Our Adventures at Skating
So skating started at the beginning of the month and while it’s been somewhat hit-and-miss so far for Baby, it’s been a huge success for the Boy, at least compared to last year. I think he remembers that by the end of the season last year he really loved skating lessons and skating in general, so when lessons started this time around he was absolutely gung-ho to get going, get on the ice and get skating. He’s doing great so far too. Which when I think back to this time last year, is a huge load off my shoulders.
At least until I turn my attention to Baby.
She really wanted to skate this year. After watching her big brother and sister doing all of their ‘stuff’ last season, she really just wanted to be a part of the action (resulting in her registration in both gymnastics and skating). She was all for it when we were buying helmets and trying to find skates, trying on skates and getting ready for the season. Then we got there and started putting everything on, and sort of like what happened with the Boy last year, she suddenly just wasn’t sure that she really wanted to do it. A horrible time to suddenly change her mind, because by this point we’ve already spent the money on equipment and registration fees, and it places both the Husband (who was home for the first day) and I in that awkward position of either being the ‘mean parents’ who have to force her to get on the ice regardless of what she wants, or accepting her change of mood and giving her an out.
The Boy did the same thing, to various and differing degrees (just in comparison to himself) from week to week during his whole first season (when he was 3-years-old) and for the first month and a half of the season last year. During that first season he was all over the place in regards to whether he wanted to be there, be skating or whatever. One week he’d happily go out on the ice, try for a few minutes and then sit with the bucket of toys and play for the rest of the 45-minute session. The next week he wouldn’t even make any attempt to try and do anything and would only sit on the ice and cry until the instructors would carry him off. Eventually they did manage to motivate him to some effort but that first season was questionably a write off as far as actually learning how to skate was concerned.
Last year for the first 6 weeks the Boy would grudgingly put his skates, helmet and other gear on, then he’d have a complete meltdown and temper tantrum, refusing to get on the ice, go near the ice or even do more than watch the ice being flooded before and after the sessions. It was painful, for me and the Husband, and truth be told there were a couple days when I was nearly in tears – of frustration, anger, embarrassment… you name it. Then, miraculously, one day we got his gear on and he just nervously wandered out on to the ice. (Of course this was right about the time we started considering whether we should just pull him from the program and try to get some of our money back, and when we’d finally stopped trying to constantly convince him that he really did want to skate.)
Now I’m sure you’re wondering, what was the lesson that I learned over the last two years with the Boy? If the initial interest to do something is there, (whether it’s skating lessons, gymnastics, dancing, piano, horseback riding, or whatever) sometimes it’s just going to take time for them to be ready to actually try. All we can do as parents is give them time. It’s frustrating, and can be annoying, but the more you try to convince them to do it, the more you push, or bribe, or fight about it, the harder it’ll be for them to make up their mind. And as I’ve come to learn with the Princess - if it’s not something that they really, truly want to do and if it’s not something that they’re even remotely enjoying, they’re not going to do it. No matter how much you want them to or how much money you’ve spent so that they could.
We spent less 5 minutes convincing the Baby to try out the ice during the first lesson. She lasted 30 minutes on the ice and she actually managed to do okay. (See the pictures below.) The day of her second lesson, she’d already dug her heels in hours before the actual lesson time, and told me that she wasn’t going to skate that day. I just told that she didn’t she didn’t have to go on the ice if she didn’t want to, that she could just sit with me and watch but that she was going to wear her skates, helmet and other gear while she did it. I asked her 4 or 5 times during the minutes leading up to the lesson time and for the first few minutes of the lesson if she was sure that she just wanted to watch, each time she told me that she just didn’t want to skate that day. I didn’t pester her overly much, or try and force her on the ice at all, though the Princess (who was able to be there that day because there was no school) bugged her about it a bit. And would you believe that about half way through the lesson time, she decided that she’d go out and try after all? She mostly went out and played with the toys that the instructors had out on the ice, but she decided to go out there all on her own. And I experienced barely any stress over the matter, which is also a major bonus!
The Boy was happy to just get out there and go!
While the Baby started her lesson this way -->
Things progressed more or less like this...
And for Baby ended like this.