I thought about leaving the three year old with my mother but our schedules just didn’t allow for it. So I found myself with a 9, 7 and 3 year old alone on the ice. I was prepared for chaos and to be honest, the first half hour was a little bit of that. Getting the skates on tight and convincing my youngest to actually allow me to put them on took longer that I ever imagined. But, once we accomplished that I decided that no matter how well any of the kids were able to skate, we were there to have fun and not to stress out over it. Since I was tied to the youngest, my older two were motivated (aka forced) to get out there on their own and give it their best effort. That is certainly not a bad thing, and with a little practice they were quite pleased with their accomplishments.
My older two were skating around the edge but not holding onto the wall in no time. My youngest even stopped screaming, which she started to do the first time we got onto the ice. I was proud of myself for keeping them all motivated, and not becoming the victim of stress myself. I told my youngest that we were going to go out one more time after the first try, and if she didn’t like it then we would stop, but I was certain she would since she wanted to be a dancer, and sometimes people dance on the ice. She ate that right up and absolutely loved it the second time around. I do believe in her little three year old mind she was dancing, and that was fine with me. I was just pleased that we didn’t spend the entire time falling.
With thirty minutes left in free skate, my youngest was done. We found our way to the penalty box and she immediately took off her skates and found an entertaining stack of orange cones to play with. Having the security of the half doors shut and being able to stay close to her on the ice, I was able to take turns with each of the older kids allowing them to show me how well they were doing on the ice. I even gave my daughter some tips. Then, I even made my son fall. Ooops. He decided he would be happy to skate with me but hands off, he could do it much better without me touching him.
We had an unforgettable time. I hope it will be one of the memories my children treasure. I know it was quite an accomplishment for me to just let go and enjoy… we were not headed for Olympic gold for hockey glory, just family bonding in a new and different way!