I posted last week about playing soccer with The Monkey. We’ve been playing a lot. Even when I don’t really want to.
Especially, it seems, when I don’t want to.
My phone rings.
Monkey: Hee hee hee
Me: Speak or I am going to hang up.
Monkey: It is your worst nightmare.
Monkey: Do you know what I want?
Me: Nope. (Lies.)
Monkey: Do you want to play soccer with meee?
Me: No. Not really.
Monkey: Oh pleeeeeease.
Me: I’m busy.
Monkey: When will you not be busy?
[Ten minute philosophical debate about just how long an hour really is.]
Me: Pain in the butt. *grumble grumble*
Monkey: But, Peeeeeeter. I am in my shorts and have my soccer ball… right… here…
[I can hear sadface over the phone.]
We’ve been repeating this process every day for the past two weeks. Sometimes more than once a day.
Now, lest you all think, “Wow. Peter is soooo sweet for playing soccer with the urchin.” That is not the full story.
I’m also tall and charming.
But, that’s not what this post is about. (You can read more about that in my forthcoming autobiography, “I Am Also Tall And Charming.”)
The point is, that sometimes I can be a bit of a poop when we are playing soccer. Take yesterday for instance…
We played THREE different times. She tried for four when she showed up at 8 pm in her pajamas to get me to play again. But, I was watching soccer on TV and threw her out.
Sometimes our soccer outings are fun and silly. Other times one or both of us are a bit cranky. (Mostly her. I am always delightful.) Sometimes they involve me telling her that a giant spider is crawling into her ear as she screams and runs around batting at her own head.
So, yes, yesterday during our third game of the day, she kept kicking the ball away from where I was and making me chase it. Since I am selective about my energy outputs, I was not in favour of this. And grrrrrrrr’ed frequently. She said, “But, Peter I can’t really control where it goes.” Which, frankly, would have been more believable if she hadn’t giggled immediately after.
So, I replied, “Oh yeah?”
She said, “Yeah. WhatareYOUgonnado?” And then tossed her head, did a little hmmph, and strutted around.
“Reallllllllllly? I said.
And then I kicked the ball. Hard.
It is important to note that I always use my left foot when playing with her. Mostly because my right foot is like a rocket. A ROCKET, I tells ya. The downside of this is that I don’t have nearly the accuracy with old lefty. So, a ball that was going to miss her by a good ten feet, and sail down the field, suddenly started doing the Beckham bend.
She froze. I was watching it in slow motion. The ball was heading right at her. I was thinking. “Move… put up your hands.. something.”
Finally she lifted her hands and stopped it from hitting her squarely in the stomach. As soon as it hit, she grabbed her left hand with her right. “Owwwwww.” She tried to tough it out. She took a couple of steps forward, but then the tears started. And then she fell down like she had been shot.
Oh, stop tsk tsking me.
I ran over to see how she was. I helped her up. I checked out her fingers.
I didn’t even offer to hurt the other hand so that she’d have a matching set. I did that Thursday night when she dove for a ball and jammed her wrist a little. What? She was milking it.
I offered to get her ice for her fingers. But, she sniffled that she was OK. And she tried to solider on. But, she wasn’t as into the game after that. A ball ended up in the bushes next to a neighbour’s shed. She went halfway in to get it and came running back out. “You go get it! There’s a grave in there!”
This, obviously, confused me. So, I ventured into the bushes. I found the ball sitting in the middle of a little patch of dirt where my neighbour will be planting his cucumbers.
I walked back out. “That is a cucumber patch. Grave… Who did you think we had buried there?”
She shrugged, “I dunno. Your great grandmother or somethin’.”
I cracked up. I knew the game was over at that point.
So, we walked back together. I asked her if she needed ice for her fingers. I told her how if she made the basketball team next year, that could happen a lot. We walked. We talked. We laughed. I dare say we bonded.
And then she told everyone in the neighbourhood how I had just made her cry.