Thursday, 15 November 2012

Lacing up

Every winter, my husband and I resolve that we will get out skating with our children more often.  After all, he plays hockey and I used to play ringette, so skating comes naturally to us.  Plus, it's been ingrained in our collective psyches that in order to be a true Canadian one must know how to skate (usually by the time one hits the ripe old age of three). 

I remember our first time skating with Nicholas (when he was three, wouldn't you know).  He couldn't stand on his skates and we wondered how to help him learn.  We brought out my brother, who used to teach skating, for his help, but didn't get much further.  We registered Nicholas in skating lessons, and most of the time he sat on the ice and played in the snow created by the other skaters.  Eventually (likely after much parental harassment), he learned how to stay standing and eventually move forwards and backwards.  But he still didn't put in much of an effort.

Tragically, we didn't learn the lesson about following our child's lead and enrolled Jaelyn in skating (again, likely the winter after her third birthday).  There was something about her that made us feel she would get the hang of it and by flying around before we knew it.  And she did.  She didn't fall often, she could keep her balance, and she moved during the first lesson.  By then though, we were getting the vibe that our method for instilling a love of skating wasn't working. 

I've sensed a slight change in my children's desire to skate.  Perhaps because they've seen their father play hockey recently.  Perhaps the prospect of a shiny new pair of skates and cut-to-size hockey stick was alluring.  Anyway, their piqued interest happens to correspond to skates organized by one of the local homeschooling co-ops.

These skates are awesome and fit the interests of my children.  The group divides the ice in half - one half for simply skating and the other half for hockey.  My son is exciting to go to the rink each week so he can play hockey in a low-stress, low-competition, high-fun environment.  Jaelyn would love to play too, but acknowledges she needs to get a little stronger at her skating before she can join the bigger ones.  So she is happy to skate around with me.  When the hockey game winds up, she has the option to bring out her stick so we can practice skating with it, passing and shooting.

And what to do with that littlest one of mine?  Well, I was fortunate that her grandpa wanted some quiet time last week and agreed to come over and babysit her while she napped.  This week our skate time was in the morning, so I packed up some "skates" for her.  They are basically little sleds with 2 runners that are strapped on to her boots.  I thought they would be easy to walk around on, and they long as she wasn't on the ice.  She did love to be carried around the ice, though I was a little nervous about the prospect.  And she did love to investigate all the little nooks and crannies in the rink (her first stop was the penalty box - ha ha!)

But the past did come rushing back to me and I had a little ah-ha moment.  How absurd of me to think she could skate when walking around on snow is still a new experience!  Yes, she can love hockey if she wants to.  Yes, she can play shinny with the others if her heart so desires.  But skating will be on hold for a bit. 

Nicholas is the one with the red sweater with white stripes

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