There's no way around it--it's a struggle to keep Max active. He's not a particularly competitive kid. He's not a particularly coordinated kid either. He is cursed with a not-really athletically inclined father who married a (let's-be-honest)-athletically-incompetent mother. Chris eventually found some activities he liked, and I eventually found some activities I like, but Max has struggled with this. He likes swimming, but the year-round program here is not a good match for him, and the summer-only program isn't enough. Football is soooooooo time consuming and sooooooo competitive, and so this winter I decided to go ahead and try to get Max on the slopes as much as possible during the short three months we call a ski season here in PA. He's doing the school program on Monday afternoons and another program for 4.5 hours on Saturdays. THe last two weeks were too warm to ski, but this weekend we were good to go, so we headed over there for the first lesson.
Max was nervous. He was pretty sure he was going to die, or at least look like he was dying, on the hill. He was worried about being the youngest and least experienced, or the oldest and least experienced, or just in some vague way, in a really bad position.
I gave him a pep talk. I talked about how between this class and the one on Mondays, he'd soon be able to go down with his two good friends who do the ski programs through other schools, but come on the same day our school does. This was encouraging to him. I walked him through understanding that this was a 4.5 hour CLASS, so it was fine to not know anything and to go ahead and hog the teacher's attention and just learn, learn, learn. Max perked up a smidge.
We arrived at the lodge and went on in. He was, indeed, the oldest kid there, but there were two other girls and at least one other boy who were close to him in age. We almost had a case of equipment failure when, for the life of us, we could NOT get one of his boots on. Abby, the youngest of the instructors, agreed to give it a shot and we were relieved to see that it wasn't just us. She finally pulled it off his foot, put her back into it, and popped some part of it back into its proper place. Max was soon buckled into his boots and he trotted awkwardly off after the others to go ski.
I ran to Target and the bank and then came back to the lodge to try to get some work done on my computer while he skiied. In between IM's to Chris I fretted. The last time I sent him down that hill he scared himself silly. It ended in tears and panic and I felt like Bad Mom.
I really wanted this to work. I wanted him to not just get better at going down the Big Scary Hill, but ENJOY it. I wanted him to think, "Wheee!" not "AAAAAAHHHH!" I wanted him to burn a few calories and make a few muscle cells and do it smiling.
Finally, lunch break arrived and he walked in the door, sat down, and said something along the lines of, "I've already been down [the Big Scary Hill] 5 times and I've only fallen down once. I'm learning tons and it's a lot of fun."
And I breathed a sigh of relief. He scarfed down lunch (the lodge has the most disgusting food known to mankind. We bought lunch today and vowed together to bring a bag lunch next week) and then ran back out the door. His instructor today is a father whose name I didn't catch, so I've been calling him Dad Instructor. He seemed genuinely to enjoy Max and Max trusted him. Which is the only way I can explain the FACT that by the end of the day Max had TWICE gone down the center hill (whose name I don't even know because it's the one covered in mogels and we don't go down those hills) and apparently on his second run down that hill he did a bit of it on his head, but STILL came back in the lodge glowing, happy, saying how great it was over and over.
And so, I am hoping it is a LONG and SNOWY winter.