It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Stick with Your Goals…

We play soccer!!

The skies are forbidding but it’s not actually raining, so we grab a kid-size nerf soccer ball and head to the small field at the base of our street. Further venturing under such lowering skies is not wise, but surely we can burn off some of their copious energy a block from home.

The grass is ankle high (mid-calf for them) and wet, but the ball bounces just the same. Off they go! (All except Arthur. Call it perverse if you will (I know I certainly do) but the boy who never walks if he can run-like-an-elephant-in-army-boots in the house will not run outside.)

We set up some goalposts: the stroller at one end and my nice sturdy umbrella stabbed into the soft earth at the other. I am the goalie. This is brilliant strategy. As goalie, I don’t have to run like a mad thing. They’re here to burn excess energy. Me, I’m forty-something, I’m more into conserving energy. Secondly, it’s a way of keeping control of five little bodies, all hurtling in different directions at differing speeds. If I’m the goalie, they have to keep circling me. They keep running toward me, and I don’t even have to call. Ha!

There is some preliminary discussion of this, though, before the boys understand the parameters.

“You can be the goalie, Darcy!” George declares.

“I don’t want to be the goalie!”

“Why not?”

“I want to run!” Good man. That’s the spirit. Run like the wind, little man, run like the wind.

“Me, too!” George declares. “I want to run!”

Arthur, however, hears something in that which appeals. “I will be the goalie!”

“No, love, I am the goalie. You go on out there and chase that ball.” I boot it several metres down the field.

Arthur sighs and trots in the wake of the other boys, already well after the ball. He lumbers a bit behind them for a minute or so, and then he’s back at my elbow, talking, talking, talking.

“Arthur. I’m the goalie. You’re supposed to be chasing the ball.”

The ball bounces against Arthur’s foot, then bounces away.

“Oh! I got the ball!” He looks up with delight, smiling benignly at the ball nestled in the grass a foot from his toe.

Darcy thunders up and kicks the ball toward the goal. I boot it back down the field. What we’re really playing is a slightly more complicated version of “fetch”, but the boys don’t need to know this.

“Hey! You tooked my ball!” Arthur is offended.

“I didn’t take it, sweetie. I’m the goalie. I have to kick it away from the goal. That’s my job. You can chase after it and try to kick it into the goal, too, just like Darcy and George and Zach. Away you go.”

He trots off, and, to his credit, manages to join the scrimmage (aka seething mass of three-year-olds), even getting his foot on the ball once or twice. Then he loses steam, follows the ball half-heartedly at some distance for a while, before returning once more.

“Mary, can I be the–”

“No, Arthur, I’ve told you already. I’m the goalie.”

“No, I don’t want to be the goalie. Can I be the goalpost?”

June 1, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. I think Arthur may have found his calling!

    Comment by MsSisyphus | June 1, 2006 | Reply

  2. HILARIOUS!!!!!!!

    Comment by MamaMiaJacksElla | June 1, 2006 | Reply

  3. HaHaHaHaHa! That’s great! Did you let him? Or tell him that you already had two perfectly fine goalposts so he needed to get out there and chase the ball? And, what child doesn’t run outside when all they do inside is run? That’s crazy, or maybe that’s just Arthur!

    Comment by Angela | June 1, 2006 | Reply

  4. He’d probably make a good speed bump as well.

    Comment by Granny | June 1, 2006 | Reply

  5. LOL. Arthur doesn’t like to run outside because it’s ALLOWED and doesn’t get a REACTION! It’s so much more boring…plus, he’s not as able to keep talking everyone’s ears off if he’s running in wide open spaces, you know. 🙂

    Comment by Kristen | June 1, 2006 | Reply

  6. I’m with Arthur! I just want to squish (hug) him!

    Comment by twoboysmom | June 1, 2006 | Reply

  7. He’s a smart one that Arthur.

    Nothin’ gets past him it seems!

    Comment by kimmyk | June 1, 2006 | Reply

  8. I couldn’t help but laugh at this story! Too funny!

    And, you are so smart about being the goalie. Excellent! Yet another thing I’ve learned, thank you.

    Comment by Mamacita Tina | June 2, 2006 | Reply

  9. I am SOOO going to be the goalie the next chance I get. 😉

    Arthur must have his own special planet where others who share his thinking gather. It certainly is creative!

    Comment by Lady M | June 2, 2006 | Reply

  10. Goalie, or the person who pushes the swing: the best park jobs.

    Comment by L. | June 2, 2006 | Reply

  11. oh dear, all fun until someone actually gets the ball near the goal and hits the post! I was one of those lower-energy kids too, preferring to read than run around. My mom used to turf me outside and lock the door so I’d at least breathe fresh air, if not run.

    And um – a nice sturdy umbrella? It might not be ALL Mary Poppins, but…

    Comment by kittenpie | June 2, 2006 | Reply

  12. MsS: I think he may have, indeed. It wasn’t so bad, really, once I reminded him that GOALPOSTS CAN’T TALK! Bwah-ha.

    MMJE: It made me laugh. And you know what? I did let him be the goalpost. He’s not what you’d call an athletic kid, and he’d done a reasonable amount of running around by then.

    Angela: “Crazy, or just Arthur?” The answer is “Yes”. Me, I see those words as largely synonymous. 🙂

    Granny: LMAO Thank you for my laugh of the day.

    Kristen: That notion of less chattering opportunities when everyone else is running has a lot of merit, I think. Whereas, standing still by me? Well, he can just talk and talk and talk and talk! Who wouldn’t want to do that?

    Twoboysmom: Arthur is one of a kind, all right. Everybody is, of course, but Arthur is MORE one of a kind than most!

    KImmyk: He doesn’t let go of an idea, that’s for sure…

    MamacitaTina: That goalie idea started based in sheerest laziness; then in pragmatism (I have less energy than they do); and then I saw the child-control techniqes inherent in being there in the goal. So, out of nothing more than laziness, I’ve spun a clever child-management strategy. I’m so proud.

    LadyM: Arthur lives in his own little world, that’s for sure.

    L: When I had only my own children to tend to, I sometimes used to read a book while pushing the swing. Because I am an addict. This earned me disapproving looks from the Earnest Mommies in the park, diligently enriching their children by sharing the experience and bathing them in language, but if I dug my nose further into the book, I couldn’t see them anyway. Nyah, nyah.

    Kittenpie: My mom used to send me outside with my book… She may also have locked the door. There were three of us in three years. She’d earned her break!

    And yes, I do carry a very traditionally shaped umbrella with the hook handle and the metal (brass?) tip. The wooden handle has a lizard (gecko?) burned into i. I think the original Mary P might find the pattern of brown fall leaves a bit frivolous, however. Nonetheless, I love it. Now I just need the flat-crowned black hat and carpet bag, no?

    Comment by Mary P. | June 3, 2006 | Reply

  13. Now that’s creative, I like it!–>

    Comment by chosha | June 4, 2006 | Reply

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