Ice Skating

I used to go ice skating when I was a kid.

So after seeing ice skating featured in a whole bunch of Christmas movies last month I had the idea to take the kids.

This is how I envisioned our afternoon:

crappy-ice-skating

Our scarves would trail behind us as we’d glide around all bundled up in hats and mittens. We’d sip hot cocoa to stay warm.

So cozy and romantic, just like in the movies.

But I didn’t really think this through properly.

Ice skating is simply the worst thing ever.*

*For parents.  

This is what ice skating is really like:

crappy-ice-skating-reality

It’s scary and difficult and everybody feels like they have been lied to.

How did I so easily overlook the facts? How did I get duped by the romanticized version of ice skating shown in movies?

Do you know what ice skating is? In reality?

Ice skating is when you attach razor blades to the bottoms of stiff boots and then try to balance on a slippery, cold surface that is as hard as concrete. For fun.

As if that isn’t stupid enough, I was imagining that hot cocoa would be involved. You know, add a scalding hot liquid to spill on ourselves as we fell and broke things.

And it wasn’t just us.

Here, I’ll zoom out for you:

crappy-ice-skating-los-angeles

The entire surface of the ice was covered with pain and suffering.

Crappy Baby gave up right away and stood on the sidelines with me. After about a half hour, Crappy Boy was slowly starting to skate without holding onto the railing and he actually enjoyed himself. A bit. Well, until he fell down, then he was done too.

We returned our boots and sat down on a bench together to watch the other skaters. We watched people fall down. We watched one woman do twirls and jumps. And we shared a hot cocoa as we watched other families arrive with smiles and leave with tears.

It was cozy and romantic. Just like in the movies.

 

————————-

I was four when I learned to ice skate. But that was in Wisconsin so it isn’t really fair, I had months and months of snow and ice and there was nothing better to do. Ice skating where we live in Southern California involves parking lots and machines to keep the ice frozen for a couple weeks out of the year. It just isn’t the same. I’m quite certain we’d all have much more fun on a real lake. You know, except for the whole possibility of falling through the ice thing. Nevermind.  

 

 

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229 Responses to Ice Skating

  1. Carla says:

    I’ve been skating once (Australia). It was on a school trip. Humiliating.

  2. Brandi says:

    I went ice skating one time. I was 17 and went with a group of friends. It was going to be so much fun. And it was…until I fell and landed on my hands and knees, which slipped out from under me on the ice. My chin hit the ice next, and then my front teeth. One broke and the other was pushed so far backward that I could no longer talk or close my mouth. My parents were an hour away and it was Good Friday, so all the dentist offices were closed, though we did find one that was kind enough to make a trip in for an emergency. Oh, and it was 2 weeks before prom…

    So now that I have kids of my own…we don’t go ice skating. Its far too dangerous.

  3. abby says:

    This is all so very true! I grew up in MA with a pond behind my house. I don’t remember “learning” to skate. My parents tossed me some skates and I skated. No big deal. Now I’ve taken my kids twice on rinks in VA and GA and both times have wanted to stab myself in the eye. I vow never again!! Until maybe they’re like 12 and older.

    • Bonnie says:

      Are you me? I grew up in MA with a pond behind my house and I never “learned” either. My kids are still too young to try. I’m sure our experience will be exactly the same as everyone elses, but I like to learn from my own mistakes ;)

    • Beth Lepich says:

      Me too! Except we had to drive a little bit to the pond. We’ve taken ours a couple of times. Not fun!

      • kim says:

        I lived in MA and we had a pond next door. I remember using double bladed skates until the next youngest needed them then I got “real skates”. We did skate. With bonfires and marshmallows. Couldn’t do it now if my life depended on it.

  4. Ariane says:

    I remember when we took our kids ice skating for the first time a couple of years ago. My daughter (almost 3 at the time) SCREAMED at the top of her lungs the whole time I was lacing up her skates and coaxing her onto the ice. Then she loved it and screamed when it was time to leave. My son (5) held on to the side the whole time. There were a few tears when he fell, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad. (Maybe I just had lower expectations, though.)

  5. Hickepedia says:

    Having skated (ok, fell frequently is a better term) on both frozen ponds and artificial rinks, my impression was that it was much easier to skate/fall on the artificially-frozen ice, since it was smoother. The ponds I’ve fallen frequently on were deathtraps where packed snow, twigs, and other debris lurked for the chance to interrupt what might have been a smooth glide on a less-treacherous surface. Anyone?

    • Ali says:

      I totally agree. I grew up skating at an outdoor rink a few towns away. It was fun, but could be brutally cold & windy. When I was in high school, our town built a new community center with 2 indoor rinks! The best! No wind & smooth ice! During college, my boyfriend took me skating on a pond near his town. I had the romanticized ideas in my head from books & films, but the ice was treacherous! Lumpy & rough with sticks poking up! Rinks rule!

    • Tina says:

      Rinks might be smoother unless they flood a baseball infield to make it. then there are tons of rocks imbedded in the ice to make even the best skaters look like two year olds.

  6. Daliya says:

    I learned how to ice skate when I was 15 after I already had learned how to rollerblade. My friend taught me, who played a lot of hockey, and said I wouldn’t have any issues since I already knew how to roller blade. So we went out on this frozen pond near my house and laced up some hockey skates super tight, And she was right … Until I realized I didn’t know how to stop! When I frantically yelled out to my friend where the brakes were she said there weren’t any on hockey skates, reminding me of “the Cutting Edge” (tooeeee pickkkkkk!). So I did the next logical thing and fell on purpose. There was a lot of falling on purpose that afternoon.

  7. Josh says:

    Was your ice skating story meant to be humerous? I was disgusted. All I heard you say is that it was too much effort to try and teach a very enjoyable pastime to your children, essentially instilling in them a one and done attitude, too much work I quit…. They won’t get far in life without learning that working hard is needed to achieve success. Same goes for all the quitter mom’s who have posted above. What terrible attitudes. Good Luck

    • amber says:

      I know, you are absolutely right. I should be ashamed that I won’t push my kids to work hard to achieve success in ice skating even though they have no interest in it. Thank you for helping me to see the light. I’m going to go shoot myself now.

      • Ben says:

        I thought you were falling for the troll bait until I got to the last line. Nicely done!

      • Ali says:

        Amber, you are the best!!! (And I love Crappy Baby’s coordinating ear muffs, scarf, and mittens! Hilarious!)

      • Jenna says:

        “…even though they have no interest in it..” AND YOU LIVE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA..
        where like, there’s no ice..um, EVER… except indoors..
        You must be so ashamed of yourself for failing to teach your California kids how to ICE SKATE. … ;-)
        Now, if the post had been about surfing or skate boarding, or picking avocados, maybe the troll would have a point. Hmmm. No.. he’s just a troll. Carry on.
        ;-)

      • Carla says:

        Don’t do it, Amber. I look forward to reading your posts.

    • angie says:

      I hate ice skating – it’s cold, it’s dangerous, it hurts when you fall down. Meh, not interested. If the kids want to do it when they are older, feel free, but don’t try to guilt me into feeling obligated to teach them to ice skate.

      What are you a disgruntled figure skater or something?

    • Ali says:

      Josh, you troll, go away!

    • Micki says:

      Then move along Josh. No one needs your judgement.

    • Mandy says:

      Actually, it was rather humerous. You just can’t see the humor in it. Our visions of fantasy are visions of grandour, so we fall really hard when we realize this isn’t the way it really is. Honestly, if you can’t laugh at your mistakes like she did, what’s the point? When the kids are older and can make a choice of I don’t want to do this because I have no interest in it vs I’m giving up too easily then you can instill those values in them. Right now they are kids, they need to be having fun, and if they aren’t it’s not worth it.

    • Kari says:

      Wow, Josh. I hope you don’t reproduce. I feel sorry for any kids you may have. Chill out.

    • stefanie says:

      Somebody missed nap time.

    • Tish says:

      There are a lot of activities people might consider “an enjoyable pastime” but there is no obligation to teach them to our children.

    • Lauren says:

      It’s a recreational activity. Since when did we start making all “enjoyable pastimes” mandatory when the kids ARE NOT ENJOYING them?! That doesn’t even make sense! Knowing when to cut your losses is vital as a parent. Stubbornly forcing “fun” on children (and moms) only leads to frustration.

      I’ll bet these kids do go far in life, and I’ll bet it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they were forced to ice skate.

  8. tara says:

    Ugh, what is it about ice skating? I fall for it every time too! It sounds so fun and romantic and then you fall really hard on your bum. My sister is actually pretty good, so the last time I went it was fun to watch her. But otherwise, I’ll just take the hot cocoa.

  9. heldinhisgrip says:

    A few years ago our church group decided to have a Christmas party at the ice rink. We envisioned a romantic evening of skating as couples and sipping hot chocolate. (None of us had kids at the time.) The reality? One couple ended up in the ER because the wife’s slate sliced open the husband’s wrist, and another couple went home with food poisoning. (Not really the fault of the ice skating, but it still put a damper on everything to have them running for the bathrooms to puke.) Needless to say, no one has suggested we try that idea again!

  10. panda says:

    Booooo to Josh. Boooooooooo!

  11. sally says:

    ha. funny story. the drawing of crappy baby with his legs spread out it spot on. we took my 3 year old roller skating, and it was pretty much the same thing. he couldn’t even stand up, his legs were like a baby deer. we went around a few times but I couldn’t support him for much longer. what a workout !
    now he’s 5, we almost went ice skating this winter, but we didn’t because it was too crowded (another temp arena where everyone goes- don’t have frozen lakes nearby).
    what they do for kids here (ice skating and roller skating): they have little walkers that kids can use to hold themselves up, (with tennis balls stuck on the legs- just like, uh… real walkers that I see people use)

  12. Karen says:

    We *DO* live in the midwest where we have a lot more opportunity for ice skating than you do but still we don’t do it often. I think Crappy Baby might be too young, I think 7-8 is when you really can get the hang of it, but that’s if you go several times a year. My brother broke his wrist while ice skating when we were kids so I’m probably extra cautious.

  13. liz says:

    LOL, this exact thing happened to us last week! Did you go to the one in Beverly Hills? It was a mad zoo with kids crying and falling down. Nobody had fun, I agree, the most fun part is just watching other people. I don’t think people in Los Angeles are meant to ice skate. ;)

  14. Megan Smith says:

    I love that Crappy Baby is still in standard attire – sans shirt :)

  15. angie says:

    I never liked ice skating as a kid. Your description of the razors on boots cracked me up! It’s so true!

  16. Han says:

    LMFAO at the picture of the mayhem on ice! That is just what those rinks are like, I don’t know why people do it. For the photo opps maybe?

  17. Sarah W. says:

    We live in Connecticut and I’ve never taken my kids ice skating. Part of me wants to because I imagine it to be like your first picture, but I know it will be more like your last picture! lol!

  18. Ben says:

    Our daughter fell on her cousin’s skate while ice-skating last year and sliced open her thigh. Our first ice-skating experience involved an ER visit and 14 stitches. We win.

  19. Trina says:

    I’ll be the odd man out, but we love ice skating! My kids are older than yours at 9 & 11 but they’ve really gotten good at it. We go at least a few times each winter to the lake near our house so it helps to have easy access. They smooth the ice on half the lake so it is easy to skate on, no sticks or bumps that other peopel were mentioning above. Come to Chicago and we’ll teach you how to skate in no time!

    • BK says:

      Us too! Actually, hockey because my son is learning to ice skate just so he can play hockey. We’re Canadian. ;)

    • Gwen says:

      Minnesotan family here who ice skates! I think my kids were around four or five when they first started learning. They were so bundled up in winter clothes that falling down didn’t hurt.

      • Candace says:

        That is an important difference, in Florida where I live it is a warm day when we ice skate so nobody gets bundled in extra layers of padding! It HURTS when we fall!

        • amber says:

          True. We don’t even own things like snow pants.

          • Robonanny says:

            That’s why the ideal age to teach them is when they’re about 18 months – falling over is still normal and your butt is padded with a nappy. Those extra layers help!! But hey, it’s not for everyone…

    • rachel says:

      NOT the odd man out! my mom took me skating when I was about 8 and I was hooked. learn-to-skate lessons and then many awesome years of competitive figure skating. I LOVE sharing it with my kids. They all love it too, not that they are particularly good at it, but my 8 year old daughter has recently asked to take lessons. I think it definitely helps if they know how to ride a bike already(without training wheels). having that body awareness and ability to balance yourself while moving is a BIG help.

      • Jenni says:

        Haha! Rachel I was about to send you this posting – but I see you already found it! :)

      • Maria says:

        I’m also from SoCal and never ice skated in my life. so when my daughter was 3 years old and asked to go, I figured I should pay someone to do it safely otherwise we’d hurt ourselves. She’s 6.5 now and trains almost everyday, all year round (we live in europe). I actually thought about stopping this insanity but she.will.not.have.it.

  20. Nicole says:

    Confession: My kids have never been ice skating and neither have I. We live in Hawaii so I’m sure many kids have never been surfing and we have that covered! Didn’t you say you were in southern cali? Don’t sweat it.

  21. BK says:

    You should take them again! Don’t just go once and give up!

    • amber says:

      We took them twice last year and twice this year. Each time it has been just as bad as the time before. Does it actually get better? LOL

      • Candace says:

        Hold the phone, you’ve done this to yourself FOUR times? You are a better mother than I’ll ever be!

      • S says:

        Amber, it DOES get better. All three of my kids skate, and they all had lessons. Learn-to-skate is the way to do it. My daughter has stuck with it, and now she skates at a high level on a synchronized figure skating team. She travels nationally and internationally to compete. She was three when I signed her up for her first learn-to-skate session. Each week, she laid down on the ice and cried almost the entire lesson. I was surprised when she wanted to do another session. Now she lives for it. My older boy speed skated for a while and got pretty good at it. Now he has moved on to guitar. My younger boy has done both speed skating and figure skating (still figure skates) but will probably land on swimming. I’m glad all three will always be able to put on a pair of skates and enjoy the ice. It’s a process; like anything, it takes time to learn how to do it.

        • S says:

          Forgot to mention – the best day for mom was the day all three kids could pull their laces tight enough to tie their own skates!

          • Maria says:

            I’m still waiting for this day! Could it be an individual thing? My daughter cannot play ball to save her life.

  22. Tina S. says:

    You’ve got to find a place that has those walker things for the kids to hold onto. It’s impossible to balance a kid and yourself, those will make your life so much easier and save your back, Momma! That is, if the kidlets want to give it another go!

    • MandyPandy says:

      Us northerners have the walkers… the southerners only skate a couple of weeks of the year if that. They probably don’t have them or the pylons either.

    • Christa says:

      We live in the U.P. of Michigan, and we use folding chairs for kids to hold on to! LOL

    • Katrina T. says:

      We have an outdoor pond that is maintained here in our small Colorado ski town that we love to skate on. (No crowds, beautiful bluebird weather, free admission, and yes, we always bring hot cocoa!) The first time we went, my youngest was only a year old so we pushed her in a stroller. BINGO!! Strollers make awesome skating walkers! Now the stroller is essential equipment every year.

  23. Candace says:

    Good grief this is hilarious, we live in Florida and had the exact same experience as you did in a parking lot style rink recently. I think a lot of these comments will be regionally based with the northerners loving to skate and the southerners being terrible at it!

    • amber says:

      Yes, good point! If it is always 80+ degrees outside we have a perfectly legitimate excuse not to ever learn to ice skate.

    • Olivia says:

      I grew up in the south of France and still learnt to ice skate at the local rink with a coach. I don’t think my parents dared teaching us… I love ice skating even though I’m not very good at it or go very often.

      I was thinking of bringing my 3 year old to ice skate one week end and had the same romanticized idea about it. Thanks Amber for making me see the reality! I think I’ll wait a bit longer…

  24. Heidi says:

    My best story involves a sprained wrist…but I kept skating. So I don’t have a very good story, like yours. :)

  25. Jackie says:

    I feel the same way about skiing!

    • I grew up in Illinois, so people would always come back from skiing over Christmas break in Wisconsin–broken and bruised. Anything that requires you to strap long, skinny bits of wood or metal to your feet before throwing yourself headlong onto an icy surface (particularly a sloped one!) seems like madness to me, too!

  26. Fenny says:

    My brother started skating when he went to junior school and somehow managed to persuade Dad to take us to the Saturday morning sessions. I was 6 and clung to Dad like it was the end of the world. Dad was heroic and carried on taking us.

    When I was 7 and went to junior school, I had skating lessons, so I was able to move independently and Dad could just drop us off on a Saturday morning and run away. I think he was intensely happy when I decided school skating lessons were enough and joined the Saturday morning Scottish Dance class. Dancing was his thing and he could do the shopping while I was there for 90 minutes.

    Now, skating gives me migraines!

  27. Elias says:

    Pro Tip: Avoid roller skating too. The roller rink is an evil death trap.

  28. Bill says:

    Normally I LOVE your posts.

    And while I can appreciate the humor in the event, having taken my three kids skating numerous times, I think you may be exaggerating just a tad. If not, then I just lost a little respect for you as your account is really quite disturbing.

    As mentioned, I’ve taken all three of my kids to the rink and 9 times out of 10 they love it. There are walkers they can use to help them stay balanced as they learn. There are plenty of places for them to stop and take a break. It really can be a great family outing. And most of the other kids there seem to be having a great time. And yes, you can take breaks for hot chocolate, but no person in their right mind would consider taking a drink on the ice.

    But hey … one bad experience is the perfect excuse teach your kids to quit and give up on what can be a great time.

    Looking forward to your next post.

    • Candace says:

      I don’t think it is exaggerated. I live in Florida and went to a similar parking lot rink and it was a disaster. Everyone was crying and we don’t have those walker things here.

    • Liz says:

      Jesus, Amber, who are these trolls commenting on your blog lately? And notice they are all men?

      “If not, then I just lost a little respect for you as your account is really quite disturbing.”

    • Elias says:

      Dear Bill,

      Please leave and stop trying to pee in our Cheerios.

    • Ali says:

      Bill, lighten up! Or better yet, go troll a political blog!

    • S says:

      Bill – I don’t think she’s exaggerating. As a mom who spends many hundreds of hours in rinks each year in order to support her kiddos, I have witnessed the scene illustrated above many times. Lighten up. Laugh at it! Helping a kid get started in skating can test any parent’s patience. Only a few kids take off like they were born knowing how to do it. For most of us, the pay-off comes much later (after we’ve forked over an unmentionable amount of money on coaches). Skating for our family has been a journey, and I for one like to look back at the hard parts of the journey and laugh!

    • Maria says:

      I don’t think she’s exaggerating at all!! After spending 7 hours a week in a professional ice rink, almost all year long, we went ice skating in san diego when visiting my parents: everything she writes in her post is true! If that had been my daughter’s first experience on the ice, our lives would be much different now.

  29. Jessica says:

    Awww, this makes me want to go skating…by myself, without the kids. I grew up in North Dakota and spent a good portion of my child- and adolescent-hood at the ice skating rink. Of course, most of that time was spent scoping out the cute hockey players… but I digress. I really enjoyed your post! I might just break out the old skates.

  30. Lisa says:

    I grew up ice skating on a creek for a good chunk of the winter, but haven’t skated in 20 years. Last year I had the brilliant idea I’d take not just my own 2 kids, but my neighbor boy as well.
    It went better than expected, largely because I rented 2 of the penguin shaped helper things. Always rent the penguin things.

    This year I took my kids and husband, who admitted ONCE ON THE ICE he’s never skated. And the penguin things were all sold out. I left the more capable kid with him and she showed him how it’s done. Sort of.

    • Briony says:

      Yes yes, you need the penguines. Just took my 2 boys (who are both about 6 months younger than yours 2 Amber) ice skating at the new rink in London over Christmas hols. I was worried it was a bad idea, me on my own with a 2 3/4 year old and a 6 year old who’d never skated, and the little one was a bit too young. but the 6 year old raced round pushing the penguin, and after an hour when they took it away, he could skate on his own! Meanwhile I turned the other penguin round, and the 2 year old stood on its flippers whilst I pushed him round to his delight. That was 3 weeks ago, and they are still taking about it daily and pretend to ice skate on slippery surfaces.

  31. Dawn S. says:

    I just made this same mistake over Christmas this year. Took my daughter to the local skating rink, as soon as I entered the building I had a sudden realization that I had just made a mistake. Luckily after waiting 40 minutes we got one of the little “walker” types things so she could skate holding onto that. After about an hour of her feeling comfortable with her walker and my thinking “hey, I may be getting the hang of this” we decided to go around the rink walkerless, about 10 seconds in we were both on the ground. My little 5 year old says “we better go back!”. Oh, and it was a Christmas theme so all the lights were out and it was all lit just by christmas lights, getting our shoes and things was a joke, I couldnt see anything. Chalk it up to a lesson learned, the two of us headed to Jamba Juice and laughed it off.

  32. Leah says:

    We live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where hockey leagues start at age 3. I thought about getting skates for my kiddos for Christmas (probably start with the double-bladed ones), but I was staring at the skates with visions of split lips and missing teeth in my head and decided that next year would be good enough.

  33. Ron says:

    This post was retarded. Way to teach your kids to quit and never learn anything worth doing. You are a poor excuse for a mother.

    • Liz says:

      I can’t even…

    • Heather says:

      Why don’t you go away and find something to do rather than troll on a parenting blog?

    • Elias says:

      Come on Ron, your life can’t truly be that vapid, can it?

    • Meagan says:

      You do not belong here Ron. Go away, shoo!

    • Megan says:

      Who are these people who have clearly NEVER read your blog before? I took my 5 and 3 year olds ice skating this year and my experience was exactly like this. Plus, the rink was PACKED (not conducive to kids who have never skated before), and, HELLO!, not every skating rink offers the little walkers for kids who are just learning!! I ‘d never even heard of them til now! And I hope to god this person isn’t teaching his/her children that using words like “retarded” is acceptable.

      • April says:

        I think they’re all the same person posting under different names. A troll with too much time on his hands and not enough productive things to do.

  34. Betsy Luczaj says:

    We have been skating a lot this year, but I live in Wisconsin and there are two outdoor rinks at the park that have been very frozen naturally. I like to skate, but I hate putting on and taking off the skates. Between my two kids and most likely at least one friend of kids, I spend 20 minutes de-booting and cramming feet into skates while being stabbed, poked and freezing my fingers trying to the all the laces. Then we skate for 20 minutes. Then I spend another 20 minutes de-skating while being stabbed and freezing fingers off untying laces. It’s a good workout with lots of fresh air and reminds me that I have to stay zen and calm if I ever want to be warm again. You have the romantic memories because it was the funnest part of winter here! Oh, and my sister just broke her wrist while skating with her son last week.

    • Jenna says:

      “and reminds me that I have to stay zen and calm if I ever want to be warm again.”

      Love this. :-)

      • Betsy Luczaj says:

        My zen and calm are challenged severely putting on skates…especially last week when school was cancelled for 3 days because it was so cold.

  35. Michelle Zaagman says:

    I’m SO proud of my 2 year old for learning how to skate. We are in Michigan so there’s plenty of opportunity. My husband also works at an ice rink so I went once a week for free and about broke my back bending down holding our son up week after week. Yeesh! Anyways, now is the fun part :)

    • Rachel says:

      I’m glad he enjoyed it! I’ve been a figure skater for over 20 years and still love it! I’ve taught skating classes to tots and your back does pay lol

  36. Sara says:

    I live in California so I DON’T have to ice skate or be bothered by my kids asking me to take them ice skating.

  37. Jo says:

    I find ice skating EXTREMELY BORING – it has outward allure but no substance… there are a million better things to do!

    • S says:

      Hmmm – boring? No substance? No sure what you mean by “ice skating” but if you mean figure skating, you must be quite a talent to have mastered rockers, counters, choctaws, twizzles, flying spins, and triple jumps – all while being bored. If you mean speed skating, I applaud your precise form, agility and quick mind to complete clean passes on a short track without get disqualified. Haven’t mastered these things? Perhaps you lack the discipline to master anything as substantive as ice skating. Or perhaps you simply don’t know what you are talking about.

  38. Jenn says:

    That is exactly what our “fun” evening of ice skating looked like! My five-year-old looked like a baby giraffe on wheels. She was all legs in every direction – one leg sideways, the other backwards. She’d gather her posture for a split second before losing her balance again to perform some sort of cartoonish dance in a whirlwind of legs and arms flailing. All while holding onto my arms for dear life. I am surprised I didn’t fall too!

  39. Cheri says:

    I had the double bladed ice skates when I was a kid. What happened to those? It is so much easier for kids to stay up.

    • Betsy Luczaj says:

      They still have them for toddlers, but forget it if your kid is over 5. Baptism by fire if you try to teach your kids too late (according to skate manufacturers!)

  40. Heather says:

    I loathe ice skating and I will never take my kids. So there, feel better?

  41. Mabel says:

    Growing up in CA my sister and I used to go skating in rinks everyone in a while, so we knew how to skate, but we weren’t experts. When were were teenagers we decided to take my younger brother and sister ice skating for the first time. My sister fell on my brother and broke his leg. It was the last time we ever took them. :-(

  42. MandyPandy says:

    LOL! I too dont remember learning to skate, as far as I can remember, I’ve always been able to lol. I haven’t taught my boys hpw to skate yet. They’re 2, 4 and 8. They just have zero interest in it… and we live in Canada… 6 months of winter here… my kids are strange lol. I love your blog Amber <3

  43. Sherry W. says:

    I just love the pictures of the family!
    We live in Ontario, Canada so I suppose skating is just part of the norm here. This is not to say that the first handful of times we go that they aren’t crying or falling. Any activity they choose is better than being home cleaning, LOL. So far 4 of the kids have been on the ice (5th is only 3 months, so he has a year to go). On a side note my husband used to teach hockey to 5 and 6 year olds as a job so we have an unfair advantage ;)
    Keep the posts coming, I always get such enjoyment from reading your blog!

  44. Kari says:

    I loved ice skating when I was younger. I only got to go once, and I was about 12(?) I really got the hang of it quickly. It was a field trip for multiple grades at our school. TONS of kids on ice skates. One of the boys a year older than me fell face first. He sliced his chin open on the back of another kid’s skate. Not trying to scare you, but if you decide to take them again when they’re older, have them keep their distance…

  45. andrea mann says:

    so when my husband and i were dating, he took me ice skating as a romantic fun thing to do. this was not the first, nor the last, time he did something he is incapable of or hates to try to impress me.
    i was great at it. he death gripped my hand and arm as well as the sides. he also accidentally pinned some kid to the wall and made him cry. it didn’t turn out to be the skating around holding hands romantic time he had pictured.

    • amber says:

      That’s hilarious. Skating is often portrayed as the classic romantic date, I was always skeptical about that. Your husband is a keeper.

    • Mel in Oz says:

      HeeHee.. I live in Australia.. Went ice-skating as a “zany” second date.. fell.. broke my coccyx.. got totally grumpy.. no romance at all in ice skating.. Stuck to the beach for all other romances :-)

  46. Jennifer says:

    WTF, who are all these dipshit fun-suckers. “Uh, you suck cuz you quit Am-Ber! You are a super sucky mom!” (read in dumb man-voice) What a bunch of a**holes, LOL. I am from the mid-west, my kids BEGGED me to go skating, we have CHL Hockey here and they love to go watch the games. Note to others, 3 and 5 year olds can’t skate for S#@T, ugh! I don’t skate, period, so they were on their own out there, crying and falling and totally hating life. This winter, my youngest again with the “why can’t we go ice-skating mom!? I’m FOUR now!” Uh, don’t you remember how much you hated it? So, I’ll take them again, and let them suffer and cry while I watch from the side lines, lol.

    • amber says:

      LOL “crying and falling and totally hating life” that’s exactly it. Watching from the sidelines will be much easier on my back, will try that if they ever ask to go again.

  47. Lyz says:

    I grew up in Alaska and attempted to get into ice skating. I just could not keep my balance. My idea of “skating” was baby-stepping around the rink on my double-bladed skates, arms stretched out like a tightrope walker, and teeth clenched in fear. Even doing that, I still spent more time on my behind than I did on my feet. Needless to say, I wasn’t any better at rollerskating either.

    It is funny how you get those “romantic” notions in your head of how everything will go. Like my boys and horseback riding. I LOVE riding horses and I thought they might enjoy it too. I had this great mental image of us when they were older, all enjoying the gorgeous trails in the springtime! We had a stable five minutes from our house, so why not let them try lessons?

    Oh, the harshness of reality.

    My oldest got bored and quit after a few months, and my youngest never wanted to get on a horse again after one ride – he was terrified because his horse kept trying to bite me!

  48. Jenna says:

    The drawing details in this post are so adorable. And my FAVORITE part is: “here i’ll zoom out for you”..
    HAHAHAA. I about choked on my water when i read that.
    Too cute.

  49. Alexandra says:

    Lol, love it. The first time my oldest wanted…neeeeeeeeded to ice skate – because she was going to be a famous ice skater when she grew up, as a result of having watched Minnie Mouse glide beautifully in some movie (Yes! A CARTOON is what she aspired to).

    I sat her down and said, “I’m going to take you. But I want you to know how it’s going to be. You’re going to take one step on the ice. And then fall. You’ll get up. Then fall. Up again, then fall. You’ll get wet, your clothes will be soaked, you’ll want to cry. You may even cry, and you’ll definitely walk away with a sore butt & knees at a minimum. But eventually, after falling & falling & falling, you’ll be up more than down. And then you’ll enjoy it.”

    I totally thought she’d reconsider the whole thing, and decide to go back to being a famous singer instead. To my surprise, we went, she fell repeatedly, and because I told her that she was going to fall the whole afternoon, she was in a great mood and had a fantastic time. In fact I started saying, “hey! You fell again! Nice work! I think you’re getting it now!” while I dragged the youngest around the rink between my knees with her feet barely touching.

    Now we still clump around on the ice the couple times a year we go (not graceful), but most of the time nobody falls.

    Oh, and she’s now decided she’s going to be a famous artist. I guess Minnie Mouse doesn’t have the same amount of attraction to the tween set. ;-)

    • amber says:

      This is lovely and such smart parenting, Alexandra! Thank you for this, it is a brilliant approach to things that are hard work. Will definitely be using.

    • hay says:

      Yup. Amazing. I will be utilizing this strategy with both of my girls. Thank you for sharing!

    • Mercy says:

      Ha. That is also why my kids wanted to learn to skate – from seeing Minnie Mouse. But living in India meant they had to try roller skating instead. Most tortuous 3 months of my life. I was so happy they didn’t want to go for the next round of lessons, mainly because of the stress of getting them to finish the classes they had so eagerly signed up for in the first place.

  50. Beth says:

    Bwahaha!! So true! When we first enrolled our oldest son in skating, it was so much fun to watch. They all seem to stand well enough. That is until one kid falls over and knocks all the other kids over. It’s like watching bowling. :)

    I just received your book in the mail today. I love it! Thanks for making me laugh!

  51. Sharon says:

    And I’ve been thinking about taking my 4 year old. Thanks for talking some sense into me and saving me some dough.

  52. Kim says:

    I have to agree with the commentors above. This is a sad post. It is everythign that is wrong with todays’ parents. Parents today don’t teach their kids anything, they just drop them off at school and expect society to deal with them and raise them. This is the perfect example of lazy parenting at its worst. Maybe if you gave a crap about teaching kids they’ll grow up to be functining members of society.

    • Lisa says:

      It’s funny that you say that when this blogger HOME SCHOOLS her kids and spends all day teaching them things herself! hahahahahahah

      • amber says:

        Hey, I was going to point that out, you beat me to it. :)

        So funny!

        • Betsy Luczaj says:

          You did take your kids out to try and realized you all don’t like it! Sounds like memories being made and the lesson of kids learning what they like is now “bad parenting”.

    • Meg says:

      It is obvious that you don’t belong here. Who are you to judge about teaching when your comment is so riddled with errors that I can barely read it? The word “functioning” was spelled wrong which is so funny I can’t handle it.

    • Jen says:

      WTF, seriously?

  53. Lisa says:

    I love how crappy baby is skating around bare chested in his shorts, it makes it even funnier.

    We live in Canada in the city with the biggest outdoor skating rink in the world. Last year we put our 3 year old in skates and let her loose and she started skating by herself instantly. I think it’s because they spend so much time slipping around on the actual ground trying not to fall over 6 months a year that they pick it up so quickly with skates on their feet. She still can’t swim at all.

  54. Erica says:

    Not an ice skating fan, so glad we live in Texas where it isn’t even an option!

    • Anon says:

      Your comment made me chuckle. You must not live in Dallas. My kiddo plays hockey here on a couple of teams and we practically live at the rink. There are half a dozen ice rinks with a 20 min drive.

      Amber, you definitely need to find some large buckets to take with you for the kiddos to push while they skate – will totally save your back.

  55. Kim says:

    Here’s what you do: ask the rink if they have something for the kids to learn with. It’s like a walker for ice skating, or (more often) a five gallon bucket. They lean on their bucket and push it around. Parents don’t break their backs. There is less falling down for *everyone.* I still don’t take my kids skating much, because I don’t enjoy it any more, and they don’t care. But it doesn’t *have* to be horrible.

  56. Liza Allen says:

    We haven’t tried ice skating together but we have gone rollerskating with much the same results minus the cold.
    I loved rollerskating when I was a kid and was sad that we weren’t going to share the romantic vision I held. Then I discovered there was a one hour lesson for a buck before the public skating session.
    So much better to let an adult that is not going home with the the kid torture and encourage. My daughter has steadily improved and we now enjoy our time at the rink.

  57. Lori says:

    I live in San Diego and had that same exact experience last year and my kids have been begging to go for the last couple months. I am resisting since I remember how much my back hurt from bending over to hold the 4-year old, but that romanticized idea is still there…..enticing me to go back because it will get better. Luckily I have an easy excuse (pregnancy) to put it off a tiny bit longer. But I am sure professional lessons will be in our future.

  58. Lisa says:

    Start with rollerskating…with wrist protectors :-)

    • amber says:

      Yeah, I’m still a much better rollerskater than ice skater. I learned to rollerskate on the kitchen linoleum – we took out the table and chairs. Do they still make those terrible (and fun) skates that you strap onto shoes? I’ll have to check!

      • Kae says:

        I love roller skating!! I swear it’s why I had a child, so that I’d have someone to go with me since my hubby won’t!

        Also, the negative people talking about this post are just wrong. They need (at least) two things:

        1- a sense of humor
        2- a life

        Love your blog!!!

        • Debbie says:

          Plus, I got the impression going ice skating was an OUTING, not a bunch of coached lessons. Just an outing. Like bowling. Or miniature golf. Or karaoke.

      • Audrey says:

        My local rink has some plastic strap-on skates for the super little kids. I don’t think they’re readily available for larger feet anymore though, at least in the US. My husband brought me back a pair from a trip to Spain, and they’re really not particularly functional, but I was tickled right to death by the thought.

  59. Gabrielle says:

    At least you took them to the real ice… plastic “synthetic ice” floors just make me sad.
    And the first time I took my littles, one towed me down (of course). When I sat forcefully and abruptly on my own rental-skate-clad heel, the blade stabbed me in the thigh and I bled all over my pants. Fun!

  60. LilyT says:

    Love your story, Amber, you can always put humor and perspective into everything. Doing new activities that work better with close supervision while having more than one child is always a challenge. Suggestion for when you fall for the romance of ice skating next time: (and this fits in so well with our overprotective culture): I took my little guys with all their board gear – helmet, knee, wrist, and elbow pads – and gloves. The rink had those stacks of 5 gallon buckets to hold on to, which is genius. (the walkers do not have enough stability and there’s something really wrong about seeing a tipped over walker!) Seriously, they’ll love it then. My kids have loved it since and are excited to try new techniques (yay winter olympics). (Honestly, this is not a one-upping story because let them go once without the pads and thought he fractured his kneecap, heh.) We still go back though and they still love it.

  61. Ardeniia says:

    I never even thought people in warmer climates would bother with ice skating. I thought it was listed as a ‘special skill’ in Hollywood :) I’m from Finland. Everyone knows how to skate. Like, everyone. At least a little bit. I have a photo of me when I was about three, taken just I fell on my butt on I’ve with my white shiny skates on. I do not look happy. I don’t expect my daughter to have a lot of fun on her first time (she’s three and were going out to buy her first pair of skates tomorrow). We skate in school, we play hockey we do the twirling and circling around – because there isn’t much else to do in the winter months. But ski. Cross country ski :D
    But see, I don’t surf. It looks like fun, can’t be done here. I think we need to give our kids experiences, bad ones teach us just the same as good ones.
    Thank you for a fun read – again.

  62. Dina S. says:

    My two have been taking skating lessons for a couple of years now. It’s more enjoyable (really anything is) when you’ve been taught the right way to do it. Makes the school’s annual ice skating trip less traumatic.

  63. Ardeniia says:

    Sorry. I’m on my phone and words got jumbled somehow :(

  64. CrazyCurls says:

    I’m form a caribbean island (read NO ICE) livign in CO. My children were born in CO…I work in a college with a hockey team. So I decided “why not! I dont nor will I even venture, but maybe my kids???”
    They were four..and thank goodness for the buckets… they had a blast putting their bellies on the buckets and propelling themselves accross the ice. Well they had a blast, I did…the teacher was mortified! ha!

  65. Meg says:

    Did this post get shared on some other site that sent a whole bunch of jerks here or something? Sheesh! It’s just ice skating and the writer lives in California! Who cares if they didn’t have a good time or if her kids never learn to ice skate? It isn’t any of your business to judge!

  66. Irene says:

    We live in San Diego, CA and I see no reason to teach my kids to ice skate in one of those overcrowded parking lot rinks. For the record, I’ve never seen those walker helpers people are talking about!

    The judgey comments of people saying how you are a lazy parent for not teaching them to skate can kiss my butt. My kids can swim and surf. Can theirs?

  67. Sara says:

    We live near Chicago. My husband has played hockey all his life. I do not ice skate ever since I fell and hit my head on the ice in 7th grade giving myself a concussion… So I’m about as bad as your kids (except for when I went on dates with hockey guys who I clung to for dear life. A little romantic;). My husband enrolled our 3yo in lessons this winter, needless to say, he has to take her to all lessons.

    As for all those people talking about those walkers, double-bladed skates, etc: they don’t allow those at our rinks, maybe because they’re indoor? IDK, but be cool, it’s not an option for everyone.

  68. Alana says:

    Oh, I love it, this was just how my experience went a few weeks ago. We live in New Mexico so just like you, not a whole lot of opportunity to learn. It was horrible! Absolutely horrible! Thanks for the laughs!

  69. Bea says:

    I took my daughter ice skating once and nearly broke my back bending over! No walkers or buckets or anything here either. No thank you!

  70. Kiinu says:

    I learned to skate on double bladed ice skates. I’m going to be looking for them for my son next year.

    While I AM in MA I grew up in the city, so there weren’t any ponds in my backyard. the local rink used to do $2 saturdays and my parents would drop us off once we were older, but the rink only had 4 or 5 of the PVC ‘walkers’. they however, had TONS of plastic milk-crates. we used to stack them to the appropriate height and then use them for balance.

  71. Jen says:

    Who knew ice skating would be such a hot button topic? :)

    Crappy Momma, I think you’re going to have to start writing those disclaimers again to shut up the trolls. Especially if you write about something really controversial, like swimming or baseball!

    I thought it was a perfect description of what it is like for Californians (or any warm/no ice location) trying to ice skate! My husband grew up near San Diego and he never ice skated in his entire life. He is a functioning member of society despite this flaw. ;)

  72. Andrea says:

    I live in Central Coast and we went ice-skating too with our 3 year old. I grew up in Slovakia, so kind of like Wisconsin with real winter present each year. The funniest thing here was to watch ALL the people flail and crash and fall on their faces. There were maybe 2 people out of 50 who had somewhat of an idea what to do. Complete hilarity. But I so appreciate the spirit!!

  73. Lauren says:

    Thanks for the warning!! I live in southern California, but my memories of ice skating are from when I lived in Illinois. I kept thinking I should really take my son (he’s 3) and now I see the peril narrowly avoided! Perhaps I’ll wait a bit… or a lot!

    I actually still hated ice skating. Only because I so distinctly remember my “friends” skating away from me and giggling. It wasn’t the ice’s fault at least!

  74. Marty says:

    What works pretty well is to bring a chair on the ice, one that will slide fairly easily. (Our local rink allows this.) The child pushes the chair around the rink, and magically learns to skate. The chair is stable enough so that the kid can use lean on it and not fall down. Saves the parents’ backs — holding up a small child on the ice is pretty painful after a while.

    In skating lessons, usually the first thing that teachers do is to have kids sit on the ice and figure out how to stand up by themselves. Once they figure that out — it’s not easy! — they’re ready to try moving. It usually takes a lesson or two to get that far, though.

    Also, a helmet removes a LOT of the fear of falling — speeds up the learning process.

    • Kate says:

      We live in Ontario, and I also started teaching the kids using the small plastic children’s chairs, and helmets, and two bladed skates (which I called bobskates, but I don’t know if that’s a universal name), and naturally, winter coats and snow pants (ie warmth and cushioning). It was still tricky, but not nearly as painful as Amber’s experience. The equipment and know-how you just naturally have in a northern area is just not there in the southern areas. I would have identical issues approaching teaching my kids to surfboard.
      ps I LOVED the reader post that coached the children about falling.

  75. Marianna says:

    Wow, how timely. I just had my daughter’s 6 year old birthday party last Saturday, at the ice rink. None of the kids had ice skated prior. My daughter herself was in tears for the first 15 min (even though she’s skated before). That’s the other problem, even if you’ve gone before, you instantly forget that you actually know how to do it somewhat. There was a lot of wall clinging and some falling, but yes, the big tears from hard falls came at the end. Lucky for me though, there was food waiting for them after that ordeal.

  76. Erin C. says:

    My very first day visiting my BFF in the Netherlands I went ice skating on a frozen canal. It’s a freaking national pastime over there! I knew how to skate, so it should have been fine… Until a dog leaped up on me and I fell and broke my wrist. The bonus was I got to see a Dutch hospital:) Oh, and spend the next month in Holland in a cast while riding around on the back of a scooter since we had no car!

  77. Jessie says:

    My last skating adventure with my 3 year old involved talking to other parents about our kids’ NHL prospects. Then again we are Canadian LOL. So talk of hockey starts when we find out we’re having a boy during an ultrasound. My husband bought my son his first Canadiens jersey before he was born and when we were dating he told me he wanted to have just enough kids for a hockey team. That’s not happening.

    Love your blog :)

  78. Alicia says:

    The first time I took my boys iceskating. All we accomplished was putting on the skates. They were maybe three and four. They whined and cried until we took the skates off. My husband decided he would never try one of my “bright ideas” again. I took them a back the next year and they actualy got on the ice. After a few times I got them these cool velcro ice skates (no laces) and would take them a few times a month on Friday nights in the winter. Now they are almost 10 and 12 and they can skate reasonably well. Repeat with skiing. Repeat with anything. Even experts began as novices.

  79. Nicola says:

    Took all three kids skating (on a frozen lake – we live in Edmonton Alberta) last year. It was exactly the image above. I kept thinking, we live in Edmonton, you NEEEEEED to know how to do this and have memories of this. THIS is amazing. THIS is fun.

    We will not be doing it again.

    • Frances says:

      Ha. I grew up north of Edmonton. Don’t skate on lakes unless they flood them,mine ice is awful. The trick is to find a nice double outdoor rink (one for hockey, one for the rest of us) with a warm-up shack and a toboggan hill. Then when the kids decide they hate skating you have something fun to do and they will think you are a rock star. Yes, I learned this trick from my parents…speed skaters, both of them.

      Warning: my small boy outgrew his first TWO pairs of skates because, well, sledding. This year he’s in lessons in an arena, far, far from anything with snow and/or slope.

  80. Erin says:

    I live in Minnesota (twin cities) with my husband and son, and have been wanting to go ice skating outside since we moved here in 2011. We’re from a smallish town in Indiana, and the only place to ice skate is an indoor rink in Indianapolis. I’ve been there a couple times as a kid and teenager, and did alright. Even had fun the time I went as a teenager. We’ve never been as a family. After reading this, though, I don’t think I’ll be taking my son until he’s much older. I think my husband and I will get a sitter, and go ice skating ourselves first. I didn’t think about the fact that my son has never even been roller skating, so why would I think he could balance himself on thin blades on slippery ice? Potential disaster averted! :)

  81. Caren says:

    I’m betting we got sucked into the same Groupon for woodland hills…I took my four year old son with the same deluded visions, and it was 30 minutes of me skating backwards and trying to keep him alive. They also had these little white “walker” things so that kids who couldn’t skate could flail around even faster and run over more people. I wasn’t very popular that day, the whole way home all I heard was, “but Mama, you said it was going to be FUN and it WASN’T”. Thank GOD for wine. Screw the hot chocolate!

  82. Marissa says:

    Hillarous people get heated about ice skating who knew!

  83. Kate says:

    My husband and I met while ice skating on an outdoor rink. While it was snowing. I know. It was a 10+ on the romantic meter! Over the years, I can count on one hand the number of times we took our kids ice skating, though. Kids and ice skating does NOT equal romantic in my mind. We went this past month with all of them, though… along with each of their dates! It was a family date night and it was super fun! So, maybe you should try again in 15 years?

  84. Jen says:

    I live in Northern Ontario, Canada. Ice skating kills parents backs when teaching small children, but if the kids are enjoying it, it’s worth it! If they aren’t enjoying it, try again in a few months (we have snow Oct-May) or next year. I’m still not an awesome skater, but I think I can do a somewhat figure 8, and I’m good with that. Can I dive? Surf? Snorkel? No! Although I did take years of swim lessons, diving was not my forte! It doesn’t matter what other people say, if you are spending time with your kids and trying new things, whether you enjoy it or not, you are still teaching them! My mom was from Arkansas, did she learn to skate? No! But she tried and I remember the fun we had as kids trying to teach our mom to skate!

  85. Victoria says:

    I went ALONE with my 4 and 6 yr old girls yeah smooth move right! The amount of time spent getting the skates on and off was longer than the time we spent on the ice.

  86. Laurie says:

    Ice skating summer camp possibly the best idea ever. As a MN girl (skated at 1 on double runners for an entire winter) it kills me to think my PNW kids can’t skate. Skating is expensive when there’s no frozen ground water nearby. Best advice – invest in excellent skates for you, decent SHARP blades for kids. You don’t have wobbly ankles. You have cheap ass boots.

  87. Alix says:

    I live in Ottawa, Canada, home of the Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink. I hate skating. I applaud your efforts Amber – I am one of the forementioned mothers that cannot bother to teach their children. I will sign my kids up for non-parented lessons and let them learn from people who enjoy the sport.

  88. Diana Niethamer says:

    Secret to fun ice skating: send your kid out on the ice with a friend’s parent. And make sure the rink has a stack of milk crates to lean on, if you’re first learning. Much less falling/crying/whining. More smiling– on Mom’s face, too. At least, this worked for us.

  89. Mel in Oz says:

    I love these grumpy old men this post :-)

  90. MB says:

    I hate ice skating. I grew up in MN and took lessons when I was little, but didn’t have much opportunity to keep my (very limited) skating ability up. I’ve skated twice as an adult, before I had kids. It was not fun. Sure, I could torture myself for a few years to learn to really skate and not feel like I was on the verge of dying every time I tried. But I’m not that dedicated. :]

    My husband is Canadian, though, and is determined to teach my son to skate. Fine by me! I’ll love watching that. :] Apparently, the trick is to give them a hockey stick and puck so they’re not so focused on their balance. That’s what all my Canadian in-laws tell me, anyhow.
    I went skating with them once though, and it really was like the first picture! (except for me–I looked like crappy boy). Canadians are just amazing at skating. Probably because their lakes are frozen 2/3 of the year… ;)

  91. Abigail says:

    We live on an isolated island in maine where ice skating is a nice social/family time, with night time skating on a pond with a bonfire and hot dogs and cocoa and the whole nine yards. Anyhow, we taught our five year old daughter to skate this year with a trick some of the more experienced mamas shared- a child sized chair. Those metal ones with round bottoms and rubber feet work great, you know the ones with a disney princess or cars or whatever on them. She used it like a walker on her first day, and then for maybe ten minutes the second day until she decided she was fine and ditched it and off she went. I would highly recommend that method, it keeps them stable until they gain the confidence needed. Our two year old, on the other hand… Not so much. :-) She just wanted to swing on her daddy’s arm,

  92. Carla says:

    I’ll never forget the first time I took my son skating at a local outdoor rink (Canada).

    This is pretty much how it went: 1 hour shopping for new pair of skates (hubby took care of that), 20 minutes of at-home prep – bundling up, packing bag, getting into vehicle, etc., 5 minute drive to outdoor rink (ODR), 10 minutes to put skates on squirmy kis, approximately 2 minutes of skating with whiny, “They don’t fit. They hurt. Ouch.”
    Me trying not to lose it, “You tried them on at home with Daddy. Remember?”
    “Ouch. They hurt my feet.”
    Grrrr….well I kept trying to push it but you know the ragdoll move when kid decides it’s not happening.

    Turn the clock ahead a few more minutes…Wait for it…
    When I finally gave in and REMOVED the skates, I realized that the big wad of tissue paper they stick in almost ALL new footwear was inside those skates taking up about two inches of space!

    That’s about when the frustration and anger melted into a mother’s guilt!

    Your piece brought back that fun memory. Thanks!

  93. Carla says:

    We live in Canada. I’ll never forget the first time I took my son skating to a local outdoor rink (ODR).

    This is pretty much how it went: 1 hour shopping for new pair of skates (hubby took care of that), 20 minutes of at-home prep – bundling up, packing bag, getting into vehicle, etc., 5 minute drive to outdoor rink, another 5 minutes getting kid from car to side of rink, 10 minutes putting skates on squirmy kid while fingers freeze, approximately 2 minutes total of skating, accompanied by a whiny, “They don’t fit. They hurt. Ouch.”

    Me trying not to lose it, “You tried them on at home with Daddy. Remember?”

    He, “Ouch. They hurt my feet.”

    Grrrr….well I kept trying but you know the ragdoll move when kid decides it’s not happening. Can’t really force anyone to stand on skates when they don’t want to!

    Now turn the clock ahead a few more minutes…
    When I finally gave in and REMOVED the skates, -wait for it…
    I realized that the big wad of tissue paper they stick in almost ALL new footwear was inside those skates taking up about two inches of space!

    That’s about the time when the frustration and anger melted into a mother’s guilt!

    Your piece brought back that fun memory. Thanks!

  94. Bronwyn says:

    I’ve tried waterskiing to the same effect. If people called it “being dragged through dirty water with planks strapped to your feet” it wouldn’t get quite so many takers!

  95. Lynn says:

    Havent read all the responses- but in holland, you definately have to learn iceskating when you can rarely walk. We put icerblade (no idea how you write that) shoes on to begin with, that means no normal ice skates. Then you practice with a chair on ice to hold on to. When eventually they find treir balance, remove the chair. Voila no worries no falling and you can “live” the romantic image what you have in your mind.

  96. Glynnis says:

    I grew up skating in our backyard in Wisconsin. I think the trick kis starting before you have developed any sense of self preservation…and having older siblings and neighbor kids to keep up with…..also, double bladed skates. My husband and I bought skates a few years ago, we haven’t used them. I haven’t skated in probably 10 years now and the idea of it terrifies me, especially the part where we’d have to go to a public rink where other people could sit sipping hot chocolate, while watching me fall all over the place :) maybe we’ll try it when the kids are a little bigger……

  97. Rachel says:

    Wow reading some of these negative comments makes me sad for this sport and it’s future. Skating is my life and I wouldn’t have changed that for anything : )

  98. Jess H says:

    I used to skate pretty well. Then one day in fourth grade I had the genius idea to play a game of tag with friends while skating. I slipped, fell, twisted my leg, and slammed into the arena wall. Broke my tibia and fibula. I don’t skate so well anymore, but I do skate on occasion.

  99. Cindy says:

    Pond skating is the BEST! I grew up skating on the pond across the street from my house—some of my very best childhood memories. Pond hockey, the “Whip,” mazes made by shoveling paths, cocoa parties on the ice, skating up the brook when the winter was extra cold, ducking under the railroad trestle at just the right moment, the rumble of skates over ripply ice—-OMG, I could go on and on, and on…

    • Sanj says:

      Yeah! See, that’s exactly it! Shopping mall parking lots with trucked-in ice machines might advertise “ice skating”, but they can’t begin to reproduce the real thing. Add the fact that mild outdoor temperatures in southern states are not conducive to wearing layers of padded protective clothing. Add another fact that most temporary ice rink victims, I mean visitors, have not spent months practicing the underlying skills of walking daily on icy sidewalks and navigating slippery sloped driveways while carrying bundles or playing games… and you can see that the fake I mean temporary ice skating rinks are tricking the unsuspecting public into expecting an amazingly positive experience that they are unlikely to have.
      So, Amber, it’s not your fault at all. In fact, you did a wonderful job of being a good sport, role-modeling a flexible attitude, and teaching your kids that they have the right to their own feelings about their experiences.

  100. Laura says:

    I too had this romantic vision of taking my children (2 and 4) to the ice rink. Then I realized, “oh crap, I’m going to have to teach them both to ice skate.” So that crushed my dream. Now I’m going to go to the ice rink with a friend first to refresh my ice skating ability, THEN I’ll take my 4 year old separately. My husband is 6’7″ and afraid of falling so that takes the fun out of just about all the activities I would like to do as a family (roller skating, skiing, etc…) because he refuses to even try them. I’m on my own for all that!

  101. April says:

    Eek, I’ve promised the 4 year old we can go ice skating this year. She’s very keen after seeing it on Peppa Pig. We’ve started out slowly, with roller skated in the garden, but the gliding gracefully to falling over ratio is already a little depressing.

  102. Robonanny says:

    My parents met at the ice rink, so my siblings and I all grew up on skates.

    When my son was little I took him, but to be honest my back gave up before he got bored of it, and since he refused to skate without holding onto me, I waited five minutes till he grew out of his skates (present from my mother) and then stopped taking him. He’s forgotten he ever knew how…!

  103. Rachael says:

    The same exact thing happened to us today because I thought bowling with our 2 yr old would be fun.

  104. Janeene says:

    My family and I are hockey fans (Go Ducks!!), living in Southern California. Though I lived in MN when I was very little, I have no recollection of ever ice skating (my parents and siblings said I did, but I don’t remember it). My son joined the Ducks Kids Club, and as a perk our family (me, hubby, 8yo and 2yo) got to skate on the Ducks ice. We were SO excited that none of even considered the fact that we had never skated before. They hockey players do it all of the time and it looks super simple! The 8yo got nervous right before we went and tried to back out, but I bolstered his confidence and convinced him. My 2yo thought it looked like TONS of fun. We all got the skates on and managed to walk down the walkway to the ice. After setting one toe on the ice my hubby tries to back out. I need him to help the 8yo, so I MAKE him go too. We got about 5 feet around the rink and the 2yo figures out the ice is cold. He’s done. We can’t go back, and I can’t convince him to put his feet down. So here’s me, hunched over, trying to balance with a 40lb (he’s tall not overweight so don’t judge me) flailing, screaming mess of a toddler suspended from my outstretched arms. I’m trying my best to beg him to put his feet down, but he just won’t do it! I finally had to pick him up and skate with him in my arms over to the player’s bench (about a quarter of the way around the rink) all while envisioning falling with him in my arms and busting both of our heads open. My 8yo and hubby are having an equally difficult time trying to cling to the wall (it’s hard with the glass there!!) and get to the same place I am. So, we sit there for a bit watching all of the other hockey fans make us look bad and taking pics. Finally I get this brilliant idea that if I skate out to center ice to take pics then I can go the rest of the way across and only have another quarter of the rink left until we can exit. Well, easier said than done! I still had the toddler either suspended from my arms or holding him while trying not to die. My 8yo was still crying and whining about not being able to do it. We successfully get off the ice (it took almost a half hour) and get the skates off. That’s when we decided we had fun and would like to do it again next year. After some skating lessons. Maybe.

  105. Anne says:

    I feel I’m among friends. Thanks guys! I live in Switzerland and I hate both ice skating and skiing. I’m a national outcast. My kids are four and I’ve spent this winter dodging invitations to take them skating. My bad mother guilt only goes so far.

  106. Anyhow, we taught our five year old daughter to skate this year with a trick some of the more experienced mamas shared- a child sized chair. Those metal ones with round bottoms and rubber feet work great, you know the ones with a disney princess or cars or whatever on them

  107. Monique says:

    I took skating lessons as a kid, and enjoyed it a lot. Fast-forward to 2008 when my goddaughter was visiting from Brazil, so we took her skating at the mall, you know, to do a fun American winter activity. She was so freaked out, wobbling on the ice, she grabbed me, pulled us both down in a heap, and somehow I landed on her skate blade…in a most unfortunate position. I scrambled off the ice and to a restroom…then rushed to the ER…where the triage nurse uttered the words I’ll never forget: “Oh my, you stabbed your hoo-hoo!”

    Ice skate to the vagina for the win.

    Recently my 6-y-o asked to go ice skating. Needless to say it was a resounding NO from mom and dad!

  108. Monique says:

    Oh, I just noticed how your romanticized ice skates are pearly white and the reality skates are grubby brown. hahaha! SO true. Those ugly brown mall skates make me sad ;)

  109. Ally says:

    Amber, We just had our first ice skating outing of the year last weekend, at Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, and your post captured it perfectly!! My 3rd grader loves your drawings (of course) and she laughed so hard when she saw the last one. I asked her which picture was most like our outing, and she said, “Well, from the outside it probably looked like the last one, but on the inside it felt like the first one” (gliding effortlessly across the ice, sipping cocoa). Perfect! Isn’t that like so much of life? Thanks for your amazing blog, so funny and heartfelt. xoxo Ally

  110. Lana says:

    in my 26 years of life I’ve been skating on ice about 3 times. the last time I was at a rink a toddler fell down and her mother went to help her and accidentally stepped on her hand and severed her finger with her ice skate. I’ve never been since. Just can’t bring myself to go.. no worries though I live in Australia where almost all ice is artificial.

  111. RedinNC says:

    Two things: 1. those glider-thingys that look like a walker that they can push around while they skate, and 2. hockey pads, or any kind of padding, esp. in the butt area. Those two things, used temporarily at the beginning, made my North Carolina boy willing to try skating, and willing to continue enough so that we can go for fun a few times a year, and he can go on school trips without being embarrassed. I just hope I don’t fall. Something tells me I’m not as bouncable as I used to be :)

  112. Céline says:

    My husband has had our daughter on skate this winter – she’s almost 2. Does she like it – yes and no (depends on the day). Will we continue taking her – yes we have no choice, we’re Canadian. I think it’s written in our birth certificate somewhere that we have to know how to skate and either play hockey or watch it religiously.

  113. Trisha_K says:

    My mom and I took my 3 yr old daughter to an outside rink last year. The garden center in town makes a rink after all the Christmas trees are gone. She had the double blade skates. Mom and I both had on skates and managed to get around a handful of times, but it was tough. I should have just worn shoes instead of skates b/c I kept getting cramps in my feet.

    I’m contemplating taking her again soon – Because we did rollerskating lessons in Nov/Dec! The first class was TOUGH. But after 6 weeks or so, she had the (wobbly) hang of it and could skate without holding onto my hand.

    I think after you get the rollerskating thing down, then ice skating would easily follow (I know it did when I was younger).

  114. Donita says:

    We live 20 minutes away from the Charles Schultz / Snoopy Ice Skating rink. So, it’s basically required to go at least once when you’ve got kids. The thing is — they’re sneaky smart and allow parents to push their kids around on chairs (or the kids to hold onto the chairs for balance). Next thing you know, your fingers and toes are frozen and your kids are doing the hokey pokey.

    Because, isn’t that what it’s all about? (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

  115. Susan says:

    Your post had perfect timing for our family. We took our 4 year old and 2 year old ice-skating the same weekend. Our 4 year old was super pumped “I’m going to play hockey! It’s going to be great!” His excitement was contagious; my husband even bought him a hockey helmet and promised hockey gloves if it went well.

    It didn’t.

    Sleeping with a hockey helmet on your pillow does not make you a pro. After one trip around the rink the 4 year old came back and announced to everyone in the bleacher section “I am NOT going to skate again. My brother can have my helmet and my skates and get new gloves. IM NEVER EVER DOING IT AGAIN”.

    We should have left. Instead my husband bought the boys a blue slush to drink while we watched the other families attempt to pull off a happy afternoon at the rink.

    What happened next is what I will never forget. We tried to get him to go out one more time, went out ourselves to show how much fun it was. . . did everything but promise a puppy on the way home. Rather than smiles and giggles we had two kids who could not stop crying, had snot and tears streaking down their faces and blue/green mouths from the slush. They looked like monsters.

  116. Deanna Herald says:

    In Madison WI, they have devices for helping novice ice skaters that look like a walker on skids. It is better here.

  117. Kayla says:

    I just love that you still keep the cloths the same ♥
    No need to add the reg winter gear, just scarves :)

  118. Sasha says:

    I live in WA, but thankfully took my kids skating for the first time in BC, Canada (O Land of Hockey!) where there were tons of those gliding walker things, and a bunch of just plain old little desk chairs that they could sit in while I whirled them around. By the time
    the hockey sticks and pucks came out, they were ready to play. I can totally imagine how awful it would have been without those things, though!

  119. lily says:

    We went to Anaheim ICE just a couple weeks ago. First time in like 10yrs and 2 kids later, and this was EXACTLY our experience. Totally not what I’d envisioned but my daughter really liked it and has asked to go back. Maybe in a couple of years, haha!

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