Field Day

Last Friday was V’s Field Day (Sports Day) and he was so excited to go to school in the morning.

His class had practised the skills needed in each of the five races. There was an obstacle course, a carry the beanbag on a bat race, wet the sponge, run with the sponge, squeeze the sponge and run back with the sponge race, a sack race and a couple of others.

V knew that LagosDad and I were going to watch him take part. And he had been talking about healthy eating and running fast all week – so he was all set.

On Friday morning we dropped him off at his classroom and made our way out to the field. When his class came out, he was ok. Refusing to wear his hat, but ok. I think it was a few minutes later when he had a chance to look around that everything changed.

Yes, they had practised. But he didn’t know that they would be doing Field Day with four other classes. He didn’t realise that there would be other parents (apart from us) there and none of us knew there would be very loud music in the background.

Once they started, parents started moving from the viewing area next to where the races were taking place so they could cheer on their children. LagosDad didn’t know if we should or not. On one hand, V was likely to play up if we were too close. And on the other hand, he might feel bad that all the other parents were there cheering on their kids and his were just plonked on the bleachers.

As soon as he did his first race (the beanbag on the bat one) we knew the rest of the morning was going to be a disaster. The other children understood that they had to run, that they had to get back to their line as fast as possible. V walked. Slowly. His beanbag slid off the bat as soon as he started moving. He didn’t stop to pick it up. He kept walking. LagosDad and I shook our heads in resignation.

The second race was an obstacle course. We decided to cheer him on from next to where the race was.

And that is how enthusiastic he was.

After that race, all the kids went back to their area to have a rest. And LagosDad and I went back to the parents’ area. Next thing I know, a teacher comes to get me because V is crying. I went over to him to see what was wrong, but he was sobbing away and couldn’t talk. All I could make out from his hand gestures is that he wanted me to sit with him. And then hold his hand while walking to the next race. And hold his hand DURING the race. WTF? Not LagosDad. Me.

So for the next three races, I held his hand and tried to guide him through whatever he was meant to do. And he was extremely unenthusiastic about all of them. I was irritated with him. None of the other kids were crying to hold their mum’s hands. None of the others were refusing to participate. He was letting his team down. Luckily none of them saw it like that – it really was all just for fun. No one was keeping score (thank goodness).

Just look at his face!

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I don’t think I was much better during my Field Days though.

So once it was all over, we were free to take our kids home. I asked V if he wanted to come home or stay in school for another hour (ridiculous to ask him when we all know what the answer is!). His face lit up. He collected his bag from the classroom and he was immediately a different child.

He was animated and chatty. LagosDad looked at me with a WTF expression on his face. I could only shrug.

On the way home, I attempted to bring up the drama of earlier that day. ‘V, why did you cry? Why didn’t you want to do Field Day?’ His reply? ‘Because of you.’

What does that mean, because of me? Does it mean he will always play up when I’m there? Does it mean that I’m not supportive enough? Does it mean he doesn’t want me there? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

I told him that if he’s going to cry ‘because of me’ and not participate ‘because of me’, then I wouldn’t go to school for any more events. He said ok.

I don’t understand. Does he not want me there? Won’t he feel sad if he sees that his friends’ parents are there, but not his? Doesn’t he realise that we love him and want to experience these things with him (stupid question – he’s only 4)?

Maybe next year will be different? Perhaps I will go in disguise…