if you hadn't already guessed, we are very serious about soccer around here. very. in the backyard, tovi set up a soccer goal for cruz and a blue "x" on the ground so that he can practice his free kicks (watch him in action here). cruz oh so carefully sets the ball up on the x, winds up with his left foot (always the left foot-- this kid's gonna be a star), and kicks a goal. he's surprisingly accurate, which is lucky for us because he's also a perfectionist. if he doesn't score, the tears come pretty fast and furious. i don't like to fail either, so i understand. but cruz is a better person than me, and he keeps fighting through the tears and the slump and keeps on playing. that's just the meaty stuff of parenting right there-- encouraging him to press on in the face of defeat when all i want to do is make it easier for him. i want to prevent those tears at all costs, and yet, tovi was wise to put the x back far enough that it would be a challenge. i am so glad that we're parenting this kid together.