You know when you talk your child into doing something, and then they hate it, and there they are trying not to cry in front of a well-meaning stranger who is invested in this thing and to whom you’ve paid money for it, wailing, “I never even wanted to come in the first place. I knew I’d hate this,” and you haven’t a leg to stand on because that’s exactly what happened and I thought you’d change your mind once you tried it is no defence at all and you feel like an idiot and a terrible parent …
Well, that’s nearly what it was like.
A month ago:
Me: Guess what, guys? We’re going skiing! It’s going to be fun!
Mabel: I don’t want to go. I don’t like skiing.
Me, to self: She’s just saying that because she doesn’t like the unknown.
Two weeks ago:
Me: Yay, skiing will be great!
Mabel: I don’t want to go! I can’t miss my ceramics class!
Me, to self: She’s just annoyed about missing ceramics. She’ll love it once she tries it.
A few days ago:
Me: Mabel, good news! The forecast says it’s going to be really really cold on Saturday so I’ve cancelled the second day of skiing. You won’t miss ceramics after all.
Mabel: Yay ceramics. But boo skiing. I still don’t want to go.
Me, to self: Yeah, yeah.
Yesterday, on the slopes, standing in front of our private ski instructor:
Me: Come on, put your boot in there.
Mabel: Noooooo! Waaaahhhhh! I never wanted to come but you made me!
Me: [INTERNAL PANIC]
Somehow, I managed to exude “We’re doing this” vibes instead of “Oh crap you meant it all along” ones, or maybe she decided it did look like it might be some fun, or maybe anything at all because the machinery in a seven-year-old’s mind works in mysterious ways, but she deigned to click her boots into her skis and shuffle over to the lift. And once you’re at the top, there’s only one way down, right?
The poor instructor had a quick introduction to all the things Mabel doesn’t like – being told she’s doing well, being called a princess, having anyone be nice to her when she’s on the verge of tears, being complimented, being told she’s smiling when she’s not… – and he soldiered on. I tried to keep out of it, and, well, there we were, with Mabel being towed down the mountain by a bearded guy skiing backwards. I swooshed and swooped and it all started to come back to me and I did not manage not to say “Whee” out loud at every turn, because skiing, even slowly, is exhilarating.
We went up and down three times, and by then our hour was almost up and Mabel was done. We said thank-you to the very patient instructor (well, I did; Mabel growled) and went inside to warm up, where she had a full-on breakdown at me about how much she hated it and how she wasn’t going to ski any more and how we had to go home right now.
That was the lowest point, right there. After a little while we found B and Dash, who had had their own lesson wherein Dash had proved to be a natural and was immediately promoted to stage 4 and taken down the even bigger slope, and decided it was time for an early lunch.
Once large slice of pizza and an ice-cream sandwich later:
Me: So, do you think we might ski a bit more after all?
Me, to self: PHEW. And also, VINDICATED!!!
So then we all went back out and skied some more. And slept well last night. Ow, my legs.