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Ice Princesses

Maddie and Cora went to an ice-skating
birthday party on Sunday. This was stressful to me on a couple
fronts: first, there was the obvious worry – neither girl had
ever ice-skated before, and who knew how well a two-year-old would
even be able to stand up in a pair. Second, I was concerned that
Maddie would try it a bit, find it difficult, and let her fear get
the better of her, sitting down and refusing to give it another go.
We’ve had such a history of fear with new things that I was a
bit dreading adding yet another activity to the list-o-items to get
over. But both girls were keen to go – we watch the skaters
at our mall every chance we get, and Maddie’s pestered me for
over a year to try ice-skating. So try it we did.

Fortunately for me, Brian was able to go
as well, so we had man-to-man coverage on the ice. I knew this
would be a good thing, having gone roller-skating with Maddie
before. And indeed, as we started out, Maddie had both hands firmly
planted on the rail, pulling herself along laborious hand over
laborious hand. I kept trying to persuade her to hold onto the rail
with one hand and Daddy’s hand with the other so she could
face forward instead of sideways, but she steadfastly refused to
relinquish any control.

Cora, on the other hand, couldn’t reach the hand rail, so
Mommy was the permanent handrail for her. That kid is one Fearless
Fred, and ice skating was no exception; she had me skating behind
her, both hands holding her firmly by the wrists, begging me to get
going. Her feet were absolutely useless except as decoration, and
indeed more closely resembled that of a Russian folk dancer, in a
deep knee-bend with her legs kicking out in front of her over and
over again. But she was screaming with laughter, so even as my back
was screaming with pain Cora begged me to go around again.

Maddie, meanwhile, had retired to the party room and was resolutely
coloring a birthday card. My heart sank when I saw her – I
just knew she’d given up and let her fear of falling get the
better of her. A few more times around with Cora, and I was able to
join Maddie for some rest time and quiet pep talks. With just a
little convincing, Maddie headed back out onto the rink where I
gently led her around – Daddy handling the Incredible Skating
Cora – and showed her how to balance and not worry about

Something just clicked, because suddenly my girl was letting go and
giving it a try, a big grin on her face. I’m sure it was
partly seeing her friend Elise walking coltishly along on her
skates all by herself, but I know that at some point she made the
decision to simply not mind it if she fell. Her face lit up, she
waved at Brian off the ice with Cora and would only come in for

By the time we went back out for round two, both girls were rested
and ready to try again. Maddie and Elise went straight for the
center and tried their hardest to do the leaps and twirls, while
Cora, with practice, got to where she could skate while just
holding on to one of my hands. Keep in mind that she’s two,
and you’ll see why we’re bragging.

All three of the girls were begging us to set up another skate
time, even as we walked towards the cars on rubber legs. I can see
now we’ve got some future Olympiads on our hands – or
at least some future Saturdays at the mall booked up. Truth be
told, I don’t care either way – I’m simply so
delighted my girls got out there and tried it and had a lovely time
without fear or worry that I’ll embrace whatever comes


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