That expression always makes me think of either Marvin the Martian or Wile E. Coyote--two of my all-time favorite cartoon characters.
Thing Two likes routine and a set schedule. It used to be that the smallest deviation from the norm would really upset him, back in the days when he really didn't understand what we were saying to him. These days, with his communication skills exponentially improved, it's possible to change things up much more than previously. However, his preference is still to switch from one routine to another routine whenever possible. We always have a couple of big changes per year in the after-school schedule when the sports seasons change (fall soccer to basketball in the winter and back to soccer in the spring), but those sports all have set weekly schedules. We have a week or so of figuring out how we are going to juggle the year-round activities into the schedule for the sport of the season at the beginning, and then we're good to go.
Baseball, on the other hand, has thrown a real spanner into the works!
Thing One played baseball for two years, but stopped when he made his first travel soccer team. It just wasn't his thing--not enough action--and I remember being happy because the baseball schedule made me nuts anyway. When Himself told me that Thing Two wanted to give it a try this spring, I was reluctant, to say the least. He's a natural athlete, and it seemed unfair not to at least give him a go at it in case it does turn out to be the sport he loves, so I gave in, but I am freshly reminded of why baseball makes me crazy.
Thing Two's team is made up of first, second and third graders (it's an age cutoff thing.) Some weeks they have four practices or games, each lasting a minimum of two hours! Sometimes these practices are scheduled at the very last minute when a field opens up. And worst of all, the days on which the practices and games are held vary week to week.
In addition to Thing Two's baseball, all three of my kids are currently playing soccer and all three have taekwondo. We also have a speech therapy session and a piano lesson each week. Soccer, speech and piano fall on set days, baseball changes week to week, and thankfully there are TKD classes available every day after school (any of which we can attend as our schedule permits) or we'd be up a creek with that. As it is, the kids get to all their activities, but the daily schedule changes every single week. This was sending Thing Two into a complete tizzy. The activity level doesn't bother him at all, but he craves schedule predictability and was getting none!
Our solution: a big whiteboard.
Every Sunday evening, Himself and I sit down with the calendars after the kids go to bed and figure out what the kids will be doing which day after school the following week. Soccer, baseball, speech and piano are accounted for, then we figure out which TKD classes the kids can attend that week. When we have the whole schedule set, we write it on the whiteboard and I prop that on the kitchen counter. Now, Thing Two can look at the whiteboard any time he has a question. Since he does a lot better with processing visual information than auditory information anyway, this works for him. Happier boy, I spend less time repeating things, and it actually helps me keep track of activities too--a win win strategy.
I went into his baseball season selfishly hoping that the experiment wouldn't work out, I must admit. Not that I was (or am) in any way discouraging to him, but it is a hassle for the rest of us. Unfortunately for everyone but him, he's turning out to be a natural! His coach looked at me after Saturday's practice and commented, "This kid has everything I can't teach." (Referring to hand-eye coordination, speed and determination.)
No telling at this point how long the kid will stick with baseball. Hopefully, for as long as it remains fun for him. But it looks like I should plan on keeping the whiteboard around for a while!
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