ChildhoodBaseballPassion

On Sunday, October 14, 1984, my 7-year-old self sat Indian style on the floor in the living room of our modest, happy, fun, family home with my pillow and blanket just feet from the television. I wasn’t riveted to the TV for the newest cartoon though. Care Bears, My Little Pony and Barbie would never even be in competition to hold my attention.  I didn’t realize it at the time but this would mark the beginning of my passion for the game of baseball.

It was early afternoon and the Detroit Tigers were in game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series versus the San Diego Padres. I don’t remember everything about the game but I do recall much of the major plays from the Tiger’s first World Series victory since the unforgettable 1968 team. I vividly remember those last moments, specifically the last couple of innings.

I mean who can possibly forget Kirk Gibson up to bat against Goose Gossage in the bottom of the 8th inning with 1 out, the Tigers leading 5 to 4? Tiger’s manager, Sparky Anderson, mouthing from the dugout, “he don’t want to walk you.” Gibby was already 2 for 3 with a homer, a walk and a single in the dramatic game so Goose convincingly argued with manager, Dick Williams, to not intentionally walk him.  Gossage believed he had Gibson figured out this time, he could beat him like he had since his rookie year with the Tigers. Gibson’s very first fastball in the major leagues came to him courtesy of Goose and Gibby would be retired many times from the batter’s box by him after that initial face off. This time though, the first pitch was a ball and the 2nd pitch would end up in the right field seats in the upper deck.

Now I didn’t know the history between these two phenomenal baseball players when I was a young girl watching this game so intently but this moment sparked a passion within me. Since this moment, I would read, study, play Little League and high school softball, attend Tiger games, play neighborhood home run derby, watch any MLB games on TV, analyze this game with the best of them, participate in fantasy baseball leagues, sketch and paint baseball art-all amazing memories for which I am eternally grateful.

That being shared, what I hold most dear is the connection baseball has given to me with those I love. Even if a family or friendship was difficult, we could always relate to baseball together. And on the other side of that it somehow strengthen the relationships I have presently with family and friends. This passion unites people and tends to bond you in ways I cannot describe.

Yes, I love my Detroit Tigers. However my love affair with baseball began in my early childhood sparked and cultivated by family. Forever grateful.

Tired Tiger Mama Just Wants A Cat Nap

The expression on this Mama Tiger's face says it all! As a Mom of not only a preteen son and two four-year-old daughters, I can definitely relate :)

The expression on this Mama Tiger’s face says it all! As a Mom of not only a preteen son but also two four-year-old daughters, I can definitely relate 🙂

This Belle Benched Due to Feeling Foul

Happy twelfth day of the new year to ya’ll!

Whew! So this belle has been benched the last few days due to a cold.  My little girl and I caught this nasty curve ball of a sickness and we are yet battling to throw it back to where it came from.  I naturally picked it up too while trying to nurse her back to health but I’m fairly certain playing at an indoor playground for families contained the perfect ‘germ storm’ to contract something.  The kids had a blast playing together and I even got a workout as I maneuvered my way through the obstacles.  One of the smaller obstacles was a young boy (we’ll call him, ‘Jimmy’) Lylah’s age with a runny nose and a bad cough who seemingly enjoyed chasing us around.  I was so excited to get the kids out somewhere to play, after many cold and windy days indoors at home, that I truthfully hadn’t even considered the abundance of germs at these facilities.  That is, not until little ‘Jimmy’ insisted on attacking us with his snot rockets.  Oh well, regardless of the many bad bacteria attempting to catch us, we had a blast and created lasting memories.  I’m certain before winter’s end, you will find us there again.

As cute as little Jimmy was, I felt myself steering Lylah away from him and his bacteria boogers by putting myself in between the two toddlers to protect her from direct contact.  I recall when proudly carrying my daughter for nine months, that feeling of being able to protect her while she’s inside my womb.  It is such an honor and blessing that God chose us ladies to be the gender who gets to experience this.  We connect with our little ones from the moment we find out about them.  I laughed just now out loud remembering how I was over four months along before I knew I was pregnant with Lylah (yeah, I’m not the quickest or most in tune with my own body haha) and the moment I found out I think I went from walking regular to waddling.  Anyways, I felt like while my unborn Lylah was inside my tummy I could protect her from the world.  I controlled what I ate and drank, what other outside elements I exposed myself too, etc.

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Now that she’s 3-years-old, I enjoy watching her make her own decisions, within reason of course, with the tools I hope I have given her to make those choices.  Sometimes, believe it or not, my sweet angel girl does choose to be naughty and reaps the not-so-fun consequences.  Similarly, a major league pitcher will throw the wrong pitch as he attempts to retire the opposing player up to bat.  He is continually perfecting his pitching arsenal with coaching staff so he is ready to unload on command during a game.  Ultimately, a pitcher hopes to throw the wisest, most effective pitches, while his coaching staff watches to see if the instruction they passed onto him benefit the team with a positive outcome.  Even the best of pitchers, like Detroit’s, Justin Verlander, can make a crucial mistake and reap the not-so-fun consequences as they watch the batter trot around the bases with a home run.

My head still feels slightly foggy today and when I talk I sound like Elmer Fudd but every sniffle and each cough expelled from me is well worth it when I know my daughter’s bout with this is improving.  I believe that my momma instincts to nurture would kick in even if I had a staff of people at my beckon call.  Amidst the snot and sniffles, there is truly something precious about nursing your sick child back to health. My present unruly appearance (one look at my disheveled, sickly self would scare anyone away so do not come to my front door 🙂 ) is a trade off I’m willing to endure. She spent most of her sickest days just cuddling with me and now is back to playing.  And I am once again back to stepping on those toys that hurt like a son of a slider to step on!

(Sniffle) Life is good.

Giving Our Kids a Reason Why Other Than ‘Because I Said So’?

Do you remember when your children asked “why?” after darn near everything you told them?  Or perhaps you are going through this stage with a child now, haha?  Regardless, when they ask why, do you give them an answer or a reason why to their questions?  We tend to answer them (as patiently as possible) after each of the 17 “whys” when they are young yet when this stage passes we tend to forget our kids still might want to know why even though they don’t ask.  I believe explaining helps when you discipline them and when you set household rules you expect to be followed. 

I have two kids, an 11-year-old boy and a 3-year-old daughter, and I’m certain my son at least would tell you his Momma isn’t perfect. The reason I say this is because I am honest with my kids, I admit my failures to them (as much as is appropriate for their ages) and we talk about them.  I strongly believe this helps them to deal with failures of their own. Obviously, when I discipline my son I go about it differently than when I correct my daughter due to their age differences, but I have also come to realize that I approach the genders differently.  My children each have a sensitive side and both also relate well to humor-and I use this even as I’m scolding them.

We don’t have to teach our kids to be naughty, ever notice that?  For some reason, my son, as a toddler was a laid back little boy.  Seriously, I rarely had to punish him, it was crazy!  My little girl on the other hand is a bit more ‘curious’ and tends to put caution aside, getting herself into trouble.  I understand curious kids and all but I can recognize when naughty is just naughty!

So what do you do? How do you get your child to listen to you? How can you get them to respect you enough to understand that no means no?  Well for one, this is a process.  Your kids of course will forever be testing you to see if no, indeed, means no.  I can’t wait for the eye rolling teen years!

I enjoyed being a youth sponsor in my local church for several years.  Since these adolescents were not my own children, I (usually haha) wasn’t the target of any of their eye rolling and muttering under their breath.  However, we did play a ‘parent ‘ role in their life, at least an authority role.  Through experience which led to wisdom, I had a life-changing moment when I realized something:

These teens were actually ok with being told yes and no to things in life by authority WHEN THEY WERE TOLD WHY.  In fact, they WANTED to know the reasons to why their parents had the rules they had and why we as youth sponsors set certain rules as well.   Doesn’t mean they always agreed but they seem to respect that there were reasons other than “because I said so”.  Preteen and teens are going through life deciding what is truth in their lives at this time.  Do these truths change?  Yes certainly, but I believe at this time in their lives they lay the groundwork for who they are, what they believe in…and to be told why so they can then relay why they believe what they believe-powerful.

Going back to my own kiddos, I have put this to practice when disciplining them.  For example:

Loving my dog

Loving my dog

To keep it simple, we’ll use my 3-year-old (explaining and discussing reasons to an older child are obviously more detailed haha).  The other day, I caught my daughter yankin on our dog’s tail.  I love animals, dearly and on purpose or not, I just can’t handle it when kids do things like that to them and I don’t tolerate it.  I quickly said no firmly.  She backed off, some. However, she went right back at it not even 5 minutes later.  I gave another warning, firmer this time.  You see, she has been told “do not play with the dog’s tail” a handful of times.  I think sometimes I figure if my voice is louder where I’m nearly yelling it or are yelling it, that’ll work and she’ll back off.  Not.  This last time I told her, I sat her down on my lap and said again, “no, I said leave it alone.”

Then it dawned on me!  Explain why, give her a reason!  Maybe she wasn’t understanding what a dog’s tail even was.  Could be that she was just being naughty and yankin on her tail was fun.  Ok, regardless, I decided to try giving a reason to see what happened from here on out.

I gently said, “Sweetie, that hurts Lucy (dog) when you do that, she will cry and say ouch.”  Then I took my daughter’s arm and kinda pulled on it, then pulled on it harder and asked her, “see that can hurt huh?”  And she looked up innocently at me with a scrunched up face and I smiled.  Removing her from my lap, I went over to Lucy and held her tail (I’m sure she was thrilled about this haha) and tugged a little on her tail, still tugging my daughter’s arm.  I repeated, “see, this is your arm and that’s Lucy’s tail, we have to be careful and be nice.”  I watched her as she observed and tried to soak in this lesson Mom was teaching her and smiled again.  I asked her to please give the dog a hug and say you’re sorry.  She did so and even gave her a kiss.

I’m happy to report, as is Lucy, that there have been no tail-pulling incidents since this time.  Can I credit it to giving my daughter a reason we will not pull the dog’s tail?  I don’t know, but I know she’s not doing it anymore.
Perhaps we as humans need to know the why, the reason(s) behind an authority figure in our life says no to something?

On the flip side, I also believe it’s beneficial to be told the reasons behind a yes answer as well.  Some are common sense reasons of course though you might be surprised how many people are running low on common sense!
This was a breakthrough for me years ago and it’s a practice I still implement today.  I try my hardest to not use ‘because I said so” to my children.  Admittedly, an earlier bedtime after a stressful day though could very well get that answer!
Well, gotta go folks…why? Because I’m hungry! : )