Why, you ask? This was his first time to go ice skating, and he worries and gets nervous about doing things for the first time. He worries about not being good at whatever he's going to try to do. I'm scared he has control-freak tendencies with a side of perfectionism. And that would be my fault. Those traits come straight from me.
So I gave him a pep talk and said, "It doesn't matter if you're good at this or not. It matters that you try it and just do your best."
When I was a kid, we used to go ice skating all the time. There was a mall about an hour away from us that had a big ice rink in the middle. The rink was in what I guess you could say was the basement. You had to walk down from the first floor to get there. There were two stories of stores above it. When you were on the ice, you could look up to the floors above. And people could watch you skate from up there, too.
My parents and their friends would drop me, my brother and our friend at the rink and go shopping in the mall. We would skate the whole evening, non-stop. We would be the last people to leave. And after today, I have no idea where we got the energy!
I had considered skating today, for old times sake, but I had pretty much talked myself out of it. Then, my boy stepped onto the ice. He was terrified! He actually got tears in his eyes.
Jeff said, "Dude. The worst thing that will happen is that you'll fall."
"Yeah, Dad," Biscuit said, "but I'm afraid that if I fall, I'll break through the ice into the water."
This child has seen too many movies.
"You can't fall through," Jeff explained. "There isn't a pond or any other kind of water underneath. The ice is laid out over concrete."
But Biscuit wasn't buying it.
So I went and got some skates.
I counted it up, and it's been about 14 years since I ice skated. And I was truly shocked to find out that when I stepped out there today, it felt like I had never been skating in my life! I couldn't get going. And I really did think it would be exactly the same as it used to be. I mean, I can't remember the last time I rode a bike, but I know I could get on one right now and ride without falling off.
Anyway, I realized I wasn't going to be a whole lot of good to Biscuit, so we made our way down to the far end of the rink where they were giving the party guests a quick lesson.
Biscuit got the first couple of things down. Hold your arms out in front. Bend your knees a little bit. Keep your skates about shoulder-width apart. If you feel yourself starting to lose your balance, put your hands on your knees.
But Biscuit was moving so much slower than the rest of the class, he got frustrated and was almost in tears. I felt so bad for him. I helped him get to the door where you can get off the ice, and we took a break.
But then, the birthday boy's mom went and got a seal that looked like a little kid ride-on toy. Biscuit sat down, and I skated behind him. It's amazing how just having that little bit of support helped me find my balance.
Then Biscuit decided to try pushing it by himself. And he did a good job.
But his favorite part was when the birthday boy pushed him. That little seal changed his whole afternoon!
Of course, that seal didn't make it warm out there. Biscuit was a ball of snuggle, trying to get warm after he came off the ice.
Jeff and I told Biscuit as we were leaving that we were proud of him for trying something new. We reminded him that you're rarely good at things the first time you try them. But going for it and having fun is what it's all about.