Ani’s softball practice was today. I brought my mitt, Asa’s mitt, and a softball. I, again, was having repeat visions of playing catch with Asa while we waited around. As it turned out, the softball diamond was a muddy mess with a pond between 1st and 2nd base– so the girls just practiced in a corner of the big grassy field.
I led Asa to another corner of the field for our (er.. my) fantasy game of catch. To my chagrin, he immediately stated he didn’t want to play. I said, “C’mon. It’s SO fun!” I truly believe this. I’ve been playing catch with Ani in our backyard this past week of spring break — it is great!
Asa sighed, shrugged, and started tentatively putting his fingers into the mitt. “Ace! It goes on your left hand, not your right. You throw with your right.” Another sigh. He puts it on the correct hand. “Let’s just stay real close” he says. So we do. I’m hoping it will go like an egg toss game and we can keep taking steps back until we are far enough away that Asa will get to finally experience the rewarding sound and feel of the smack of the ball in his glove. But I’m off fantasizing again and Asa is already sitting on his knees on the ground. “Hey! I have an idea, want to practice grounders?” “Okay”, he agrees. I roll him some grounders. No problem! Grounders are fun too! But no, he is quickly getting frustrated with my aim. I tell him he needs to take grounders by staying low on his feet, not on his knees! He refuses to get off his knees. My plan is unraveling quickly.
I head back over to him to see if I can woo him back to the original game of catch. But he has something crawling up the back of his jacket. What is that?!? “Asa, you have a ladybug on your back.” Asa’s eyes immediately light up. He wants to hold the ladybug. I watch as Asa’s entire face and body relaxes up. He is delighted by his little friend! It’s crawling up his shirt! It’s been named “Buddy.”
I sit down in the grass and realize there are ladybugs everywhere! Asa doesn’t seem to see them and needs my help in catching them. We have a new game of catch underway. I pick the ladybugs up off the grass, give them to Asa, and then he lets them crawl up his arm to his hand and then watches them until they fly away off the tip of his finger. It’s very exciting when they spread their wings and fly off. Some of them fly far. Others nearby.
We realize Asa has a hard time finding the ladybugs because he’s colorblind — especially with his reds and greens — so ladybugs in the grass do not show up well. We both ponder that and then giggle about what a losing setup that is for him. Next we start looking closely at the ladybugs and realize they are all 6 dotted ladybugs with a 7th dot in the middle. We thought ladybugs had varying numbers of dots. These ladybugs must all be from one family!
Now we are into experiments with the ladybugs. We learn they really seem to enjoy the warmth of my iPhone. Their favorite game tunes to crawl around to are Cut the Rope and Bridge Constructor. We worry they might get radiated by the cell phone and burn right there before our eyes. We are relieved that doesn’t happen.
“Asa,” I ask, pulling him onto my lap, “what do you choose, ladybugs or baseball?” “Duh, mom.” “Okay, how about ants or basketball?” “Basketball, but I don’t like ants!” “Um, pill bugs or sitting in mama’s lap at Ani’s softball practice catching ladybugs?” Asa doesn’t say anything, he just leans back into me.
It turned out to be a game of catch even better than my fantasy.