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Part II: Ice skating

As promised, the second half of our busy weekend. The kids had been nagging for awhile about ice skating. Which is one of those activities that has the potential to be a big waste-of-money bust with little ones. They hate it. They give up after 5 minutes. And at our indoor rink, without a season pass it's $7 per person per session with $3 skate rental.

But my son has been sitting in the ice arena with me while my daughter has ballet elsewhere in the rec center. So we've been spending our Saturday mornings watching some pretty awesome figure skaters practice. I'd say they're around 10-15 years old. All girls except for one little boy who is AMAZING. Really all of them twirl, spin, pose, and do their drills in a way that makes it look effortless. Which ended up being a wonderful lesson for my kids when we tried it ourselves. I've said over and over that it's hard. Even daddy can only skate forwards, not backwards. And after being on the ice themselves, my kids came away with a very firm understanding of how good those kids they watch are. When someone is really, really good at something difficult it can make it look effortless and easy. It is not.

My theory--bad theory--was that I could watch both of them. In my head, we'd all hold hands and blissfully tumble our way across the rink. In reality, they had very different levels of ability and willingness to keep at it. So my attention mostly got stuck on my very cautious and very slow-moving daughter. My son--walking stereotype both of them, eh?--was only slightly better. Just good enough to be dangerous. He'd make forward progress and get all the way across the rink to where I couldn't help. And then choose just that moment to fall, cry, and/or have a hard time getting back up.

Something I wasn't used to from public skates where I grew up was that our rink divided out a small section of one end with padded barricades to keep an area for learners. They also stock the ice with probably 20 or so red skating aids. Basically walkers like your grandma uses...only pint-sized. The kids can hang on though they still fall. Lots.

In the end, my daughter gave up after about 10 minutes. But she complained absolutely none when she got off the ice to stand against the boards with mama. They watched my son and I skate for nearly the rest of the public skate session. He used the skating aid for awhile then eventually held my hand instead when he got good enough. Side-by-side wasn't super effective so we used a system of my feet on the outside, facing the same direction, me holding his hands and pushing us both forward where he could learn some balance. There was a particular advertising sign on the boards that we would skate to and then back off the ice to meet mom and sister. We did that a few times and when he was resting or tired I'd do a lap with the grownups on the main part of the rink.

They've both asked to go back again.