This week, Sawyer started camp. And on Monday morning, when I dropped him off at Irving park, kids were running around, counselors in shorts and sneakers were being encouraging, and piles of soccer balls were colorful mountains on the field. He looked at all the commotion, then he looked and me and told me to take him home. He did some three-year-old gesturing and firmly stated that he didn’t want to go to “sock-o camp”, that he was “ti-yod” and wanted to “yay down”. Then I got a little panicked and I told him that it would be fun (!) and that i had packed him a snack (!) and that this camp was all about playing with balls (!). He looked skeptical.
Rewind to last month, when I had him signed up for swim lessons at the community pool. On the first day of class, he was eager; excited, even. He rode to the pool, already dressed in his hawaiian trunks with his goggles tight around his forehead, leaving red circles on his skin. After he had showered, he stood on deck, near the water, as the high school swim instructor took attendance with his clipboard. I watched as his teacher led him over to the stairs in the shallow end, and i watched as he sat on the edge of the pool, with the other three-year-olds in his class. I watched as the instructor motioned for him to step deeper into the water and then I watched as he shook his head at her and told her no. I watched as he climbed out of the pool, his little belly sticking out over the elastic waistband of his swim trunks; his goggles still digging into his forehead. Not surprisingly, he didn’t look back. He came over to where I was, unapologetic and unphased, and in his deep little man voice, asked for a snack. We tried at the second class and the third, but he didn’t ever get back in the water.
So on that first day of soccer camp, as we stood on the field, I wondered if Sawyer would shake his head again, and tell his teenage soccer camp instructor “no”. He watched the kids put their lunches behind numbered cones and run out onto the field to begin a game of freeze tag. I told him that he would get to kick balls and make goals for three hours and then I would pick him up, but he looked up at me unconvinced. So I asked him if he would just please try and I told him that when he got home I would give him a huge slice of watermelon. He squinted up at me, sighed deeply and dramatically, and said to me in an irritated little huff: “oh, fine”. Then he ran off to kick some balls.
* I took these pictures of Sawyer recently, in order to commemorate his Lithuanian soccer-player phase, because I want to remember. I always want to remember…