New Year's Day Dan had a rare half day of work. When he got home he packed up the whole family and headed out to a park for some sledding, ice skating, and all around snow fun. It was a magical day full of fun and joy with all three of the kids.
I tried to replicate that today.
Charlotte wanted to go ice skating again so I said that after Lee's nap we would eat lunch and go.
Lee napped for a rare three hours this morning. So we had a late lunch. Then the kids had lost all momentum to get up and go. I felt like I needed to use a cattle prod to get them out the door. I said to myself that it was OK because once we got there they would love it.
I invited a friend and her two boys to join us.
We finally made it to the park at just about the time I would normally put Lee down for his second nap of the day. Sorry little guy. Being the third means you've got to accommodate. We pull up and the kids get excited to start skating. I turn to ask Charlotte where her skates are and she says, "You forgot them!" I didn't, she did. Here comes the life lesson. She sulked in the van while I led Greg out to the ice.
Greg was fearless trying out his skates on the ice the first time with Dad, but today all he wanted to do was slowly walk across the ice. His top priority was to avoid any falls. It was sort of painful for everyone else to just stand there and watch him. Charlotte did finally decide to take her sled up the hill. After a while of everyone else just standing around watching Greg march across the ice the rest of us decided to sled down the hill.
Greg, now alone on the ice, decided that he wanted to sled too. He followed us off the ice and caught up to us at the top of the hill. He remembered how much fun it was to sled down that hill last time so he fearlessly jumped on his rocket sled face first and zipped down the hill.
When Greg was about half way down the hill my friend says, "Oh! The car! The car! THE CAR!" I was unconcerned because after his numerous backyard sledding experiences I was confident he knew to roll off the sled at the bottom before hitting anything.
That didn't happen. Instead he hit the van with his face. I tried to go down and comfort him, but (A) he wasn't bleeding, or bruising, and didn't have any marks on him whatsoever and (B) I was a bit flabbergatsed that he didn't bail. Mostly it just felt like he was wailing because he was too overcome by the accident. When he starts to wail like that I have learned there is absolutely nothing I can do to help him calm down. He will calm down when he wants to calm down and he will turn it off like a light switch.
So now I had two thoroughly unhappy kids. I made Greg sled down the hill two more times so he didn't have that run be the last thing he did, but then I let him stay in the van.
Greg's friend really wanted to try Greg's hockey skates so while Greg was wailing in the van I agreed to show him the basics of balance and what to do when you fall and how to get back up again. He LOVED it and was a natural. The problem was that while I was helping Greg's friend Charlotte got sulky again about not being able to skate and Lee got thoroughly sleepy/cold/hungry.
In the end I packed everyone up and we headed home. All three kids were crying. I asked them in the van if anyone had any fun and nobody said anything. I'd like to say I learned something from this, but honestly I'm not sure how I could have salvaged this day.
Hopefully next time will be better.