Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Justin and Alex like to watch a Nick Jr. show called Olivia. Olivia is a pig who lives with her mom, dad, and two younger brothers, a pre-schooler and a baby. Olivia’s parents must be on industrial strength Valium to remain as calm as they do when the three of them cook up trouble. It’s not normal. I’d like to see how they would have responded to my night. Because I need some tips, or the neighbors aren’t going to want to keep their windows open with all the crying and yelling going on over here.

Baseball tonight. David and Cameron had practices, Justin and Alex had a game.

4:50 – Justin is rarin’ to go, and wants to get dressed now, even though his game isn’t until 6. His pants and athletic supporter aren’t in his drawer where they are supposed to be, I send him downstairs to ask Barry if they are in a laundry basket, which results in five minutes of shouting at each other from opposite ends of the house to determine where everything is. Eventually Justin comes upstairs with his pants, and a cup that is about two sizes too big. It looks like he’s walking around with an eggplant in his pants. I send him back downstairs for the right cup, then he gets mad because there is sand in his cleats, and proceeds to empty his shoe out all over his bedroom floor.

5:00 – I begin the arduous task of getting Alex dressed. He’s far too interested in telling me about his princess library book than putting on his uniform. After much pleading, I finally get him all decked out. Meanwhile Cameron has decided that the smaller cup Justin is wearing is actually his, and a fight breaks out between the two of them over whose cup is whose. I try to explain to Cameron that he needs a bigger size this year, but he fitfully claims the other one fits him “perfectly,” and will not give in. So Justin agrees to wear the other one, and after much adjusting, I manage to retrofit him with the larger cup without getting completely undressed first. He looks like Dirk Diggler in a tee ball uniform.

5:15 – Cameron and David are fighting because David won’t let Cameron take his bat to practice. Cameron is now in histrionics because I haven’t bought him his own bat, saying that I promised I’d do it, and haven’t, and is making his case that middle children are the most neglected and forgotten human beings ever born into civilization. I try to explain to him that regardless of whether or not he gets a new bat this year, one is not going to materialize in the next five minutes, so he needs to get his shit together, make do, and go to practice. I also remind him that he hasn’t followed through with many of the commitments he needs to honor, including cleaning up the closet that he ransacked last week looking for a jacket. Cameron refuses to go with me because I’m being “mean.” I’m all ready to go into Mexican stand-off mode, but Barry jumps in and says he’ll drive him, stealing away the precious five minutes of peace I would have had driving back home. We pore over schedules and e-mails to figure out where he’s practicing. I have no confirmation e-mail, but Barry says he has some copy of a coach’s e-mail saying that they had two practices scheduled for Tuesday, but one was really tonight. Whatever.

5:30 – Justin and Alex are outside. Quiet. I get their water bottles ready, and watch ten minutes of The Big Bang Theory on DVR before Alex comes in with a wet shirt, declaring that he’s not going to play baseball because Justin spilled water on him. Meanwhile David comes upstairs, almost has a breakdown when he thinks we’re out of salami, but quickly recovers when he finds it, and wants me to cut a hoagie in half for him because in his 12 years on this earth, he has apparently not been schooled in the fine art of using a bread knife.

5:40 – Barry and Cameron are back. Cameron doesn’t have practice tonight. Right. As I said earlier, I couldn’t find an e-mail confirming practice tonight amidst the 400 other e-mails about schedules, practice changes, game, tournament info, uniform changes, pictures, tee-shirt orders, location changes, date changes, and volunteer requests for four different kids on five different teams.

6:00 – Justin and Alex’s game. I manage to get Alex to play catch with me to warm up. Other kids want to warm up with him, but he’ll only throw with me. I put his helmet on, thinking maybe I’ll get him to hit off the tee into the fence like the other kids are doing pre-game, but he’s much more interested in playing with the duck feather he found in the grass.

6:20 – Alex won’t go play the field. He’d rather drink water and argue with Cameron, who showed up carrying a sandwich. I offer him a dollar if he goes up to bat two times. He doesn’t want to because he says he doesn’t know when to stop running. We assure him that the coaches will help him. He gets a hit off the tee, Barry runs to first with him and with the help of half the coaching staff, he makes it to first. By the time the next kid is up and he’s on second, he’s playing in the dirt and instead of running the bases all the way home after the last batter, he cuts through the pitcher’s mound, and comes over to me.

6:35 – Alex is done. He’d rather pester his teammates on the bench and try to mess around with my camera. After he spit on one of them (a charming activity he recently learned), I’d had enough. David was walking to the field, and I had to take him to practice. I removed Alex from the game, and brought him along. As we’re driving, I miss the turn to the Rec Center fields, thinking I’m going to the fields at Lake Ann Park. David alerts me to this, and gets all huffy for a second. I pull over to turn around. I thought there was only one car behind me, and I wait for another car to turn before pulling out. As soon as I do, a white pick-up is bearing down on my driver’s side of the van, honking his horn and braking. Feeling like a complete moron, I give a “yeah, sorry, I’m a total dumbass” wave of the hand, and continue on. Then I yell at Alex for getting me so distracted and stressed out by acting like a little shit all day, and list every offense that has rattled me today, including spitting, giving the dog a half a block of cheese, wigging out over watering plants, throwing shoes at my head, acting up in the middle of Target, tearing the screen out of the window, not letting me get any work done, threatening to pull down curtains, telling kids he’s going to stab them with butter knives, having a meltdown because I wouldn’t give him money, and using phrases that he learned from his brothers and their friends.

And then my head exploded.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012 

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