Thursday, October 25, 2012

Soccer Coach... Who knew?

I asked all the kids at the first practice; “Why are you here?” They all answered that they love soccer or they wanted to play soccer, but none of them told me they were here to win. Everything we’d done since then has been rooted to that concept. Our practices are action packed and fun, and our games are all played in the spirit of good sportsmanship.

It all started last spring, when Drew was chosen to play on a travel soccer team in town. Drew is skilled at soccer, but was clearly one of the weaker players for that team. He was smaller, younger, and less mature than the rest of the team. In his defense, he was playing “up”, which in soccer lingo means he was too young for the team age, but he was allowed to play with the team because the team didn’t otherwise have enough players to field a team and there was no team for his age group. Drew enjoyed the competition, and practiced twice a week with the team, but game after game, found himself on the sidelines watching for more than 85% of the games. This was never an issue for him, but it didn’t make sense to me. I felt that he needed to be on the field if he was to improve and I hoped that as the season progressed, so would he. At the end of the season, it was obvious Drew would not have a place to play the following season, and like any other “Papa Bear”, I had to look out for my cub.

Aimee suggested that I step up and volunteer to coach the nonexistent team that was needed for Drew’s age group and start recruiting players so we could field a competitive team. I reviewed the pros and cons and although I had serious reservations, I knew three things that helped me realize I would be an effective soccer coach.

1.As a teacher, I know how to treat children fairly despite dramatic differences in work ethic, ability, and motivation.
2.As a camp counselor, I’ve “coached” hundreds of kids over the last 20 years.
3.As a parent, I could never forgive myself for being afraid to step out of my comfort zone for the sake of Drew’s well-being.

The cons were mostly the fear of public scrutiny if I was a bad coach. I generally only do things I’m good at doing to preserve my self esteem. I couldn’t be a failure in my son’s eyes. So, I listened to all the jokes from my friends, read a ton about soccer, talked a lot of soccer with friends with experience, and took the plunge. It did mean some things around our house would need to change. After school tutoring would have to stop, we’d need to adjust Emily’s nursing hours on weekends, and our schedules would be changed to allow soccer to become a priority.

I now own more soccer shorts than any other middle aged, overweight, non athlete that I know. I have thirteen boys and girls who love soccer and habitually attend our practices and games. Miraculously, they play equal time despite the societal pressure to win, win, win! Maybe that might cost us a victory here and there, but all of them love soccer and are happy to be on our team. I have two fantastic assistant coaches who have been so helpful and all the parents that have been so supportive. But mostly, I have Aimee, who encouraged me to try something new, and has been so understanding and helpful as I took on this new challenge.

I always thought I was doing the noble thing to help Drew. I never intended for it to be another source of pride for me. The most important reason I love this team is that not one of my players complains when we lose, brag when we win, or gripe about playing time. Of course not, they are here because they love to play soccer.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wingbo for Emily

Aimee found a product on facebook called Wingbo. They make a swing that aims to improve tummy time and we are hoping to win it in a contest this month on the Wingbo Facebook page. The benefits of this swing as therapy for Emily are countless, and it is certain to keep her happy.

The description on their website, includes the following:
"Wingbo has benefits for special needs infants and young children, in particular those with developmental delays. It can be a therapeutic tool for use in institutions and practices as well as privately in homes. Wingbo is recommended for use by pediatricians, physical therapists and early intervention specialists. Wingbo is recommended for developmental delays."

Visual impairments, low muscle tone, sensory integration, and acid reflux are also among the list of benefits from using this swing, all areas for which Emily is treated daily. I also think it is great that they even have a special pad for children with a G-Tube, so the pressure from her button will not irritate her belly and she could actually be in the swing during a feeding (which is more often than not).

The biggest reason we want this swing is because Emily has limited things she can do here at home, so her routine tends to be pretty set once she gets home from school. Sit in her tumbleform chair, roll on a blanket, cuddle with us, or lay in her crib. It would be nice to add something else... especially since her awake time tends to be in the evenings.

So here is where YOU come in...
It is so easy, click the link, "like" wingbo, and comment "Aimee Magnan Gollihur sent me". Emily gets one more chance to win for each unique person that posts a comment. Thanks so much! If you shared this blog post on your facebook wall, your friends could also support this opportunity for our daughter, Emily, who would absolutely love the Wingbo swing. The winner will be selected March 22nd.
Thanks for your help.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What's going on?

I have neglected this little blog for too long.  I think it's due to a combination of several things; Emily's health has been fairly stable, Drew is more heavily involved in extra-curricular activities, Carter and Brenna have given up napping, we moved, I started my photography business, Gee-off is extra busy with school, and, well,  Facebook! ;)

I only get about 2 1/2 hours each morning to myself while Carter and Brenna are at school.  Most of that time is for chores and errands, showering, coffee . . . so I have to keep this short.  But, did you catch that??  I get 2 1/2 hours every weekday morning to myself!!!!!!!  Yipppeeeeeeee!!!!! :)

Okay, the update.

Let's break it down.

Emily has been doing pretty well.  She is now in her second year of Pre-K at her school and loving it!  She stays awake most of the day now and is happier while she is there.  Developmentally, she is making some progress.  She is holding small toys, she can even "see" a toy if it is held a few inches from her face and will reach out to grab it.  She makes "talky" noises, but no real speech yet.  She laughs a lot.  She rolls everywhere, and is now getting up on her knees and forearms and trying to crawl!  Go Em!!  She is still on 100% tube feeds, but likes to get drops of water from her syringes and she gets sips of water from a special cup and straw at school.  Medically, she has been very stable, except her seizures.  She still has infantile spasms and they have been increasing a bit lately.  We also think we've been seeing something that looks like it could be a new kind of seizure as well.  

Here is one of her most recent pics.

Drew is in 2nd grade and doing great!  He has been to the orthodontist over the last year because his adult teeth have been coming in super tight and very crooked.  He does need braces, but we are holding off just a little bit longer.  He loves soccer and played this fall.  Then he tried out for the travel team and made it!  And then he was asked to play on an indoor soccer team as well.  He is big into video games and has a best friend that he likes to hang out with all the time.  He's really a big boy now. :)

Carter and Brenna are in Pre-K now and in separate classes.  They are both doing great academically, but still need to work on things like sharing and playing nicely with others. :)  Carter is doing great with his OT and PT and it looks like he'll be able to transition to regular Kindergarten next year.  They are very active and rarely nap, but they love to play with each other so they usually keep each other entertained pretty well . . . when they're not fighting!

In November, we moved to our new home.  We decided we need to sell our old home because it wasn't accessible enough for Emily.  All of the bedrooms and bathrooms were upstairs and she has to be carried.  We looked into renovating, but buying turned out to be a much better option for us.  Our new home is just about perfect, everyone has their own bedroom.  Well, I still have to share!! ;)  Our room and Emily's room are on the main floor, as well as an accessible bathroom for her too.  It is great and really feels like home already, though our first home will always hold sentimental value for us.  It was our very first real home and where we lived when all of our children were born.  Ahh, memories. :)

That's all for now!