With 26 letters in the English alphabet to choose from, it was merely incidental that both of their names begin with the same letter. If I had known I’d listen to a daylong battle over which of my children is the proper owner of the letter J, I may have gone a different naming route, or tried a wee bit harder at “siblings are friends” type parenting, or hid the alphabet until college. I couldn’t help but be slightly impressed by James’ ability to effectively convince his younger sister that he, in fact, does have exclusive rights to the 10th letter of the alphabet and the number 3, his age, by hour 5 of the battle. The heartstrings were pulled pretty good when she asked him if M could be hers, instead, and what are parents supposed to do about letter fighting? When he answered, “M is in my name, but we can share that letter. J is mine, though, understand?” I began to realize that I’m raising the letter monster. Also, I meant to type about his first hockey practice, but the letter J fight has taken 225 words of explanation and five hours of my life. For the record, I choose F.
For 3 years now, James, with a capital J, has believed his dad to be the real Sidney Crosby, and when I asked Josie what her dad does she replies, “plays hockey at work all day.” We’ve been slow to correct both of them, and James has been enthusiastic to follow in his fake professional athlete family’s footsteps. When a local high school agreed to coach tiny tots once a week, I thought, why not join my big sister and her hockey mom craziness for just one hour a week?
So, in an effort to break up the letter war, James, Mosie and I were off to the hockey store to size up the Alphabet King for his first big night of little kid free skate. 43 hockey pucks were purposefully knocked over. Two naptimes sufficiently earned. One crazy hard to fasten hockey helmet purchased.
Post naps, dad taught his son how to walk in his skates. “This is the way real hockey players do it,” James explained to his mom. “Also, could you hold my hand?”
I arrived 15 minutes early, expecting to be the first of the toddling skaters. I was last, and apparently it takes 45 minutes to dress a child in hockey gear just before they happily announce, “I have to pee!” Professional youth hockey mom, Maria, packed an extra set of everything, because she knows I know nothing and she is right. It took me three tries of skate tying before a nice 14 year old girl came over to rescue me from my lace struggle. James and I went over the rules one last time just before he scraped his new skates on the concrete, “have fun! Give a good effort! and only walk on the rubber padding!”
He then clumsily toddled onto the ice falling directly his belly. With car keys in hand, I was ready to receive a crying child, but up he went and smile he did. Instructed to make a snow angel on the ice, James proudly displayed his very best freestyle swim stroke. For the next 55 minutes, I watched a three -year old boy smile wide face plant after bum plant after accidental snow cone, after “Mom! Look! I’m skating like Daddy!” And even though I’m mostly crazy for starting the sport thing so early, witnessing such sloppy, happy, smiley skating was a real treat.
He greeted me in my hockey mom glory after a solid skating effort. “uh mom, my head is wet,” the little Italian said to me. “that’s called sweat, my dear, and you’ve also got the smell down pretty well, too” I replied.
We returned home to refuel, because James is now an “aphlete.” And apparently, something magical occurred on the ice last night. As they inhaled more hummus than the nation of Greece, James turned to his sister and said, “its ok if your name starts with J. And if you want to play hockey, I will hold your hand.” I hugged them both and sighed relief as I put Rita to bed while they finished there snack. I returned to two children rolling around the kitchen floor in an effort to retrieve the last cheeto as the battle cries grew louder and more fervent. “J is mine!!!!! Get off my cheeto!!”
Happy Tuesday! May 26 letters be enough.