Yesterday, Blade had his 7th birthday party at a local skating rink. Z was excited to get some skates on and the Hubs went and got her a pair to strap on.
I don't really know how to put skates on. I actually never skated before because it's just not something that my parents would pay for us to do (not that there was even money for such things). As an adult, I am now to afraid of falling to attempt it and I rationalize all of this by believing that Z should have one parent who is wearing regular shoes. The two of us took her to the large yellow circle in the center of the rink where the other kids were learning to skate.
To say that there were approximately 8,698 children at this particular skating rink might be an under calculation. This place was crawling with so many kids that it was hard to take a single step without taking two or three of them out. It was ridiculous.
As soon as we reached the yellow circle, Z sat on the floor and said, "I'm not gonna do this. I am scared. I don't want to." And before I could even speak to her, encourage her to try the Hubs had the skates off and returned.
I was fuming by the time we got back to our table. I was going to bite my tongue and not say anything. And then he said, "Daddy had to practice a long time to be able to skate."
"Yeah, but nobody allowed you to just be a quitter did they?"
He looked up at me then. "What?"
"You never give any push back, you never encourage her to try. You take her skates and let her dictate what we will and will not do. It's the same with her bike. You claim that she is too young to learn, but you never really give her the chance to try. She gives one little whine and instantly, it's back to safety and she gets to decide what happens next. All at once you are disabling her and giving her to much power. I am NOT raising a quitter."
"Whatever", he says and starts to walk away.
I shrug my shoulders. "Fine, go play, go skate..."
This was all displayed in front of the Scare Bear's mom, our kid, and at least 356 other children and their parents.
I sat down and looked at Z. "You can't just quit because you are scared or it's too hard, Z. If you don't try, you might miss out on all of the fun stuff. Why don't we get the skates back and try on the carpet where it's not so slippery?'
She nods, hesitant. I can see that she is watching her friends, wanting to be a part of the action instead of sitting still at a table by the vending machines.
I get her skates, I put them on. We walk to the carpeted area. She lets go of my hands. She skates for the next hour, smiling, excited, confident, screaming for the Hubs to watch her skate over the din of thousands of overly sugared, hyper-children.
As we were leaving, Z looks up at the Hubs, "Daddy, I am a skater now."
It feels good to be right, but it bothers me that I have to be so in-the-Hubs-face right about this issue. I wish that we could have worked together from the get-go to reach a mutual decision about what is right for our child. I guess we will just have to keep working at it until we get it right.
Maybe that will happen with the next kid.