November 22/79  Sense and Nonsense

A year ago I took our four-year-old to the arena for her first figure skating lesson. She was already supremely confident about her skating abilities. After all, she had practiced for hours in slippered feet on the living room rug! She trudged proudly along the rubber mat wearing her new skates, and stepped nimbly out onto the ice. She remained in an upright position for a short time before the inevitable first tumble.

“Mommy!” she cried, “I’ll never be able to skate on ice.  It’s too slippery!”

Before the season was over she did learn to skate on ice, and prepared to participate in the big, final event of the figure skating year – The Carnival! I was to be a helper mother on the big day. Twelve costumed three-and-four-year-olds sat in the dressing room with their older counterparts on rehearsal night. The small girls reveled in their applied make-up, but the boys were of a different mind. One little fellow wore the expression of a condemned criminal as I dabbed a bit of lipstick to his lips. Later I noticed him at the water fountain. He was carefully blotting the moisture from his lips with a paper towel. To his obvious satisfaction he managed to remove most of the scarlet colouring as well! The tiny skaters lined up on the ice for their first cue. The lights were dim and the music appropriately scary. The children were almost as nervous as I was. A curly haired little girl beckoned to her mother, who was also a “helper”. “Mommy, I think I have to throw up” she announced quietly. “Not now dear, please.” her mother answered in a calm voice. I held my breath – my kids always threw up when they said they had to ….

“O.K. Mom, I won’t” the little girl replied; and she didn’t!!

A solemn three-year-old asked to go to the bathroom two minutes before the finale. Polite little fellow – said “Excuse me” and “Please” and he certainly did have to go! We barely made it back in time!

On the big day things were hectic! I had watched the flawless group performances the year before and had no idea what went on behind the scenes! We mothers juggled kids, jackets, mitts and blankets in the darkness of the arena stands. One tiny blonde refused to let go of her favourite doll until I managed to convince her that I was a qualified doll-sitter. Jackets were a problem. It was chilly and the children needed to wear them off the ice. We learned that some kids will happily wear anyone else’s coat, while others will freeze before allowing another child’s apparel to cover them! We somehow managed to lose 3 mitts and one blanket.

The second show was a snap. The kids were decidedly professional by that time. The little blonde had left her dolly at home and the boys managed the bathroom detail in plenty of time. The weather had warmed up and now that we had memorized each child’s coat, they no longer needed them! The three mittens and the blanket miraculously re-appeared.

Later, our little girl basked in the afterglow of her first performance. “I can hardly wait until next winter so I can go skating again!” she squealed happily

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