Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ball in the hall

“No hopping on Mommie’s head!” I said. Caroline obediently moved to my ribs and started jumping again, “Wake up, wake up!”

So much for nap time, my try to lull C into sleep with contagious snores clearly wouldn’t work that day, so I sat up. I went the lazy way first – “Go get a book, and let’s read.” But: “No book no book!”
Drawing? No.
Ball in the hall? No.

“Are you sure? Ball in the hall C, with buckets.”
      “Oh-kay,” she cracked in her teenage toddler voice.

Caroline set up the buckets herself, two small pails that travel with her every day to the playground to help out on sand pit excavations. I grabbed three balls and we lined ourselves up in the kitchen hallway. If a ball even hit a bucket, it was a score; a ball bouncing into a bucket, cause for a Caroline toss to the ceiling celebration.

By the time the game petered out, I’d taught her to roll the ball rather than throw it and she’d hit the buckets twice to much excitement. She loved running down the hall to fetch the balls and then running back to try again, running with her baby legs kicking out in front and sideways as she went. My kick came from watching C begin to understand that we could use the rules of the game to make playing a challenge, and fun too. For once she took turns and shared out the balls. And she knew to step away from the buckets, far enough away that she just might miss, and it didn't bother her to roll once and again and then run to pick everything up and try once more, because in the end it was about the doing it and not the winning that we liked, when we played ball in the hall.

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