We spent the last three days at a ski resort a few hours outside of town. It was the first time we’d done this with the children; I myself haven’t been on skis for eight years. It was a learning experience for everybody – my kids learned about some snow sports and I learned a bit about my kids.
DD does not show much interest in sports. She enjoyed gymnastics classes for about 2 years but recently decided to quit because she’d “learned everything there was to know about that”. Over the years she’s seen kids skating, but when I’ve asked her if that’s something she’d like to do she immediately and quite vehemently says No. Same with skiing.
However, on a recent trip up to the top of a local mountain where there is an outdoor rink, she saw kids using those walker-things to balance themselves and with a sigh of resignation she said “okay, mama, I guess I’ll give it a try” (without me asking, I might add). They both took a few steps and decided they didn’t like it and wanted off the ice. I was very proud of DD for trying, but sad that she was so easily discouraged. I blamed myself, thinking if I hadn’t had both kids to care for on the ice I might have done a better job of making them feel secure on their skates.
Well, on our ski trip this past weekend I managed to convince her to try a 2 hour ski lesson. Her two friends, who we were vacationing with, were also in the class and none of them had ever been on skis before. According to the instructor she did very well, and I was able to catch a few glimpses of her while tending to DS in another ski area (he refused to even put them on, insisting that he didn’t like the boots). At the end of the class she said she’d had a good time, but that she didn’t want to ski again. When I asked her later why she said that, she replied “all we did was go up and down the same place all the time”.
But what finally made something “click” in my head was when we went tubing. You get in these large inner-tube like things with a handle attached. A hook rope pulls you up in your tube and then you slide down these very long, rather steep runs. Both of my children had a blast, and went up and down without any hesitation even on their first try. We went tubing again on our last day and DD was going up and down all by herself, even asking the attendants to give her a good spin as she went down. I realized that my children are not afraid of speed, or of steep hills. They may have their issues, but fear of hurtling down a steep hill while cradled in a rubber tube is not one of them. I pondered this as I thought about what DD’s issue might be with skiing or skating.
My theory is that she doesn’t like the latter two activities because you can’t just do them well right away. You have to work at it and practice at it and I’m beginning to wonder if my daughter isn’t a bit of a perfectionist. Tubing she could do right away. But perhaps she felt with skiing and skating that if she couldn’t do it right away it wasn’t worth doing. I am still not 100% sure this is the case. Perhaps she just preferred tubing because she felt steady and secure lying in that tube, compared to the wobbly-ness of skates, or the unusual feel of wearing skis for the first time. I wish I could figure it out, if for no other reason than to understand what makes her tick.