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Yippee! Little league season is here!

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Baseball blues: (Is it over yet?)

I am packing a survival kit in the back of my car this weekend. There will be blankets and bottles of water and bug spray and sunscreen and snacks. There will be a pack of cards and other things to entertain kids. There will be a first-aid kit. What might I need to survive? Little league baseball season.

Baseball blues: (Is it over yet?)The days are getting longer and the afternoons warmer. The setting sun casts a warm glow on the kids running the bases and trying to master catching fly balls and grounders. It's a beautiful scene from a rise at the baseball fields, sitting on a picnic blanket with another fleece blanket covering my legs.

The idyll is broken with the voice of a young girl in need of a toilet and not a port-a-potty in sight. And when can we go home, Mommy, the bugs are bugging me! Then the phone rings and it's my husband. Where am I supposed to go today? Who's game is where? Was I supposed to get some take-out?

Organized insanity called exercise

Alfs and Woody start little league baseball this week so I will be at a baseball field two to four nights a week from here on in. They are in different leagues with games that play on different fields on opposite ends of town. The weeks that we are out two nights a week mean that they are playing at the same time on those different fields. How do I choose which game to go to, much less get them both to their games at the right time (which is usually the same time)? The weeks that we are out four nights mean only one is playing each evening, but also that we're never home in the evening and how am I supposed to get everyone fed, much less homework done, bathed and to bed at a reasonable hour?

If the boys didn't absolutely love baseball, I wouldn't do it. As much as I love that they love it, it's a crazy time and it's exhausting. It's hard to keep up the pace, especially with other end of the school year activities and events. While I appreciate having weekends free from games – mostly - this is almost too much.

I know other families in town who have it much worse. One family has four boys in three leagues, each of which play in a different area of town, at the same time. Wow.
{headiline}Making a routine out of no routine at allI've developed something of a system that helps a little:

First I have my survival kit in the back of the car. In addition to the fleece blankets and such, I have a couple folding beach chairs and a picnic blanket.

I keep a notebook for making lists and organize the moments when I am home. I really have to maximize those moment.

I reduce my meal planning to extremely portable meals, or fast cooking items I can partially prepare in advance. Sandwiches (panini), quesadillas, chicken salads, wraps, or combinations thereof. There is nothing fancy this time of year.

I bring Sunshine's pink glove and pink ball and pink bat, and my own glove. I play "baseball" with Sunshine to keep her happy and pass the time between my kids' turns at bat. At this rate, she's going to be a better player than either of her big brothers.

I have a hard stop for the kids, and I talk to their coaches about this at the start of the season. The games are supposed to be done by 7:30 at the latest, but some coaches have been known to, uh, stretch that, especially in Alfs league. They forget that many of the kids have younger siblings. At any rate, we leave at 7:45, at the very latest.

I give in to the whole thing. Well, mostly. It's only six and a half weeks, and then things are back to normal.

Until summer baseball begins, that is.

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