Posted by: angelnorman | May 7, 2009

baseball love.

Practically every evening at about 5 pm, Nicholas goes into the office and starts his daily routine of asking Mike if he can “do his baseball”. He loves, loves, loves to practice hitting and throwing, catching and running. It is our favorite family activity now, to load up our arms with our supplies and head outside for some good baseball fun. It’s pretty much a fixture in our lives these days- one of those things that you can count on always happening. And for me, it’s something I can rely on to make me happy. In fact, yesterday afternoon I had the beginnings of what I knew was going to be a monster headache and was about to go and rest for awhile, when the mere sight of my boys heading out to play seemed to draw the headache right out of me. No naps needed. Baseball was calling and I was answering.

My job is to play the part of catcher and to watch Nicholas’s back elbow. “Elbow up,” I remind him occasionally. Sometimes I take it upon myself to give him feedback about his swings. “Start swinging as soon as that ball leaves Daddy’s hand!” and “Good swing, Nicholas. Excellent job.” These are the things you can hear me say as I retrieve the pitched baseballs and toss them across the lawn to my husband. My husband Mike stands about 5 feet away from Nick and I and throws the ball as precisely as he can, right down the middle, so that our son can knock it out of the yard. He trains him as though he is much older than 4, and sometimes I have to insist that he remember to lighten up on Nick (because if I don’t, Nick just turns to me and says, “Can you throw it to me instead?” as he is quite tired of his daddy barking at him. It hurts Mike’s feelings I think when Nick chooses me, but you know, I’m just nicer I guess. Haha.) What Mike has that I do not though is the skill. He knows what Nick needs to do the most, and he encourages that. “Swing like you mean it! Get mad! Don’t let that ball get passed you.”

Nick is so incredibly happy when he hits the ball. Last night, he was hitting as many as he was missing, which is quite an improvement, but all of the sudden, he hit one square-on and knocked it right into Mike’s abdomen. Mike had to jump back and brace himself for the impact. We laughed and laughed about this, about how Nicholas surprised us and himself by knocking the ball so perfectly into his father’s stomach. “Wow,” Nick said of his own strength.  “I hit Daddy.” I couldn’t help but smile at how proud he was of himself.

We’ve been working a lot on the word “can’t”. It’s the ugliest word I have ever heard come out of Nick’s mouth, and I’ve heard some pretty bad words. (After all, just a few weeks ago, he called me a “ho”. Pretty sure now that he was saying, “hole” because the word “butthole” was causing some trouble in our house the week prior and I had said that he could say “butt” but never “hole”. I don’t know if that was it or not because when I asked him what he said, he tells me that yes, he said ho AND he’ll tell me he said, hole. Whatever, I let it slide with a stern warning to never say either.) I think the reason the word “can’t” bothers me so badly is because it reminds me so much of myself as a child. I would always say, “I can’t do that” and so I would never even try. It would break my heart when people were better at me at different things, things that I wanted deep down to be able to do but was too scared to try and fail. So I do not allow him to say this word. I would rather hear him mutter, “Dammit” under his breath than to hear him say that he cannot do something he wants to do. It’s that motherly goal of raising kids that do not take on your weaknesses, I suppose.

Or maybe I just over-analyze it. Maybe he needs to feel uncertain from time to time so as to recognize limits. I could see that, but I would rather encourage his confidence from the first moment. I want him to be fearless! I’m probably raising a little daredevil as we speak.

I am so thankful we put Nicholas into sports though. I wanted to add this picture to show you what he might look like in a few years when he plays little league.

This is my precious brother Micah. I think Nick looks so much like him 🙂

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