I took the children to a Major League Baseball game over the weekend. It was the realization of a dream I’ve long had–my children watching our hometown team kick some Los Angeles culo in person. How sweet it is!
Did I say sweet? I meant sweaty. And labor intensive. It all started four minutes into the thirty minute drive to the ballpark. Four year old boy twin Kyle fell asleep–hours before his usual nap time. The girls fought in the van the whole way there. We finally arrived to the ballpark district and found that one hour before game time is decidedly not early enough for a family with kids and wheelchairs. But we pressed on. We navigated our way from the parking lot to the ballpark–that is, until Kyle’s power wheelchair inexplicably and abruptly came to a halt. In a surging crowd of a hundred baseball fans. On railroad tracks. To the public’s credit, two families stopped and offered to help us–but since none of them seemed to be technical experts on Permobil products, all they could do was keep the crowd flowing around each side of us and make sure my girls didn’t wander off. Eh, it’s okay–I’ve faced more frustrating circumstances in my life. This is simply a wheelchair that won’t move forward. I got this! I disengaged the electric so that I could simply push it off the railroad tracks and off to the side until I could troubleshoot the cryptic error message flashing on his display. Except it turns out that my six minutes a day Shake Weight routine may NOT be working because I lacked the upper body strength to manually push this 350lb chair over railroad tracks in a crowd of dozens of people in extreme heat.
Eventually we made safely it to our outfield seats. I eventually got the girls settled with popcorn and cotton candy and then. And THEN. I snuggled next to my boy, and we watched some baseball. I helped fit his glove onto his hand when our team was on the field. I helped position his little bat when our team was batting. I taught him the chants. He learned the clapping rhythms. I think the girls noticed that there was a ball game (sometimes they cheered and clapped), but for the most part they fought over cotton candy and told terrible knock-knock jokes to each other. Kyle called foul balls and “stee-rike three, you’re out!”. We even witnessed a home run.
Eventually I gave in and agreed to buy the girls popcorn, only for them to break down into hysterical tears when the vendor didn’t notice our money in the air and he walked away (he came back later). But Kyle, that kid was too excited to watch a ball game to eat. No chance he was going to put down his bat or glove in order to put food into his mouth.
That night at bedtime, I asked each of my three children, separately, what was their favorite part about going to the baseball game:
Kyle–“The batting. And the pitching.” Aww!
Lauren–“The cotton candy.” Unsurprising.
Jenna–“I don’t have a favorite part because I didn’t even want to go but you made me.” Hmm.
Our experience at the ball game served as such an expression of my kids’ differences. The boy loves sports and loves baseball and is the purest type of fan. His twin sister was just along for the ride–and the sugar. And his big sister would rather have been home watching Wizards of Waverly Place reruns.
My family–perpetuating gender stereotypes since 2004!