Elías started soccer yesterday for the first time ever, and it…was…
What you would expect from a gathering of three year olds; all stereotypes accounted for. There was the kid listening to coach’s every instruction. There was the kid listening half the time and ripping flowers up the other half. There was the kid running to daddy every three minutes.
And then there was my three year old. Elías was the one stuck like a statue on the sidelines; nothing and nobody was going to move him from that spot where his feet firmly landed. The one time he did agree to move a little closer to the other kids, he turned on me almost immediately: quite literally turned his back to me and threw himself face first into the grass.
The sessions are 45 minutes long, and Elías refused to move a muscle for the first 35 minutes. Toward the end, when the (awesome, great with kids) coach paired kids to dribble the ball toward the goal, I tried again –
Me: Eli*, quieres ir? Vamos juntos?
Eli: *first head shake yes*
Me: 😳 *reach out hand*
Eli: *whispers to me* my shoes make me run fast
Me: oh, si? A ver… Enséñame, papi!
And we were off. The kid he’d been paired with had come and gone, but Eli decided to go for it afterwards with me running alongside and behind him. Eli had little to no control of the ball, but those shoes? Man, those shoes made him run fast. My mom (his favorite person in the entire world) had arrived a few minutes before, so the celebration yelling coming from the three of us was quite thunderous when he made it across the field and shot the ball in!!
Coach called all the kids to sit down “right here, right here where our friend Elías is sitting” (smooth move), and he recapped the rules with accompanying hand gestures and leg slaps and what not. And my Eli was the loudest voice (“REE-SPECT!” “NO HANDS!” “SOCCER!! SHOTS!!!”) He willingly high fived coach, and then ran off to look for my mom.
I worry about my son often in all the ways moms worry about their children, I suppose. However, his extreme shyness is something I am still learning to work alongside rather than disparage. It’s fairly certain that next week will be a similar show because whether he’s experienced something before or not, he only does things in his own time. I’m hoping with all my heart that this little season of toddler soccer is an experience of growth…for all of us.
*(We nickname Elías Eli which is not pronounced “ee-lie”; it is pronounced with the E as in elephant – “eh-lee”)
10 thoughts on “SOLSC23: Elías’s first day of soccer!”
You described the moment so well. Eli certainly has his own personality. Working with him and his “do things in his own time” is the only way to do it. Let’s hope he joins in earlier next week!
Raising kids and having them experience new things is a season of growing for all. I’m sure you will all grow this soccer season. Once they get playing, it’s so fun to watch them. Wishing you all the best.
Oh, I remember those days all too well! The good news is he had fun in the end and that will probably keep him going back and bit by bit he may even start the session having fun. My #2 son was a watcher- he wanted to already know how to do everything. #1 just threw himself into everything without a care in the world.
Britt – he’s gotten so big!! O: And oh – the hilarity of three-year-olds playing soccer. You capture it perfectly, with the kid listening, the one running to daddy, the one ripping up flowers. There’s a special place of honor for the coaches, bless them…Eli WILL come along, in his own time. I found three to be a much harder age than two with my own kids – because they become so much more independent-minded and determined. Elis’s got the greatest asset of all – a patient mom. Not to mention s grandmother who’s his favorite person in the world – my heart loves this.
You are there on the sidelines helping and encouraging but not pushing. Eli is on his way to becoming the man he will one day be in his own way. He will bloom in his own time.
Britt, he is precious. I love that he participates on his own timing. I would say that is a good character trait. He seemed to really get into it, and I’m glad his coach is good with kids.
I’m still learning to work alongside and not disparage…what a wise patient mom
You are. This is a well told story that you’ve preserved here for Elias! Thanks for sharing!
This slice so perfectly captures a moment and a time that children seem to share, although adults & parents don’t often note and rarely document. You have done it beautifully.
Such a great slice capturing the time at soccer! This will be a memory to treasure. My daughter was shy and I have a first time of soccer story with her as well —- but shy is not how I’d described her now!