Monday, January 18, 2010

Lessons on the Ice

I've never been that mom before.

The one whose kid is crying incessantly in the middle of an activity and wants to get out of there, immediately.

I've often said that it suits me better to have a child that tends to be a bit adventurous as opposed to one that is timid. I'm used to my child jumping as high and as far as possible into the chilly pool for swim lessons. I'm used to having the child that is running so fast during soccer that he unintentionally throws himself into a forward somersault and laughs about it. I roll my eyes and shake my head when a beam of light shoots down the hallway after bedtime and Aidan is hanging precariously off the top bunk so he could edge his pinky toe over to the light switch with no other purpose than to annoy his mother. He had stitches before he turned two, we can imitate a circus routine on a low level when I lay down and he stands on my outstretched arms and he can throw (though not catch) a frisbee with more skill than most teenagers.

He begged for ice skating lessons. Being a hockey mom would not be my first pick. But it is not my pick. I have vowed to expose Aidan to as much as possible and support whatever he chooses to participate in.

Saturday was an absolute disaster.

He was crying before he even got on the ice because the skates felt funny. They were too tight and bunched his socks up all weird and if you know my child, you know that "finicky about clothing" is a tame and kind description.

I don't know how to describe the painful half hour that followed other than to say that he simply did not get it. He couldn't stay standing up, he exhibited completely uncharacteristic fear about falling and he was the kid out there that requires the constant attention of the assistant coach. When he saw me watching from behind the plexiglass, a fresh wave of tears commenced and he literally dropped down to his knees on the ice and started crawling towards the exit. I walked out on the ice and guided him back to class.

In all fairness, there was another child having the same troubles as Aidan and I overheard her parents say, "It's okay sweetie. If you don't want to do it, we'll just leave."

I'm quite certain Aidan wishes he would have had a parent like that on Saturday. He does not. After the class, the parents are allowed to come out and spend another 10 minutes on the ice with their kiddo. Hopefully everyone else was paying attention to their own child because I made a spectacle of myself, purposefully falling all over the ice to show Aidan that I just had to get back up afterwards and coaching him in a way that was reminiscent of encouraging an infant to walk.

When we left, he stated the obvious: "Mom, that was too hard. I don't want to go back. I don't like ice skating."

He gets to learn a lesson about his mom. "Baby, we don't quit in our family. If something is hard, you try harder."

Rarely is something hard for Aidan. He runs fast, he's (usually) coordinated, he writes well, he makes friends easily and when I walked into the TV room the other day he had figured out how to change the language on the movie he was watching to Spanish and was sitting contentedly, watching his movie in a foreign language.

We don't quit. Aidan may never be great at ice skating, but he will improve. And I guess this mama gets to find out what it feels like to have a child who is a bit timid about something.

I'm secretly thrilled that this particular class is only six weeks. It's going to be a really long six weeks.


  1. I think you guys will get through these six weeks just fine. Aidan seems like a tough kid.

  2. Good for you though asking him to keep trying. My parents were like that and at times I HATED them for making me finish what I started, but as an adult that sort of 'we don't give up' attitude has taken me a LONG way.

    Good luck!

  3. I think it's great that you'll have him in for the whole 6 week class. My parents let me quit everything and I really wonder now why they would let a 5 year old make the decision that she didn't like ballet anymore because she always wanted to do twirls and not the pliets (sp?). Not that I would have been a ballerina, but I think it's a really good lesson to learn.

    I know what you mean about having the adventuresome child and then they're timid for some reason -- it's a new role you have to suddenly learn. I realized that I'm very lucky I have an stable, easy-going child as far as emotional balance is concerned. I think it helps with the going back and forth of the divorce too. I wonder what your experience is in that realm?

    As for you falling as an example to him -- you're a really great mom... what a great thing model for him. ;-)

  4. Ice skating IS tough. Poor little guy. He seemed so genuinely excited about it, too! He'll figure it out...sheesh, if he can watch a movie in spanish already, I have to believe that he will conquer ice skating!

  5. Thank you all so very much for the support and kind words!!

    @LA Single Mama- Aidan does incredibly well when he goes back and forth, a fact for which I am endlessly grateful. :)

  6. I agree with you one hundred percent and I liked the way you explained it to him. We need more parents like you in this world.