Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ice Skating, less than smooth

I am a sucker for Christmas. I love the holiday and will begin decorating on December 1st. I will leave our house lights on until we are the last house on the block. So as the holiday approached I starting tivoing all the family Christmas movies and specials I could find. A few of my favorite were the Charlie Brown specials, The Santa Clause, The Santa Clause 2, and Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. The kids really took a liking to Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. My daughter epsecially liked the ice skating short with Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse. Later that month Grandma purchased Lainy Ann 2 new stuffed animals; ice skating Minnie and ice skating Daisy. She slept with them for weeks and carried them everywhere.

So as we started our drive north for Christmas, the car laden with Santa gifts, my daughter announces, "Santa Clause is bringing me pink ice skates." My initial reaction was 'Oh No! Santa is NOT bringing her a pink ice skates. She is getting the bike that she has been talking about for 6 months.' But I responded with the first lesson in gift giving and receiving, 'we don't get everything we want. Santa spends a lot of time thinking about what to get the children and gets them gifts appropriate for them.'

So the last month has been spent with talks of ice skating. "I know", Lainy Ann will announce, "let's go ice skating today." or "Thanks for the hat and scarf Grandma. I can wear it ice skating." and the phrase I heard most often "When can we go ice skating? Its my favorite." Well its definitely not my favorite. Its cold. That alone is enough reason for me to hate the sport. But I knew the talk wouldn't end until we took her ice skating. I was anxious to do it soon before she grew out of her cold-weather clothes.

On the appointed day I told my husband it was time to get ready because we need a few hours to skate. He laughed at me. I was crushed. He explained that we did would not be skating for a few hours. It would most likely be a short-lived experiement. Once he explained it that way it made more sense, but I wanted Lainy Ann to have a chance to skate as much as she wanted.

I spent the morning finding sweaters, turtlenecks, mittens, hats, blankets for the baby and don't forget the helmet (thanks, Aunt Lainy). On our drive to the ice skating rink my husband and I fretted that she may actually like ice skating or even be good at it. We want to encourage our children to have hobbies and sports, maybe even be really good at something. But the idea of spending thousands of dollars on private ice skating lessons, hours in a cold rink and rising before 5 am for practice before school was not appealing to either of us. We arrived at the Pasadena Ice Skating Center with only 45 minutes left in the open-skate session. The man thought I was crazy to arrive so late. I assured him that it was fine and he charged us $7 each, no child's rate was available. We also had to spend $7 on parking.

We strapped on Lainy Ann's skates. That alone was quite time consuming; finding the right size, fitting them just right. Then I put on my skates. I tried to remember the last time that I skated and I couldn't. It had to have been 10 years and I remember not liking it that much then. So, my daughter and I walk, if you can call it that, precariously on our skates to the ice. I am desperately trying not to fall over and even more desperately trying not to hold onto her and steady myself. As I get to the ice I hold her hand and encourage her to step on. I realize that standing behind her is not close enough to keep her from falling. So I decide to step onto the ice and realize why she is so reluctant. Its slippery!!! I decide that I need to get my 'ice-legs'. I skate around a bit trying not to look stupid next to all the professional skaters in their shimmery skirts and ice skate cozies and make sure I don't land on my butt.

Daddy lifts Lainy Ann and sets her onto the ice. Four-feet from the door and one minute later she declares she is done. Its too slippery and she is afraid she is going to fall. She is clinging to the wall and I am clinging to her wrist under the guise of helping her. At one point she falls to her knees. Well, it was more of an easing down to the knees as her legs scissored apart - not a hard fall at all. She begins bawling, "I don't want to ice skate. I don't like it." And she turns around to go back out the door we came in. Daddy suggests that she should at least go to the other door, less than halfway around the rink. I certainly didn't want to continue ice skating; my feet hurt, I wasn't too sure-footed and I was cold, but I felt it was important that she give it a good try.

I half-drag her around to the other door, stopping every few feet for encouragement and to dry some tears. Once daddy was within earshot he began with "I'm so proud of you, Lainy Ann." "Good job." Near the end she was managing not to fall so much.

As we left she started chattering on about how she didn't like ice skating, but she was glad she tried and maybe she can try again when she is 5, or 7, or 10 years old.

So, for $21 we skated for less than 10 minutes, spent 30 minutes getting our skates on and off and using the bathroom, 45 minutes driving to and from, and another hour getting ready this morning. But next time she sees some famous ice skater in her shimmery outfit I will remind her that its cold and takes a lot of practice that maybe we should try again when she is 5 or 7 or 10.

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