Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Jessica is, well, unmotivated when it comes to extracurricular activities. She didn't want to play tee ball last spring, she doesn't want swimming lessons, she stopped karate after one session (8 weeks). Just like with school, these activities cut into her play time, and anything that cuts into her play time is a bad thing.

However, as parents do, Hari and I wanted her to participate in a team sport, not to earn future scholarships, but to learn how to work and play well with others, all that good stuff. Last spring I was talking to her friend Helen's parents and asked if Helen was going to be playing soccer. If one of her friends does something, she's much more likely to be willing to do it. As it turned out, not only was Helen playing but her parents were coaching and they told me to ask for Jessica to be on Helen's team when I registered her. So I did.

At least half a dozen times over the summer I informed Jessica she was going to be playing soccer in the fall. At first I got a couple of "okay"s but then I started to hear "I don't want to play soccer." Even after I reminded her she'd be on Helen's team. I was a bit nervous that my request wouldn't be honored but I didn't let Jessica know that. As it was, being on Helen's team was not as persuasive as it had been.

I agonized over what to do. I didn't really want to force her to play, because that really doesn't work well in this situation. I mean, I couldn't go on the field and push her foot to kick the ball. I was just about to give in and tell her she didn't have to play. I asked her one last time: "Okay, Jess, do you want to play soccer?"

"Yes!" she said, as if I were an idiot for having had any doubts about it. I don't know what changed her mind, but we went to the first practice and she had fun and was willing to go back. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Times gone by

Jessica and I have been reading the Little House on the Prairie series. First we read Little House in the Big Woods and we just finished Little House on the Prairie. Next up is Little House on Plum Creek.

Now, Jessica didn't want to read them at first. I had brought the book home from the library and told her I was going to read it to her. "Nooooo!" she protested as if I had suggested drowning the cats. I told her I would read a few pages and if she didn't like it, I would stop and it wouldn't count towards her bedtime reading.

I read a few pages. I stopped. "Should I keep going?" I asked.


I have to say, boy, were parents lucky back then. Children didn't speak when they were spoken to, they *always* listened to their parents (because on the rare occasion they didn't, Pa whipped them, so who can blame them), and they were satisfied with the smallest of presents.

At Christmas time in the 2nd book, Laura and Mary were over the moon because they got cookies made with--get this--WHITE sugar (not brown) and also got candy canes and then...wait for it...they each got their VERY OWN tin cup. Previously they had had to share the same cup at every meal.

One reason I'm enjoying this so much is how it reminds me of my childhood. Lisa and I used to play Little House on the Prairie with our friend Cindy. I got stuck playing Mary because my hair was the closest to blonde, like Mary's. Lisa was Carrie because she was the smallest. Cindy was Laura. We either pretended our bikes were horses or we just galloped along, pretending we were riding horses.

I really enjoying doing the same things with Jessica that I did when I was a little girl. I hope she enjoys it too!