The magic of the older sibling

Sometimes I’m struck by the wonder of my kids playing together. Nica enjoys her little brother’s company and will try to include him in her games. I especially love it when she invites him to participate in her pretend games.




I think how lucky Ham is for having such a great older sister. What an advantage he has—someone who looks after him and opens up worlds for him.




Yes, it’s a thing of beauty.

Soccer Girls


Nica is doing kindergarten soccer. To help her understand how the game is played, we got her Soccer Girls, which is kind of like army men for sports.


Pack o' girls

You can also get Baseball GuysHockey Guys, etc.


I love the concept of this toy; it’s a great way to teach your kid the basics of a sport and how teammates are supposed to help each other on the field.

One thing I don’t like is that the “field” the set comes with (a felt mat) is too small for the size of the players. It makes for a ridiculously crowded game. Archie solved this problem by drawing the soccer field on a giant sheet of paper.


White turf



Another thing I find irksome is that one player on each team comes with a ball already attached to her foot. And then there’s another ball that comes with the kit, which is gigantic.


Ball on steroids

This ball is size 3. This other one is size 79.


Nica has a lot of fun playing with this kit, especially with her dad, and a bit of what Archie is trying to teach her might be sinking in. But does she apply this on game day? Er, no. At least, not yet.


What you do see on game day:


En-masse running reminiscent of a herd of confused bison.





A lot of hanging off the goal frame.


They put aside their differences to hang together.



One kid who seems to be playing good D—finally!— but is really just tired or lazy.





No goalies are allowed in our games, but there is always at least one kid who is thinking, Hey, if someone stands here, maybe we won’t get scored on so much!





One kid who is really just there for the snack.


She smells Goldfish.