Saturday, February 25, 2012

Old Dogs Shouldn't Do New Tricks

If one survives to adulthood without learning certain skills or taking up certain athletic hobbies, one should not start at that point.  Children are the only humans truly equipped to absorb both the required concept of brain-signal-to-body-part and any resulting impact from a failed attempt.  Their being closer to the ground than us also puts them at an advantage.

The first time this philosophy became truth to me was when Hubs insisted that skiing, which he was "raised on" was the best thing ever, and that I simply must try it.  He thought he could teach me and we would be some cutsie couple from a Warren Miller movie.  I've always hated those movies...probably because I never had been skiing and they were totally out of context for my life.

What a shit show.  All I got out of it was anxiety at the top of the mountain, a crippling inability to get up after a crash, and, after catching a ski to the butt crack, a broken tailbone...which I was to get x-rayed but was too sick.  I later found out my nausea was because I was pregnant with our first child.  I have NEVER been so happy to have the ultimate excuse to skip out of grown-up P.E. for the rest of the season.  He, on the other hand, decided to take up snowboarding and hasn't been on skis since.  He now thinks skiing's for losers.  Thanks, babe.

What do you mean 'smile'? I AM smiling.

I highly recommend to anyone who is now an adult who thinks they want to learn how to ski:  Don't.  Just don't.  Go ahead and go with your friends to the mountain.  Do not go to the bunny hill, you look like an idiot.  Get an awesome sweater, go to the lodge, get drunk all day.  It's way better.

This philosophy was reinforced last night when we took the boys ice skating, but this time, Daddy and I strapped on the skates too.  He had done it as a kid, but I have NEVER had blades on my feet.  Roller skates, yes.  Ice skates, no.  Luckily the crowd was sparse.  After getting my footing as well as a spastic baby giraffe he complimented me.  "You're going to be the next Tonya Harding."  Nice.  I wonder what trailer he has picked out for us.

It turned out I skate backward better than forward, I just can't see what's going on behind me.  It also turns out the ice is really, really cold.  And really, really hard.  Harder than my butt or my knees.  All the while, there was this little Asian girl, maybe 10 years old, practicing diligently while her mother watched like a hawk through her spins and jumps and stared daggers.  The girl, who had clearly put in her time, skated over to her.  The hundred-mile an hour argument they had in their foreign language annoyed me.  How was I supposed to take a side in this matter if I couldn't understand what they were saying??

The daughter hung her head and set back out onto the ice.  Again and again, over and over she perfected her jump, her spin.  Again and again she went back to her mother, again and again she looked at the ground and went back to the ice.  I took the girl's side, I decided.  This wasn't fun anymore.  This is the part that I, as a mother, struggle with when deciding what to let my children participate in.  I realize that they have to finish what they start.  But when it comes to competitive sports, when they cross the line into that territory of parental pushing for the sake of getting your money's worth or teaching them a lesson in perseverance, I wonder if it becomes damaging to their psyche to take away their ability to just be kids.

We took our skates off and passed the girl stretching, actually her mom stretching her, her leg bent up and over and around her head like a pretzel.  I gave her a little smile, and she smiled back.  I hope her mom took her out for a milkshake or something, it was Friday night after all, and I thought she did a great job.

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