Monday, October 19, 2009

What a Dilemma!

A couple mornings ago, my seven-year-old greeted me in the kitchen with an exasperated declaration. "Guess what, Mom? I can't play football at recess anymore!"

This sounded serious. "Why?" I asked with concern.

"Because. Everyone wants me on their team!" It wasn't exactly the problem I was expecting.

"And that's a problem?" I asked, a little perplexed.

"Yes. All my friends fight over who gets to have me on their team. I'm always chosen first, and I never even get to be on my best friend's team."

Trying to approach his problem with the seriousness he was expecting, I said, "Wow, most children complain when they are always chosen last for teams. I never realized what a problem it is to always be chosen first." Okay, so I was being a little facetious, but he didn't seem to catch on. He was dead serious about his dilemma.

Being the problem-solver he is, he quickly came up with a solution. "I need a paper and scissors," he announced. I couldn't imagine how paper and scissors would help him with his recess problem, but I found him the needed items anyway. With breakfast to finish preparing and kids to push out the door, I forgot about our conversation until a couple hours later when I found the project he had been working on. One side of a paper had a schedule of teams for the week, from Monday to Friday (see below--note the spelling--I love it! I especially love how he spelled Austin--Oston); the other side of the paper held a serious threat (I think he meant to say "strict" instead of "striked").

I couldn't help but giggle, but my humor soon turned to concern over the obvious fact that he had left the paper at home. I was sure he would be upset when he realized he had gone to school without it, and as crazy as it sounds, I even considered running to the school to give it to him before first recess (I've noticed motherhood often produces temporary insanity). I decided that idea was ridiculous, but as the day wore on I couldn't help but think about my son and his predicament. I kept picturing in my mind the scenario when he announced his plan to his friends, and I wondered if they would be as sure about it as he was. I anxiously awaited his arrival home, nervous about how the day had gone.Finally, he stepped in the door.

"How did it go at recess today, son?" I asked immediately.

"Fine." I hate that reply. It basically means I don't have the energy to tell you any details.

I told him I had worried all day because he had forgotten his schedule. "Oh, that's okay. I had Friday memorized," he assured me. I should have known an assertive child such as he would have it all under control.

Next, I asked him if he thought the schedule really helped.

With frustration and complete earnestness, he replied, "No, not really, because my friends still whined and complained. I tried to explain to them that they all had to take turns having me on their team and that next week I would be on their team for a whole day of recesses if they would just be patient, but no, they complained." (I'm sure it sounds like my son is a bragger, but the funniest part of this whole scenario is that he didn't even realize how crazy his dilemma sounded. He was not boasting, just simply expressing frustration at a problem that was very real and very serious to him.) The whole thing tickled me to no end.

"Wow, this really seems to be a problem," I said, hoping to prolong the conversation.

"Yea, it is. My one friend kept saying, 'it's not fair.' I should have told him, 'fair is where the pigs go.'"

Okay, I admit a giggle slipped out at this comment. I don't know where he got that from.

"I guess I'm just gonna have to quit playing football at recess. I already quit playing soccer earlier in the year because I was having the same problem. Now I'm going to have to quit playing football, too." His disgust hung heavily in the air.

I couldn't help but tease just a little. "Maybe you'll have to start cheer leading at recess instead since other sports just aren't working out for you."

Nate caught right on, and without missing a beat explained, "No, Mom, that won't work either. Then my friends would come up with the idea of having a cheer leading competition and they'd all want me on their team again. Plus," he added, "then I'd have to take pom poms to school."

At this, I laughed out loud. This kid was even more clever than I thought. We never officially solved his recess problem, but I sure enjoyed trying.

And for those of you who think it's horrible to always be chosen last, keep in mind it could be worse--apparently, being chosen first all the time is an even bigger problem!


Brian and Rebecca Nate said...

I can sure see Nate and his "big" problem. He was probably just trying to figure out how to be fair to everyone. What a great kid. Give him a kiss for me.

Glitzy Glass said...

Wow, I had no idea! Fun to read! I miss you already, hope you want to go do BLACK FRIDAY with me. It will be november fest which I am doing. I need to get a new computer! Keep your ear out there for me. I am sorry I didn't stop by. I will see you later. Check out my blog for some free things.

Becky said...

He is a hoot. Poor guy. He is too athletic for his own good.

Abby said...

So funny! Isn't it funny what they take so seriously, sometimes?

Dixie said...

What fun you're recording as a mother! Your writing will be priceless when you're my age. I love to read about our grandchildren.