When we have bad days I often talk to my kids as I am laying with them before bed. We talk about how we all have ups and downs of days – and how as a family we have to give each other grace and know that even on our down days we love each other and need to try harder.
Today I taught my 7 year old how to hit a baseball. We have been trying for the last couple of weeks. He is pretty stubborn…so am I. He is easily embarrassed and doesn’t like when he can’t do something because he is afraid someone will make fun of him. The problem with hitting is twofold. 1) he wants to swing – full out – hit it out of the park! and 2) I am afraid of getting hit by the bat or by the ball.
I had the brilliant idea on Monday while the boys and I were having a boys day during spring break to bring them to a local fun park which has batting cages (and automatic ball machines). We spent about 1 1/2 hours there and he did not hit a single ball! We tried slow pitch softball (I thought the larger ball and the slower speed would help him to get the feeling)…We tried slow baseball (35 mph is the slowest they have)…he swung at every pitch and didn’t get a single one. I stepped in and hit 20 in a row! He was pissed (but impressed). I tried to get him to slow his swing down. I told him to just meet the ball up front, I told him to watch the ball hit the bat, I told him to step into the ball.
On the way home he was crying. I promised we would do more over the weekend. Yesterday we had a scrimmage. he struck out his two times at bat. He was crying after the first one but got it together – most of the kids struck out. So, yesterday afternoon we went back to the batting cages. He struck at 200 pitches in the slow softball cage ($12). Not a hit. I kept telling him to slow his swing and just meet the ball. He tried it once and hit the ball. He tried it again and hit it again. He made about 4 out of that 20. He switched to the baseballs. He got about 5 out of 20 each of the next few times he tried.
On the way to the cages today, he said to me…”just meet the ball, right mom?” (aha! moment there)
Today he stepped into the baseball cage and was hitting almost every ball. We spent $20 and he hit about 70% of the 35 mph and about 40% of the 45 mph. everytime he missed I told him to just meet it and he would get it! He hit so much that he got a blister!
We then met some friends at this park and did mini golf. He was an absolute pill. He wanted to go back to batting and was annoying. at one point he slammed the golf ball and it went about 200 yards on top of this volcano thing. I was so angry at him.
We finished up minigolf and two of the other kids wanted to do some batting so we went back to the batting cages. I let him hit and he did great.
On the way home he said. “Thank you for teaching me to hit mommy. I’m sorry I was naughty during mini-golf, we all have ups and downs…and that was one of my downs…but we still love each other”. okay, he’s listening sometimes.
After dinner, he asked if I would throw the ball with him. He is doing great at learning to catch too. I was throwing him a bunch of different heights and threw a pop up. It came down on his nose and he got a bloody nose. As I was holding him (and his nose) he said…”well this is one of the downs…but I won’t tell anyone you gave me a bloody nose, mom…so they won’t make fun of you!”
I told him at least he couldn’t tell his friends that I throw like a girl!
Great post. You are such a great mom!!!
Great story!! And I live the idea of talking about ups & downs as a family. We need to get back in that habit again!
Ps. My dad made me throw the baseball until I could make his hand sting. I may throw like a girl, but a really tough one 😉 And I’m totally going to teach my kids how to throw a football. I’ve got one sweet spiral, too.
Awww….made me teary! I love it when the kids want so much to learn something….really try…then finally get it. What a special moment!