Micah is part of the VIP soccer team with AYSO. VIP may actually stand for something, but I have no clue what it would be, other than the old and obvious. His team is comprised of kids like him, who don't really fit on a regular team with kids his age, and yet really want to play soccer.
Okay, the part where they really want to play soccer might be a stretch. At least in Micah's case.
We signed the boy up without consulting him, because I'm not sure he knows what soccer is by definition. He loves to play soccer with his brothers in the yard, and he loves watching the kids on the AYSO field play games as we drive by, so we took that as some sort of enthusiasm for the sport.
We didn't get the memo when practices started, and the first call we had was to tell us that practice was cancelled due to the snow. After that we were on vacation - and I let them know that so they didn't think we were bailing altogether. I got a schedule of games when we got back, and found out that we already missed 2 games. No worries, though, there was a game this past weekend and we were home!
Micah was sure that he was going to stay at Grandma's over the weekend, because he hadn't seen her for nearly 2 weeks and was probably going to die soon if he didn't get his Grandma fix. He talked to Daddy on the phone and arranged the whole thing. I know, because after hanging up with Daddy he packed his suitcase and tried shooing me out the door. The thing is that we can't understand Micah any better on the phone than we can face to face, so Micah probably did ask Daddy. Or tell Daddy, because that's how Micah rolls. And Daddy probably said, "Yeh?" which Micah took as a "Yes, you can!" Although, that doesn't even need to happen for Micah to think he's getting his way. Usually when Micah thinks something, there's no talking him out of it. A firm and final NO does nothing to sway the boy. AT ALL.
So Micah was packed and ready to go to Grandma's. And he couldn't get me out the door fast enough. His suitcase was already in the van and everything. I told him that he needed to come get changed first, and he's shockingly compliant on things like that if he thinks it'll get me to move in his direction faster. He was upstairs and choosing new duds in no time. Except I had duds already laid out for him to put on, like his soccer shirt, black shorts, and socks that could eat his legs all the way up to his boxer shorts, then fold down and lick the remains all the way back to his ankles.
The boy isn't stupid. That outfit clearly meant that I had plans other than taking him to Grandma's house. He was not going to put it on. But I'm bigger than he is, and I'm the parent, so I made him. The shorts were acceptable, but the shirt was most definitely not. He was making a convincing argument that it was made of acid and was eating his flesh away as he sat there writing in agony. But I took no pity, and instead put his socks on.
Every mom knows her limits. Those socks were the limit. The difference between writing in agony over a shirt made of acid and the way he acted by having those socks put on his legs was like saying he loved the shirt and just declared it his very favorite ever. I removed the sock, put it in my bag to attempt at the field, and herded the screaming boy to the van. I packed his long sleeved shirt he was previously wearing in the bag along with his shin guards and socks. It might be cold on the field, and he could wear that under the acidic green one.
Micah cried the whole way to town. That's a 15 minute drive. He stopped crying long enough to poke me every 90 seconds and ask if he could remove the green shirt. I said no, he resumed crying, and we repeated it all over again a minute and a half later. Sometimes he'd change things up and ask Becky if he could take his shirt off. She wasn't any more tolerant than I was. We were no help at all. He'd have no flesh left by the time he got to the soccer field, and we clearly didn't care.
We stopped by the hospital to drop off Daddy's lunch and Micah begged for Daddy's help. Daddy told him to have fun playing soccer. The drive-thru at McDonald's was my undoing. His screaming was so loud that I couldn't place an order for his lunch. He declared that he didn't want to eat anyway. How could he? He was dying. No burger. No chicken. Can I take this shirt off?
YES. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD JUST TAKE THE STUPID SHIRT OFF.
He did. He stopped crying instantly. SERIOUSLY? I was tempted to make him put it back on, but instead I gave him the long sleeved backup to wear. The hiccoughed sigh of contentment clearly told me that I'd not get that acid green thing back on him without the biggest struggle in the history of dressing unwilling toddlers. After consulting the other kids in the van, we all came to the same conclusion. It was better to call it a day and go home than drive the extra 20 minutes to the soccer field only to fight a battle to get him dressed, and have him stand on the field doing absolutely nothing in protest. Or worse; sitting on the sidelines in a sulky, 80-pound, unmovable lump.
I lost the battle that day. But there's a whole season ahead of us. Surely, at some point, he'll get out on the field, right? He might even be wearing a green shirt, and socks that eat his legs. But I'm not pushing my luck. I'm just really glad we're on the VIP team, because every single parent and coach knows this battle and will sympathize rather than criticize. This world of kids that are a little bit different, but really can play soccer, is one you have to live to fully understand. Its full of acceptance, and tolerance, and love. And we're all here to support and encourage each other, because we know that next week, it'll most likely be someone else's kid, and there's nothing we can do about that either.