There. It’s true. I am a tee-ball mom.
I didn’t really know what that meant, except we went from weekly commitments for our activities to bi-weekly meet-ups… and suggested practice at home. All totally fine with me! I whipped out my half-torn baseball mitt, gently oiled the leather, slamming a ball into my palm a few hundred times and got pretty psyched about it all.
My girl was on her way to showing off her first jersey. First team sport. We were becoming a part of a new circle of parents, relegated to late night Monday practices, and Hot-as-Hades Saturday morning games. Dinner time? No way that would stop us. Nap time? Forget about it! We are tee-ball parents.
But… what did that mean? I was told not to worry about a helmet (which can be hard when your child has a keppe a bit larger than the rest) or a bat… but who I am to be told not to worry? I was riddled with what-ifs and trying to be as prepared as possible… without letting on to Addie that this was a huge thing.
Filtering through helmets at our first practice, I found one that worked for her (thankfully there were 5 to choose from!). And we’d gotten her a bat already. So… no worries. With our preparation, we were well on our way. So… what did we need?
- A glove. This is a total no-brainer, but finding the right glove is key. Addie really wanted a glove that had pink in it (is she mine, I wondered)… but I was more focused on finding a smaller glove that would help her gain control. As her hand strength is still a bit below average, a smaller glove gives her less leather to squeeze- important when catching. It’s all about holding onto that ball!
- A water bottle. Seriously… I once forgot her water bottle and it was all, mom, can I have some of your water. AKA: can I backwash into your water for the next hour? I always remember to pack a water… but in the world of BPA free, good for you, the right thing your child is supposed to have, there are only so many designs out there. This means some replicating of drinking receptacles. The tee-ball field is full of discarded bottles, but we like to reuse, and as many parents do, this means finding the cup your kids likes best– which is, somehow, the same as another kid. For this, I use my favorite Minted labels. I actually had them made up- totally altering their design- with the help of Addie, and have put them on everything. (That means less arguing between sisters, too!) For our water bottles, they rock because they are dishwasher safe, meaning no peeling or fading when they go through day-after-day, but we always come home with our own stuff. Thank goodness, because Hell hath no fury like a four year old missing her favorite water bottle.
- A bat. Sure, there are plenty at the game, but how does one practice without a bat at home? The answer: they don’t. So… we got a bat. The ONE ounce difference in bats is totally noticeable, though I was shocked at that, and the price means PUT YOUR NAME ON IT!!! Don’t make this mistake, even once. Putting your mark on what is yours means no one can walk off with what you know is yours. Sure, it sounds petty… until you realize a cheap bat is $10… take an ounce away and you can tack on $40 to that! Adding labels that will hold up to the wear and tear of a few hundred hits, grass stains, and even a preschooler trying to pick it off is an invaluable security. I promise you that!
- A helmet. If you’re invested in the game, grab a helmet of your own- this will totally decrease the time you spend trying to figure out which helmet fits best and waiting for another runner to come in to then get that exact helmet. Having your own helmet also means that at-home practices are more “game-like”. For Addie, tee-ball and having to wear a helmet are both quite new. We just recently came up with the right bike/pedal block combination for her to try, so she’s just getting used to the idea of wearing a helmet.
- Love. You have to love your child (duh!), and the sport, or at least the lessons. Your babe is out there learning how to work with a team, listen to another adult, understanding new rules, memorizing plays and getting to know a whole new set of friends. The time commitment involved with any team sport, at any level, takes the love of a parent (or caregiver) whole-heartedly. There will be rain, wind, cold, oppressive heat and everything [not] imaginable in-between. The best we can all do is pack our love up and watch the first steps of our kids exploring the world of teamwork in tee-ball. And it is magical… I promise you that.
What did you find you needed most when your kids started sports or school? Be sure to check out these for anyone with food allergies, too! Helps keep your child safe and their allergies well known- always important in new situations!