Every evening before dinner, my daughter and I have been turning the living room into a makeshift soccer stadium, clearing away some chairs, moving an ottoman, sometimes even putting on shin guards and eye black.
Then one of us stands in front of the couch and pretends to be goalie.
I've never seen a kid so happy to take a soccer ball to the face.
Now, I'm not kicking super hard, or even really hard at all — seriously, some of the these balls roll into her lap — but I'm definitely trying to score. And sometimes she dives too soon or too late and wham, soccer ball to the teeth.
My wife saw her stop a ball with her nose the other night and she stopped the game, asking our child, "Are you OK? Are you OK?" while I simply went to retrieve the ball, knowing Emmeline would brush it off and want to resume as fast as possible.
Sure enough, she got up, rubbed her nose, grabbed the ball and said, "My point."
I don't mean to be callous or cruel. But my thinking is that sometimes you get banged up when you play sports, even if it's just you and your dad and he's lobbing soft kicks your way. My feeling is that most dads wouldn't even consider holding back when playing with their boys, so why should I when playing with my daughter? A. She enjoys the game, and B. she brushes off even harder kicks.
Is this callous? Or merely sports?
Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out! Yes, he plays with dolls too. He even sews them during craft time.
Image by Lauri Apple.