Monday, March 26, 2012
My kids are now old enough to ice skate and effectively communicate their discomfort.
Two? Three? Five? Months ago, I bought a Groupon for ice skating; at the time, I had NO WAY of knowing that I would be living one, small, suburban block away from an ice rink--which is ironic, because I had to travel thirty minutes to this one. But it was CHEAP and it included the skate rental, so who cares if it cost $17 in gas, or that the only convenient public skate times were on Sunday afternoons?
FYI, I have learned that Sunday afternoons are not a convenient time for ANYTHING.
So, we went through an entire faux-winter, and never cashed in our Groupon. We had grand plans to do it yesterday, but then we had friends over for lunch, which turned into having friends over all day, which turned into watching a friend's son attempt to ride our electric scooter (for the first time) across a street and down a hill (this was half horror, half comedy), which eventually led to us walking to another neighborhood gathering, which turned into a three hour dinner and a bottle of wine. This left me with TODAY to redeem my Groupon, or forfeit my $15--and the guilt over the tunic top that money could buy me at Target would have killed me dead, so I pulled myself out of bed this morning, made the kids breakfast and literally set about the 2 HOURS necessary to prepare for the 11 a.m. skating session. This is mostly because our winter clothing is scattered amongst countless boxes and multiple homes.
Did I mention that I was doing this BY MYSELF? It was almost as hard as birthing all four children, but NOT AS HARD as that time we took them on an hour-and-a-half-long-boat-ride-from-hell in Hilton Head, five years ago, during which time Mike and I had to entertain all children and prevent their drowning while asphyxiating on gas fumes and fighting sea sickness. Story for another time.
I mean, it's no freaking deal. My kids have been on ice skates before (once) and I think they were toddlers, and I remember going by myself to kill time after preschool one day. Mothers of older kids--do you remember the days of having to occupy hours and hours of time in your day? Ha! It appears that learning to read sucks every minute out of your life, because now, we barely have time to get our shit together to go ice skating during spring break. Much less the actual ice skating itself. And if there was a hospital visit involved, we would have been S-C-R-E-W-E-D, and the kids would probably never understand multiplication because ALL OF OUR TIME now relates to some sort of universal equation about how smart and freaking amazing they'll be one day. And when it doesn't, we are playing Wii. Mothers of older kids--do you remember when you thought watching television and playing video games was going to rot your kid's brain? And now, life is so crazy busy, and there is so much homework, and so many sports practices/games that you're pretty sure you're kid's head will explode if they don't just chill out with Phineas and Ferb for an hour (or two).
Now, I didn't really panic today, until I realized I forgot MY jacket. In the house that's 20 seconds away from a skating rink, but not THIS skating rink. Coincidentally, the jacket was *forgotten* upon the passenger-side seat of my mini-van (the one I was driving to the ice rink that wasn't 20 seconds out my front door), as I realized when we went to dinner tonight. Look it up in the dictionary, this is the definition of loooooosing it. And then when I saw other parents of OLDER kids walking in to the rink with bike helmets, I kind of felt like a douche. I mean, I had the kids, I had their ski pants and THEIR jackets; I had four pairs of socks, two hats and two complete sets of gloves, one borrowed set of gloves, and one set that I MacGyvered out of a girl right/ boy left-handed glove. I was prepared to prevent frostbite on their hands, but NOT a major head injury because I totally forgot that everything fun can kill you these days.
Well, I thought--SCREW IT. We've traveled 25 minutes to the Valley, we are gonna ice skate if it kills us (literally). I was TOTALLY pumped up on adrenaline and probably numb because I was without the jacket I forgot (on my front seat), but unfortunately, there weren't enough endorphines available to carry me through the 35 minute ordeal that is PROPERLY SIZING AND LACING FOUR SETS OF KIDS ICE SKATES. There really are not enough cuss words in the entire English language for that experience, and what it feels like to hunch your back and expose your butt crack for the better part of an hour.
Also, at some point I realized that this rink doesn't believe in giving kids ice walkers or paint buckets to use for balance. SUPER! We were just gonna have to wing it with four children, my two hands, the mercy of GOD and NO HELMETS.
I soon learned, however, that unlike my last experiment in strapping knives to my children's feet--this time around, they did not look to be in danger of killing themselves by simply walking from the bench to the ice. Improvement! G, L, and Little J hit the rink, and off they went! Big J, however, was a hot mess on blades--or at least until I realized that his dependence upon the rink wall was causing his feet to flail at awkward and (almost impossible) angles. Once we pried him off of it, things went much, MUCH smoother. Big J has real issues with not being good at something, and this is probably a subject for a whole 'notha post--but this competitiveness + his desire to QUIT when he's not the best + some of his (mild) gross motor issues is a real conundrum, when you have four kids.
What didn't go so smoothly? Those damn skates. It seems that after every lap, I was retying them, or loosening them, or tightening them, or telling some kid that EVERYONES ANKLES HURT, that's just how it goes. One time, Little J exited the ice 87% skate-less on his right foot (?). I don't remember that from our last go at this, but maybe they were too young to talk back then? I don't know, but it was BRUTAL. Figure skates suck, and I *might* prefer a head injury over the mental anguish of having to adjust them every 42 seconds. I mean, son-of-a-gun, I kind of understand what Tonya Harding was bawling her eyes out about at the judges table during the Olympics; so essentially, I paid $15 to have REAL empathy for someone involved with the clubbing of Nancy Kerrigan.
When it was all said and done, I would say the kids skated for 40 minutes total; shorter than our combined driving time. We managed to push through the initial ankle discomfort, but stopped short of demanding that they freaking-enjoy-every-minute-of-the-two-hour-skate-that-I-purchased-off-the-discount-website. This is generally in line with my parenting mentality, so I felt good about it.
And then we went to Chic-Fil-A, where two of my four children licked their containers of Chic-Fil-A sauce clean--which is also very much in line with my use of preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. I am nothing if not consistent, blog world.