In other world news, Sugarplum is signing up for soccer camp.
I have wanted her to play soccer since she was a tiny thing. I love watching soccer - and kids in cleats are freaking adorable. So we signed her up when she was 3, and stood on the sidelines with her when she turned into a paralytic lawn ornament, refusing to budge.
When she got to elementary school, she learned to play soccer at recess. They had no playground, so the kids had to entertain themselves. It was either soccer or chasing each other with sticks.
Then one day, out of the blue, I got a call from the new soccer coach telling me when Sugarplum should show up for practice. I explained about our little soccer-playing garden gnome and how she didn't want to compete, and he told me to chill the flip out and bring her to practice.
I don't know what's in those water bottles, but I want some. By the end of that practice, I had a soccer player on my hands.
She is so into it that she asked to be on the travel team, tryouts for which were last night.
We showed up and it was like a cocktail party - one group of mingling kids who knew each other and one group of mingling adults who knew each other. And then there was us. Once we found Sugarplum a ball, she was fine chasing it around the field - a small oasis of quiet among the bustle. I stood in what would have been the corner had we not been outside.
Note: I hate cocktail parties.
Every fiber of my being was yelling "may we please go home now?" And it dawned on me that the paralytic lawn ornament did not fall far from the paralytic lawn ornament tree. Except now she's got a soccer ball and is completely at ease. Soccer balls are like cigarettes for people who like to run around.
I couldn't go home because I owed it to my kid to sign her up for this thing she really wants to do - no matter how much I don't want to do it. But I also couldn't sign her up because no one seemed to know what was happening.
A very helpful volunteer-type person appeared just as I was considering a drive to the library where I could sign up in the privacy of the internet, and handed me a clipboard. Clipboards are like soccer balls for people who don't like to run around and don't smoke.
Tryouts started and, seeing Sugarplum was happy as a pig in poop, I resigned myself to a life of sideline garden gnomedom, admitting that even I might make friends with those gregarious, flamingo parents.
This morning, back in the comfort of the internet, I researched the club we signed up with and found the "10 Commandments for Parents." This is my favorite:
Thou shalt place your child first. Ask yourself if you are trying to live your life through the successes of your child. If her success means more to you than it does to the athlete, you are in serious risk of pushing your child too hard. If you want to be that driven, go out and play a sport yourself (you are never too old!).
I have to admit, I signed her up for soccer that first time because I never played a team sport. But at this point, we've moved beyond me living my life through her. We've moved into this weird new territory, where I have to push myself in order to support her properly.
And as it turns out, it was all fine once I showed up for practice.