybe you should wait just a little longer until Daughter is at least 4”

    V1: “All the other mommies can manage it; you are such a wimp!”

    In the end the voices drive me mad, a decision is not made and same argument repeats. Of course if I follow through with enrolling Daughter and it goes the way you described, both the voices are finally in agreement as they say, “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING! You should have known Daughter wasn’t ready for this yet!”

    I can’t win!

    By MGM on 2007 03 24

  9. That last line did me in.  I so relate.  smile

    By Lanna on 2007 03 24

  10. You’re making me soooo glad we waited until Caitlin was 4 to do soccer.  Poor Amelia is just going to have to kick the damn soccer ball around the yard. wink

    By Jamie on 2007 03 24

  11. Oh no!  I was just looking into enrolling my daughter into 3yr old soccer!  Now I’m nervous!
    Sorry to hear swimming didn’t go so smoothly-you still get points for wearing the maternity swimsuit!

    By AmyM on 2007 03 24

  12. gee, this feels so familiar…

    WRT swimming and beaches and other non-group stuff, with 3 kids I practice “suck it up and deal” parenting.  You don’t like the pool?  Wait 5 minutes.  It usually works well because they change their minds so quickly that 30 seconds after whining they want to leave they are swimming like fishes.  smile

    and then there’s when MG buried my keys in the sand.  wink  I hope your next soccer time goes well.

    By rachel on 2007 03 24

  13. You just described Liam in gymnastics, music class, storytime, and arts and crafts. Why does it always feel like our kids are the only ones NOT loving it? We stuck with music and he now does like it a lot. But we had to do a lot of talking beforehand - and still do. Stay with mommy. No running away. No crying. Listen to the teacher. We actually review them in the car in the way and sometimes he has a great class and othertimes I want to throw him over my shoulder and walk out. But I don’t because I paid for this fun and damn it he’s going to enjoy it!

    By Susie on 2007 03 24

  14. Of course she wants to go swimming!  Priceless.

    By Chas on 2007 03 24

  15. you will SWIM NOW and you will LIKE IT dammit!

    By k8 on 2007 03 25

  16. When Hannah was almost three, she begged and begged to do tap and ballet. Of course I signed her up thinking that her little prance-about self could use some formal guidance. But, of course, it was MY child, and ONLY my child, to stand at the bar and twist and turn and pick her nose while all the other good little students did exactly as they were told. And then it got to the crying stage, which progressed to the I don’t want to stage which progressed to the you can’t make me stage. Needless to say, it was quite a few years before we tried her in another organized activity. But that’s what us good parents are supposed to do, eh? Fork over a lot of money to watch our sweeties cry and squirm and pick boogies.

    By Melissa R. Garrett on 2007 03 25

  17. So you’re saying that I can just skip signing Hailey up for 2 year old soccor since she won’t like it anyway?  Because I’m really looking for any excuse at this point.

    By Jenny on 2007 03 26

  18. I did not enroll my son in soccer until he was 4 1/2 and still, half of the 4 yo did not want to practice most of the time. I would say: let her keep kicking that ball at the park with a friend !

    By Mimi in Houston on 2007 03 26

  19. This should seriously be in some sort of “Are You Really Ready to be a Parent?” brochure.  Good times.

    By Emily on 2007 03 26

  20. This should seriously be in some sort of “Are You Really Ready to be a Parent?” brochure.  Good times.

    By Emily on 2007 03 26