The temperature this weekend was high enough to drive us all outside to enjoy the fresh air and the basketball goal that Santa brought last month. Because there is no need to introduce any more competition into our kids' lives due to the sometimes violent and aggressive nature of the loser, and because the kids - and by kids, I mean S - have little concept of taking turns, I had to invent rules for them to shoot hoops.
These rules involved some math.
Each child gets to shoot until he or she makes a basket. If a basket is made within the first three shots, then two shots will be added to those first three. Therefore, if you make a basket on the first try, then you get four more shots. If it's made on the third try, you get two more. If a basket is not made within the first three, we found, then upwards of 248 shots may be made until that rock drops.
I also incorporated a spelling lesson and C quickly learned how to spell HORSE. He was a gracious loser.
I taught the kids how to throw a football this weekend, too. As is typical for the House of Urf!, everyone begins reading early, yet learned to to throw a football well into their grade school years.
And as is typical for JP, I showed him how to hold and throw the football, he threw a perfect, tight spiral, and then ran off to do something else.
C and I spent a while tossing the football back and forth. It took him a few passes, but he was doing really well in no time. It was a good way to spend an afternoon that ended a week in which those first signs of adolescence, of a verbal distance that is the harbinger of coming times, showed itself.
C hasn't been himself lately. Or, rather, he's been who he will be when he fully morphs into a sullen teen. These will be years when I know I'll have to make a special effort to connect with him, to get him to open up to me and tell me if there are problems, fears, hopes or questions.
The backyard on a perfectly balmy January afternoon, I found, was the perfect way to set that play in motion.