Sunday, July 27, 2008

7/27/08 Ice skating

Gabriel chose ice-skating daycamp back in March, while Julian was taking lessons. I've been concerned that its appeal would decline over time and without the sibling rivalry, especially after the fun Lego Engineering daycamp he did two weeks ago. Gabriel wasn't so hot on skating when he was 4, nothing like how Julian took to it.

Ice-skating daycamp starts tomorrow, and I'd intended to get him on the ice at least once beforehand. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! The closest ice rink had no public sessions today, so I took him to where our "local" hockey team practices. I just wanted to get him initialized, get him used to skates and the ice -- skating is something that's hard to start, but you improve really fast.

I figured he'd last at least 15 minutes, and that we'd be doing pretty well if he stuck it out for 20 minutes. I just wanted him to get past wall-hugging and be at least a little comfortable moving around. Mostly, I was really hoping he wouldn't say he hated it and didn't want to go to ice-skating daycamp.

I was blown away! He LOVED it! I had to pry him off the ice after 50 minutes!

The first 15 minutes were spent going around the rink once. It's hard to even stand up when you're not used to it. But he decided he liked it, and applied his dogged determination to it, and got better and better. He's very unsteady, stumbling and catching his balance a lot, and I encouraged him to just stand or try to go slowly, just to get used to it. Before long, he was skating well enough on his own that I'd go off on my own. When my skates started to hurt my bony ankles, I got off the ice and let him keep going. He said again and again how much he loved it and that he wanted to keep skating. "Why would you think I wouldn't love this, Mom?"

About halfway through the session:

(Comment at the end: "I smell food!") He never acted scared or asked me for help or comfort, despite numerous falls, he just kept going.

A short glide and a recovery:

I'm thrilled! He had a great time, and so did I. I loved the time alone with him, both talking with him and then standing back and watching him try again and again and again, marvelling at my remarkable child. It's like I can see the future unfolding in front of me as this little boy strives to learn and gains traction in the world, on the road to becoming a man. I'm glad there's still so much of that road ahead.

This morning, Gabriel spent a lot of time studying a book on ukelele chords that Dave got them, and trying to play them.

Julian went right to bed after dinner again tonight, after breaking numerous rules in one fell swoop. Instead of setting the table, not only was he bothering Katrina while she was trapped in the high chair (this has become a really big problem), not only was he touching her face and her food, but he had his fingers in her mouth. I was so mad at this multiple infraction that I smacked his hand several times and sent him straight to his room until dinner, and, of course, no playtime after dinner and definitely no ice cream. My new book on positive parenting hasn't arrived yet, can you tell?

Katrina was delightful today, full of giggles and cheer and play. She's into repeating anything she hears, and wants to show us things more and more. But she also spends a great deal of time playing on her own too, such as loading up a wagon with toys and then pulling it all around the house, laughing every time she goes through the kitchen. While Gabriel and I were skating, she and Julian played peacefully together for a long long time, and later, she spent at least 45 minutes lying on her tummy looking at books.

We had a Doudna Family of Five first tonight: we all sat at the table together for dinner, Katrina in a booster seat. Katrina was sufficiently distracted and delighted that she tried all the food everyone else had (mac'n'cheese, green beans, chicken), and even ate a fair amount of m'n'c, which up to now, she's rejected. This is great, because she's really gotten limited with food lately. But more importantly, she had a great time, giggled a lot and contributed to an overall enjoyable family dinner.

Despite the problem with Julian today, he was overall pretty good today too. Days like this make me feel like we might barely actually have things under control...?


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