Growing Pains

 

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My ten year old son recently began limping and telling me he had a sore foot. He is extremely active so I put it down to a stone bruise or something innocuous. I finally decided to take it seriously when he was hobbling around like an old man when he first got up in the mornings. It was the end of the summer sports season and he was nearing the finals for all his sports. It also coincided with the start of training for his winter sports. Every day of the week he was exercising and it was at that point that he was diagnosed with ‘Severs Disease’.

The name conjures images of a contagious infection where the foot is severed from the body, but thankfully it’s not as disturbing as that! Put simply, it is when the growth plate in the heel grows faster than the achilles tendon can stretch and is very common in active kids after they have had a growth spurt. The only course of action was to rest and to do stretches to help the achilles lengthen. As he already wears orthotics in his shoes, these were raised slightly in the heel to relieve the tension in his tendon.

To my son’s horror, the diagnosis of severs required him to limit his activities. He had to give up rugby training, competing in his school cross country and sat out a game or two of basketball. After reducing his sport, which let’s be honest is like a cruel form of torture for an active ten year old, the pain subsided.

Severs is a condition that will flare up off and on as he grows and he just has to manage it with ice packs to reduce swelling and stretching exercises.

As a side note, the podiatrist mentioned to me that kids that get ‘Severs’ often then get another growth related disease called ‘Osgood-Schlatter Disease’ a few years later in life when the growth plates in their knees start to give them pain. He advised that my son should try to build up his quads to help support his knees before the pain sets in.

So if you have an active kid complaining of sore heels or knees there is a good chance that they are suffering from good old growing pains!

 

(Image courtesy of photo stock, freedigitalphotos.net)

TABLES TURNED

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My regular readers will know that I recently took up playing basketball. This week my 12 year old daughter decided she needed to train me to help improve my skills. Ever diligent, she googled the dimensions for the key on a regulation size basketball court and then marked out the area on our driveway with masking tape.

She then patiently described the techniques required to assist me in shooting and set plays designed to beat the defense. As she took her teaching role very seriously, I was left thinking how strange it was to not be the one to be teaching and guiding her and that somehow the tables had turned. It was sweet that she wanted to donate her time to give me instruction, when she could have instead been relaxing inside.

Once she had finished with her instructions we played a very vigorous game of one on one basketball that left us both hot and sweaty. The noise of our competitive game roused my son’s interest in playing and then before long, my husband also joined in, in a battle of the sexes basketball game. For the record the girls won 😉

It is such a weird sensation having your child take on the parenting role. I’m sure my mother would concur as now I have taken on the responsibility of taking her to the doctor when she is unwell and I often try (somewhat unsuccessfully) to teach her how to use her smart phone. She has mastered making a phone call and is working on text messages!

I guess it is the circle of life and that we all go through the phase of teaching and caring for our kids and then at some point there is an equilibrium before the tables turn and our kids look after us. We have to just hope we have set them an example of patience and understanding, so that they display these traits when the time comes for them to care for and guide us!

BASKETBALLERS  

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I have agreed (maybe foolishly) to play basketball with a group of mothers from my children’s school. Our team’s experience is limited to watching our kids play and an odd game of basketball or netball twenty or so years ago.

Having watched and scored my children’s basketball games for the past ten years, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the game. Turns out that it is:

  1. Far more exhausting than the kids make it seem
  2. Far more brutal
  3. The hoop is a lot smaller than it appears

After a hard played 20 minutes our team limped off court, struggling to comprehend that we had only just completed the first half of the game. Watching and playing this game were really totally different experiences.

In the second half we lost a player after she provided the soft cushioning for an opponent who fell on top of her, leaving our player badly bruised and batted!

This experience has given me a new found respect for the energy levels of our kids and a wake up call that, whilst I may be an expert on how the kids should play the game when I’m a spectator, the same can’t be said when I’m actually the one playing the game.

Our aim was for the opposition to not double our score, which we managed to achieve. At the final siren we all gathered together happy to have played our first game whilst discussing appropriate triage for the numerous muscle strains, bumps and bruises.

They say you shouldn’t judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes – well now that I’ve run more than a mile in basketball shoes I plan to take a back seat on giving my kids pointers on how they can play basketball! Forty minutes on the court has proved to me that the game is harder than it seems and that at the end of the day, you are just there for some exercise and fun!

(Picture courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)

FORGOTTEN CHILD

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It would be hypocritical of me to call my blog ‘Truth About Parenting’ and not share with you the truth about my parenting journey.

One day this week I forgot my child! I took my son to his basketball game and my daughter decided to come along as her friend was going to be at the stadium at the same time. Usually my daughter would rather stick red hot pokers in her eyes than come to basketball as a spectator, so she rarely comes along.

When we arrived she went and sat with her friend while I watched my son’s game. Upon the conclusion of the game (which incidentally he won), my son was nagging me to give him money for the canteen. As I had dinner waiting at home, I refused his request and was trying to avoid a total meltdown as I herded him to the car. Without a second thought I drove away and was half way home when I received a phone call from an unfamiliar phone number. I answered to hear my daughter asking ‘Mum, where are you?’ I had completely forgotten that she had come with us, which is quite unbelievable as she is not a kid to sit quietly in the back of the car. My daughter talks incessantly and always makes herself known, which makes the fact I didn’t notice her absence even more profound.

I immediately turned the car around and went back to the stadium to collect her. She was standing with her friend’s mother who sarcastically awarded me ‘Mother of the year!’ Thankfully after my heart felt apology, my daughter saw humour in the situation and was not too perturbed by the incident.

My brain fade reminded me of my own childhood when my mother once forgot to collect me from a music lesson and at the age of 12 I walked 2 kilometres in the dark to get home. In an effort to appease my daughter I relayed my experience to her to let her know I had survived worse!

I was also forgotten by my school when I was about 8 years of age. I had gone to sick bay as I was unwell and the office staff had tried to contact my mother to collect me, but as it was in a time prior to mobile phones they couldn’t get a message to her. At the end of the day, the staff had forgotten I was lying quietly on a stretcher and they all left for the day. My mother was beside herself with worry when I didn’t return home after school. Eventually I came to the realisation that no one was coming to get me and so walked a few kilometres home by myself, crying all the way as I was feeling so sick. My parents were livid at the school’s negligence and made it known to the principal the next day.

Reflecting on my own experiences, I hope that it is not completely uncommon for a child to be forgotten.

In fact, with all the running around I do for all my four kids’ extra curricular activities, I’m surprised this is the first time I have forgotten one of my kids!

Let me know if you have forgotten a child or been forgotten! Hopefully I’m not alone!

 

 

(Picture courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitialphotos.net)

WIN WIN

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This week my daughter’s basketball team played a group of women with special needs. At first, I wasn’t sure how they would react to being expected to play these women aged 18 – 55 who had varying degrees of physical and mental abilities.

I must admit my heart melted as I watched the girls instantly adjust their normal game to compensate for their competitors skill level. Our team ran slower, didn’t defend vigorously and didn’t challenge any lost balls in order to give the opposition a chance.

To be fair to the other team, they were awesome shooters! I think our team could learn a thing or two about their level of accuracy when it came to getting baskets.

The game ended with the other team defeating our team by almost 50 points, but I have never seen our team so happy as they really enjoyed seeing the joyful exuberance of the opposition taking control of the play on the court.

As the teams shook hands, I overheard one of the women from the opposition say in earnest ‘Better luck next time,’ to which the girl from our team replied, ‘Thanks. Well done, you had a great game.’ They both had smiles beaming across their faces, which goes to show that sometimes the team with the highest score isn’t the only winner.

Driving home from the game, my daughter said that she had really enjoyed the experience and suggested that she would like to donate her time as a community service to work alongside these women as she found them inspirational. It really was a win win scenario with the women enjoying the benefits of playing together as a team, whilst our team had the humbling experience of spending time with these very special people.

 

 

(Photo courtesy of Arvind Balaraman,freedigitalphotos.net)

MANAGING CHAOS

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I, like many of you out there, manage a few of my kids sporting teams. It’s funny how a room goes silent when there is the question put out as to who would like to nominate themselves for this role. I think in this world there are the doers and the whiners (have you ever noticed that the parents that whine the loudest about the way things are being done are the ones that don’t offer to do anything themselves?) The other thing that I’ve noticed is that once you put your hand up to help, you are then forever more stuck in that role. I naively thought the first time I offered to take on managing a team that it would be passed around to all the parents, but alas years on, I’m still in the same role.

I don’t mind the texting to co-ordinate everyone or dealing with the governing association for that sport – what I can’t stand is being in charge of subbing players on and off the field/court. No matter what I’ve done in the past, someone has complained that it’s not been fair to their child. I tried doing it alphabetically to make sure everyone had their turn but the mother of the little girl whose name was at the start of the list took offence to this method, so I changed to subbing the kids off in order of their jersey number, until one of the dads complained that it kept our two best players off at the same time. Add to that the grief from the child that just doesn’t want to come off the field. Some days I just feel like pulling my hair out!

So I was ecstatic this week when someone told me about a phone app that does all the hard work for you – all my wishes have come true! For all you parents who are coaches/managers do yourself a favour and download ‘FairCoach’ (I’m not paid to endorse this app – I am genuinely thrilled to have found it). It allows you to mark off which kids are present, set the format for the game (halves, quarters etc), set the time of the game and then it spits out which children are to come off at what exact time. It even allows you shuffle the players so it changes week by week – Hallelujah!

I used it for the first time last night at my son’s basketball and it was great – any time a kid moaned about it not being their turn, I could just say ‘the phone app says it is your turn’ and that shut them up. I love when technology makes your life easier in the most unexpected ways. Now if someone could just design an app that could drive the kids to their sport and wash their uniforms after, then life would be truly perfect!

 

 

(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net)