Little, Littler, Littlest (an ice skating story)

It’s been four years since we went ice skating. Pregnancy, nursing babies and a general lack of time have kept our dates much closer to home. But Alex had begun to be interested in the idea, and Christian suggested that we take his parents skating last week while they were in town for a visit. So the day before Thanksgiving, we packed the van full (two grown women and a preschooler do NOT fit in the back seat of a minivan) and took off for Jeff City.

Child #1: “Little.”

When it came right down to it, Alex had some anxiety about the whole idea. “Is there water under the ice? What happens if the ice breaks? I don’t want to go on the ice on skates after all. I’ll just go in my shoes. I don’t want to fall down.” But the Zamboni resurfacing the ice relaxed him. (Zamboni’s are just cool.)

“Whoa-oa-oa!” were his first words when his feet hit the ice. He clung to his PVC-pipe contraption and tried to walk around this ice. I kept trying to give him pointers, but he really didn’t want to hear them. Eventually I gave an inward sigh and let him stumble (literally) through it himself. Guess what? Sometimes trial and error is the best teacher. Alex was bound and determined, and characteristically independent. We had to rotate on and off the ice so that someone could sit with the little one/s, and my son waited for no one during shift changes. He just kept trucking away, round and round the ice and picking himself up, all the way to the bitter end. Despite three collisions between ice and head.

Alex and his Grandpa Basi

Child #2: “Littler.”

Ah, Julianna. Poor Christian spent fifteen minutes getting her around the rink the first time, but eventually Daddy and Daddy’s girl figured out a system, and got it down to nine times per round. I tried to take her once. She kept picking her feet up and hanging from my hands. And when she had her feet on the ice, they slid out. My only fall of the day came when my own daughter tripped me. She howled howls of great exhaustion, but any time we took her off the ice, she howled even more loudly, determined to convince us that she wanted MORE ICE SKATING!

I think we need our "mermaid pants"!

Child #3: “Littlest.”

And Nicholas, as he had been all week, sat at the sideline being cuddled and held, because any time you set him down, cute and cuddly turned into soul-piercing, ear-shattering whining. He was none too happy about being passed from person to person. Any time he saw me pass by, he let me know about it. Have I ever mentioned that he can throw hook-lines from his eyes to mine, and drag me across a room? The only defense is not to look!

Cuddling with Grandma on the bleachers

My parents-in-law kept the kids at the end and let Christian & I run around a few times by ourselves. When it was all over, we had three very tired and cranky kids on our hands. I decided that the only way to ensure that the day was a success was to go get…what else? Central Dairy ice cream! Of course, no one really wanted dinner, but we made paella anyway, and topped off the day with yet more cookies and ice cream. Ice, ice cream, and cookies and ice cream…a recipe for a successful day. 🙂