Saturday, January 15, 2011

1/15/2010 Skate, Kung Fu, Soccer

A threefer! I took Katrina to her first skating lesson today, then Julian to Kung Fu, then Gabriel to sign up for spring soccer. He didn't get to play soccer, but it would have to do.

I only got photos of the skating class. Katrina was very very excited! (If not all that color-matched.)

I was prepared for the usual disorganization of classes at this rink, and was not disappointed. I thought at first it might be better when an instructor called out "Snowballs! Come here!" ("Snowball" is the 3-4 class).

But "Snowballs" can be pretty experienced, or completely brand-new as Katrina is. The instructor had to call for help from other instructors, who then told a group of kids, including Katrina, to start "march march" to the center. But a brand-new wall-hugger like Katrina can't do that yet.

Before I was able to push my way to the front of the crowd to intervene, the first instructor suggested they separate the brand-new kids from those who've taken a session or two. Geeee, ya think?? What is this, the first time you've run this class?

So Katrina got some help to the middle, and then they brought out the chairs.

To my relief, they didn't spend much time in the chairs, getting out of them to learn how to get up from all fours on the ice. I was very happy to see that Katrina could do this. She didn't need the chair to sort-of skate, actually.

It was still so chaotic that at one point, Katrina was off on her own, and then was whisked up by another teacher and stuck with the more advanced group. They were supposed to cross the ice to the wall, and Katrina tried carefully, but eventually did fall. Maybe after 8 classes she could, but that's a major delta in skill. She definitely didn't belong with this group.

The teacher of the brand-new group finally noticed her floundering on her own and put her back in the right group. Of the 15 kids in the brand-new group, about half still needed the chairs by the end, creating some roadblocks. I noticed that much of the time, Katrina was trying to skate and was stuck behind kids sitting in chairs, unable to get around.

This was a rare moment of freedom.

Despite all these challenges, Katrina seemed to enjoy and participate in the class. When the teacher asked the class to count, clap, or put their hands on their shoulders, she did it willingly. She paid close attention to the teacher and didn't seem at all rattled by all the setbacks that were increasingly irritating me. Some kids were crying or refusing to get out of the chairs, but despite never quite knowing what to do, being put in the wrong class, not being able to get through the crowd, she took it all really well.

One parent summoned one of the super-busy instructors, and I figured there must be something pretty urgent with her kid. Instead, the mother asked the instructor to make sure her son's legs were straight, so that he didn't injure his ankles. Good grief! Many other parents actively waved from the sidelines to get their childs' attention. Nothing like turning around or looking up suddenly to say hi to Mom when you're brand-new on ice skates.

When class was over, it was a mob scene. I was standing on a bench to get this photo, and since Katrina was one of the last off the ice, I had the luxury of waiting until this cleared a little. But it didn't. It was really, really hard to work her through the crowd to the benches to de-skate her.

I really, really wish there were a closer skating rink that had some semblance of knowing how to run a business. How about online registration, instead of forcing parents to cram into a tiny retail store and compete with people buying things for the fleeting attention of the teenagers running it in order to sign up for a class? How about some barriers to separate getting-on-ice from getting-off-ice traffic? How about some signs telling parents where each class is?

I'm very torn, I'm not sure we'll continue next week. The only good thing I have to say is that Katrina was very excited, she was pretty resilient about an overall crummy situation, and she did learn to get up herself if she falls.

On the way back from skating, on impulse, I put her in Julian's booster seat. I was surprised -- she fits really well!

After skating, I took the boys to their respective activities. Julian at first said he didn't want to go to kung fu today, but he had a good time. They're working on cartwheels! This is a rare chance for me to impress my son, since I can still do cartwheels. I promised him we'd practice cartwheels tomorrow.

Spring soccer for Gabriel will be tough -- two practices a week, and they could start as early as 3:30 in the afternoon. The soccer league tries to group teams by school and organize carpools, which could help with that. They also request that every parent volunteer for some position; this will be exceptionally tough for me. But I want to find a way of making this happen.

I spent the rest of the day resting and watching travel shows on PBS (I want to go to Berlin now!). I have a rare head cold and a lot of fatigue, and I'm just waiting for the cold to travel down to its usual resting spot, deep in my chest. What a waste of an afternoon, I have SO much to do! But at least everyone else got something.


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