Last Friday night Annabelle began her very first season as a Pop Warner Cheerleader. So very exciting. She is practically jumping out of her skin. We started with the orientation meeting on Friday eve, located in the very "vintage" Angelo's Pizza in Camas. Yes, cheer meeting in a pizza parlor. Does it get any better? At the meeting the very direct league director went over all of the rules, from no earrings, no nail polish, what kind of shoes they needed and where to buy them, to how many laps the girls would be running if they were late to practice. She also mentioned their 1st fund raiser, a cheer camp the very next day, from 9am - 2pm @ the local middle school. Cost was $50 and the girls were going to be working hard, learning a dance routine and 3 important cheers. Belle was practically drooling. "I can go right mom?" I told her I needed to check with her dad, but probably. Apparently these Pop Warner people take this stuff quite seriously, because the director lady and her assistant director lady informed us that the district competition was on the Friday following Thanksgiving, and that check in was on Thanksgiving itself. I nearly choked on my full calorie Pepsi (diet isn't offered at Angelo's). What??? On Thanksgiving? My heart started racing. Who does this? Don't these people have family values? Don't they realize what this means? What kind of example would I be setting for Annabelle if I let her think that some sporting event is going to bump Black Friday shopping? One of the other mom's must've felt the same way because she quickly asked if it were for all the girls. "Not the Tiny Mites & Mighty Mites, just the older girls," the director responded. "But be prepared for it if you want your daughter to continue to cheer as she ages into the older teams" piped up her assistant. Whew! Crisis adverted.
The next morning Annabelle has no trouble getting herself out of bed on time. Sturdy shoes, check. Water bottle, check. Sack lunch, check. Sunscreen, crap. No sunscreen. Oh well, she has some sort of Hispanic heritage, and they rarely get skin cancer, right? Bad mom. She reminds me that we need to buy her the cheer shoes the coaches requested from Walmart. "We will B, I promise" I told her. We were in the car and thankfully on time for once. I mentally applaud myself for taking the extra time after last night's meeting to find and locate the middle school the camp and practices are held at so that we wouldn't be late. We pull into the middle school and make the trek up the hill to the field everyone is gathering at. She turns in the registration form they gave us last night at the pizza parlor and seems to be fine. "Just go mom," she says. "Really?" I respond "there doesn't seem to be very many girls here yet, and I don't even know who your coach is." "It's fine, I will figure it out, I'm brave" she says. Ok, I think. I give her a hug and a kiss and tell her to have fun and start the long walk back to the car with my heart in my throat. She looks so tiny standing there all alone. All the crazy thoughts start to run thru my head of abducted children and how on earth I would handle that, I silent them and instead begin to worry about whether or not she will make friends or have to eat her lunch by herself and etc. I make it to the car, where my thoughts are drowned out by the audio from Mulan II that I failed to turn off even though there were no kids in the car.
Greg, myself and the crew make it back @ 2pm to see the girls perform the dance routine. It was adorable. She survived, LOVED it and is completely hooked. She can't wait for practice on Monday.
Sunday eve I get an email from the coach introducing herself, and reminding us that practice is on Monday @ 5:30. Crap! They said 6:00 at the pizza parlor. I promise myself to leave work right @ 4pm to make it back to Washougal, grab the girl and make it to practice on time. I am super relieved to get another email the next morning stating that practice is indeed at 6pm. After a quick stop for Starbucks, AB & I make it to the field only a couple of minutes late. We trek up the hill to the track where camp was held and where the director said practice would be only to discover that the cheerleaders are no where to be found. Only tiny little footballers, so stinking cute in their tiny little football pads, and cute little football pants. Maybe Greg will let us have one more, so we can have a boy. I wonder how much in vitro is now a days? Our luck he would come out and top out about 5'7", right? "Mom! They are way down there," #1 proclaims. Back to reality. I follow her finger to the field at the opposite end of the school and we march towards the crowd dressed primarily in pink. "Run B, just run over and I will catch up with you. Don't run in front of the football players." I grab my handbag, folding chair, AB's water bottle, and of course my coffee and start the trek after her.
We make it to the right spot, and the coach welcomes her. "Over here Annabelle, come stand in line with your team." Sweet. No room or reason to be shy. I really hope that some of these girls are in her class or at least school when she starts. A gal that looks to be about 16 comes out and starts showing the girls what stretches to do. AB looks adorable, and klutzy. So cute. I can't really hear what they are saying, but the fact that the entire gaggle of them are all lined up and following along with the stretches is amazing. The assistant director comes out and starts calling off names. She must be splitting them up into their appropriate ages groups. "McKenzie, Abigail, Shelby, Annabelle" she yells. She continues with about 5 other names, until all the mentioned girls are standing and awaiting the next direction. "All of you have not turned in your physical from your Dr, so you will not be participating." WTF? Physical? No one said anything about a physical. OK, well maybe they did. But that was back in like April, when we signed up. Nothing about when it was due. One of the mom's of the other mortified girls is speaking up. She says they will just go home, no need to sit here for 2 hours if they can't practice. "No," the assistant director states, "they need to stay and watch. They are learning 4 cheers today that they will need to know for tomorrow." Annabelle looks over at me with watery eyes and mouths "Mom?" Crap. I hoist myself out of my chair to move in closer and be able to hear the details.
Apparently the black listed girls can't be on the field with the other girls, but can sit to the side. "What difference does it make?" I ask the Asst Director. She spins her head quickly to see who dares question her authority. "It's a liability issue." She snaps. "They can't practice." "Well how come no one happened to mention this on Friday at orientation, or at camp?" I respond. "And how come she was able to go to camp? How come you were able to take her $50, and let her practice for FIVE hours?" "That's a fundraiser," she says. I tell myself not to over react and then I am reminded not to embarrass my kid when she starts tugging on my shirt. Ok, fine. Whatever lady. Clearly you don't have a heart, or kids, judging from your size 2 leggings and the ability to keep your nails filled and roots maintained on a timely basis. Obviously you don't work and this is your only chance to assert your authority. You can have this one. Karma is a wonderful thing.
I take a deep breath, prepare myself to concede when she says "Are we clear? Can we move on? The girls who have their act together shouldn't have to suffer because your daughters don't."
BITCH! The word was almost out of my mouth, before I saw the group of 20 5-8 yr olds watching intently. This isn't a big deal I tell myself. It's just cheer leading. For a 6 yr old. My rage subsides into guilt when I hear Annabelle say she doesn't feel good. Which is just code for humiliation. "It's fine," I say to the shrew. "We will have it tomorrow." I instantly start to run through the handful of girlfriends who might bail me out of jail when it comes to light that I forged the signature of a medical professional in order to get it turned in by tomorrow afternoon. Crap.
I squat down to talk to my daughter, while the group of other rejects sit and watch us, their moms standing back a few feet. "Listen baby, don't freak out. We will turn it in tomorrow, and everything will be fine. Honestly, it's a bullshit rule. What difference does it make if you practice over here, or over there, 10 feet away? If something happened to you mommy is here to take you to the hospital or Dr right away, it makes no difference if you have the dumb form or not. She's just being a bitch."
"Moooooooom, don't say that. I like her. She is really pretty." Of course she does. Dang. Mama - 0, The Bitch - 1.
"Of course you do, I like her too," I back pedal.
"What are we going to do?" she moans. "I can't remember 4 cheers."
"Don't worry about it" I say, " We can learn them." Her eyes are huge, panicked at the thought that I might do something else to mortify her, as I stand up.
So we stood there, for 2 hours and practiced, 10 feet away from the "girls who had their acts together". I bent my chubby self into positions that my body hadn't seen in years, and copied the coach, constant glares from the asst director and all. I smugly noted to myself that she clearly didn't have children when she brought out her perfectly organized binder when she said to the girls "keep those arms straight ladies. Don't think I can't see you. I have 5 kids, I see everything." Fudge. Of course she does. She probably stays at home and home schools them, and works graveyard and then makes it home in time to have sex with her husband. Every day. I hate my life, seriously.
We wrap up practice and head home, luckily Greg has answered my furious texts and has figured out that hopefully we can just fax the golden form to Dr to fill out vs trying to schedule a same day appt and make it to work and to practice again the following evening. AB is tired, and quiet. I congratulate myself on making sure she still at least knows the cheers and won't be way behind for tomorrow's practice. If she can practice, please Dear God let me find a way to get the damn form completed. Oh well, even if we can't, we can still go and do the same thing again, right?
I let her stay up later then usually, watching a dvr'd Big Brother with Daddy. At about 10:30, I tell her it's time for bed, she needs rest and energy for tomorrow. "Ok," she says. "You are going to get my physical done, right mom?" "Of course, Belle. It's really no big deal, " I muster. I start mentally running through my list of potential bailer outers again. "Good," she says. "I am so excited to practice with the other girls. And I really want the coach to like me, she is so nice!" Really? "I am glad, sweetie. She seems really nice to me too," I mumble. Crap.
Mama-0, The Bitch-2.