Parenting

My Weekend Adventure

Cynthia Dermody
2


toy cars

Photo by DragonLuv

The handprint wrapping paper and paper snowflake projects I'd organized for this past weekend were lots of fun, but they only occupied my kids for a few hours. I needed to plan another activity, but what? It was cold and no one felt like going to the park, but we were going stir crazy inside.

So, seeing as the gas prices are down lately, my husband and I loaded the two kids into the car, turned on the soundtrack to Madagascar 2, and just started driving, no destination. We drove and drove, and after listening to "Move It, Move It," for about the 8th time, we pulled into a state park where we often go in summer, but rarely in winter. We'd totally forgotten there was a great outdoor ice skating rink there.

One look at the ice and my kids just had to go -- even though they'd never even been on skates before.

Well, that's not exactly true. I did enroll my son in a Mommy-and-Me learn-to-skate class when he was 2, but he wasn't ready, we were both miserable, and I called it quits. He couldn't have retained any skills from the classes, seeing as I couldn't pry him from my arm the whole time.

I won't kid you -- yesterday's skating experiment did not start out good. My daughter fell the second she touched the ice: "Mommy, it's too slippy!" And my son must have remembered something of his previous skating classes, because he wouldn't let go of my hand. They fell, and fell hard. Luckily, Michael Jackson was playing over the speakers so loudly that it drowned out all the whines and cries.

But just as I headed off the ice to ask for a refund, something unexplained happened. All of a sudden I look over, and my kids were ... moving. Not exactly skating, but sort of "ice walking."

In a shot I was over there, offering encouragement, hoping it would continue. And it did! We stayed the whole hour and a half! Granted, my kids fell a million more times and probably only made it around the rink two times at the speed they were going. But the point is they didn't give up ... and by the end, they were doing well!

It was one of the best weekends we'd all had in the long time. And not just because I was excited that my kids showed determination and enthusiasm for a new skill. This weekend taught me, a Toddler Mom who lives by routines and scheduled activities, that sometimes the most memorable experiences happen when you throw all those carefully thought-out plans to the wind, get in the car, and just go.

What was your family's most memorable get-up-and-go adventure?

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