Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ready For a Breakthrough Year

As every parent knows, having children is a game changer, and that's especially so for those of us
who love to ski and ride.

I did the ski while pregnant thing, rolling down the hill like a bowling ball. We did the baby swapping in the lodge, thanks to the Family Interchangeable Ticket. We've logged countless laps on the bunny hill.  We should probably get frequent flier points for the number of times the magic carpet has conveyed my kids up the slight incline of the Learning Center. And although I don't believe my bunny hill sentence is over, I can see the light.

There's a glimmer of potential twinkling in my kids' eyes. 

All those inspirational parenting advice quotes tell you, "Don't rush it." "Enjoy the moment." Sure, I know my days with my little munchkins are numbered, but I also relish their potential. Who doesn't like to have something to look forward to?  When I envision an ideal ski day in the future, I'm seeing kids busting through the trees, whooping and giggling, and I'm trying to keep up with them.

Timmy, who is now 4, has made some heartening progress in just the three weekends we've skied so far this year.  As the younger sibling, it's clear his motivation is purely competitive: he wants to keep up with big sister Bridget, who's 6.  This fall when we had received our first SKI Magazine of the season, my husband found him leafing through the pages.  Uncoached, Timmy declared, "Daddy,  these are the skis I was looking for....they are tall and fast and will beat Bridget." Matt later said, "Somehow, I think I may be repeating that quote to an ER doctor sometime soon."

Last year, Timmy's drive to just get down the mountain fast lead us to investing in a harness to help steer him down the hill, because he often refused to try to turn or snowplow to slow himself down.  I'm sure a lot of his progress this year has to do with a growing mind and growing body - he's beginning to understand mentally why he needs to be able to control his movement on the slope, and also those little legs are getting stronger, making it easier for his brain and muscles to work together.

This past weekend on the bunny hill, he was making strides in all of the essentials:

  • he could shuffle his skis forward to get in place for the lift to whisk us up the mountain
  • he was standing up and skiing straight off the lift at the top
  • he was leaning on to his ski edges to make turns on the gentle slope
  • he was using a snowplow to stop or slow when he was coming close to hitting another skier
This is all not to say that he'll be ready for the World Cup next year.  He's comfortable on the Learning Center, but even a run on gentle Range View required we strap on his harness again - he was just getting going too fast.  On the bunny hill, I cringed several times when I had let him get ahead of me, and thought to myself, "oh geez, this is going to hurt!" when I saw him careening towards a group of beginner skiers or precariously close to the tree-lined edge of the trail.  But he would turn at the last second and save me from that trip to the ER, at least this time.

The good thing is that now that his little legs are starting to catch up with his ambition, he's comfortable with the routine of strapping boards on his feet.  He chats with the very friendly lift attendants and tells them about his adventures on the hill.  He talks of skiing "black diamonds" with his sister one day, even if he might not be sure exactly what that means.

So yes, I'm enjoying this moment with my kids.  And I'm looking forward to all the moments we have ahead of us.

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