Sunday, January 10, 2010


It all started on Christmas Eve when we went skating when we were visiting our family in the Vancouver area.  The boys were so excited to go skating and when we got to the rental counter, they didn't have all the sizes we needed.  Which left us not being able to skate.  Our boys were heartbroken, so to avoid too much disappointment, we promised to take them skating sometime this winter after we got home.

Then the other day, I received an email from Willem's teacher...

Hello 2/3B parents!
Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and a relaxing break.
I am writing to inform you of a plan I have for phys. ed class.  I have spoken with the principal and she has said it would be fine for your child to bring in skates and helmets for us to go skating at the rink across the field as part of our phys. ed curriculum.  Of course, right now it's too cold, but once the weather warms up, I would love to take them there.  In order for this to happen, your child MUST have a helmet.   I have asked them all if they have skates, and some of them say they do not.  If this is an issue, please let me know and I will try and accommodate them as best as I can.  I will give you advance notice when I plan to take them -- I will be keeping a close eye on the weather network!
Enjoy the rest of your day!

And that really started it...our realization that it was maybe time to invest in skates.  My husband and I, not being particularly athletically inclined have not skated for a very long time, excepting when we went skating two years ago with the boys once.  The boys loved it and I vowed to never skate on rental skates again.  I thought back then that we should maybe invest in skates, but soon forgot about it.  Until the above email arrived in my mailbox.  And then the need was solidified in my mind when I called our local rec centre that boasts two full sized rinks, a child sized rink and a "leisure pond" and asked about skate rentals.  I was told that they don't rent skates.  Great.  

I've spent a fair amount of time as a parent feeling like I was playing catch up.  At first it was as I fed them as infants, then discipline as toddlers and the list goes on.  Constantly having to change and rethink things as I react to my children and their changing needs.  I always feel frustrated that I have to react wishing I could be more on top of things and anticipate issues before they actually become issues.  I've gotten better at it, but now it's entered a new realm.  Now it's social.  And often those social things come in the form of sports.  My children being a little bit athletically disinclined like their parents (and especially their dad), make it a little harder.  Call me crazy, but I hate the idea of my son, already struggling socially, to have to sit on the side while all his classmates skate during class.

And they will skate.  In fact, I suspect most of these kids are either in hockey or figure skating and are largely quite proficient on the ice.  It is Northern Alberta after all and I'm feeling a slight twinge of guilt not having taught them to skate sooner. 

Which begs the question; what's worse?  The poor kid sitting on the edge or the poor kid clinging to the boards while he unsteadily tries to maneuver his way wearing two skinny metal blades on a slippery surface?  

Seems to me, being the oldest in the situation is a clear disadvantage.  Now that it has finally hit home that skating is a pretty important skill to have here, we will invest in the equipment (I guess) and make it a priority to hit the ice in the winter.  Nate and Finn will probably be pretty good skaters by the time they're Will's age.  But as for Will, he's again going to have to play catch up as we attempt to teach him to skate.  My feet hurt already.


  1. oh honey, I SO SO SO understand. I always feel like we are playing catch-up too. All the other kids apparently know how to skate and dance and play soccer and swim and play piano and guitar and also go with their parents to various community activities and on and on it goes.

    Skating is a big deal here too. Partly we avoid things because of the cost. Partly because I basically hate most sports. And partly because we just can't seem to get it all together!

    The boys started ice skating in their classes in SK but they don't do things like that in school here. I guess because everyone does it on their own already.

    It has been probably 15 years since I went ice skating.

    We bought the boys skates. Cheap $20 skates from Walmart... but skates none the less. We bought Olivia some strap on beginner skates for the bottom of her boots. Now we just have to get some for ourselves. Sigh.

    And honestly I don't even know WHERE people skate around here- probably on the local lakes.

    Everything is just so darn expensive.

    It is a little discouraging to be a few steps behind everyone else isn't it?

    I really don't know how people keep up.

  2. I am in the same boat too! Hate skating. Can't stay on my feet for longer than a few seconds. John is the same way. We tried putting Brie in skating when she was 3 but it was a horrible experience for everyone and we pulled her out after 3 weeks. Haven't tried it since. And she is supposed to go skating on Thursday. with her class I'm currently trying to borrow some skates for her, cause why pay $50 for something that won't get used is my theory. Although I didn't realize Walmart had them for $20. But I still worry that she is going to be the only non-skater and it's going to be very traumatic for her as she is extra sensitive to that stuff. Sigh.

  3. Annika still uses the metal bar pushy thing and she only skates when her class goes once a year. You're not as behind as you think you are! Jordyn seemed to have the advantage cuz she could push one of her sisters in the stroller and no one thought she couldn't skate...they just thought she was a nice big sister. Poor Jillian, no such excuses for her! We picked up our skates at Value Village or they were handed down to us and Kevin doesn't even own a pair! Love you guys! Hang in there. :)

  4. we put kirstyn in ice skating lessons several summers in a row. we did it more for us though... see it is air conditioned and so much more comfortable than sitting outside in 104'F watching soccer! plus, i never learned to skate, roller or ice, and i wanted kirstyn to learn that life skill and i had no clue how to teach her. turns out her daddy can ice skate pretty well just based on his teenage roller skating days and they love going to the mall on 'dates' to go ice skating.

    anyway, there were lots of used skates on ebay the last time i looked. also, when she was getting comfortable on the skates they would give them a 5 gallon bucket to push and teach them to "march". good luck girl, i feel your pain. here it seems like everyone has had their daughter in dance or soccer since birth. you just have to remember that you are trying to raise well rounded individuals, not future Olympians! parenting should not be a competition.... lets encourage each other instead.... maybe that will catch on!