Posted by: Jamie Stamm | March 3, 2010

Back on the ice

Some of you might remember that we started Anthony in skating lessons last year. But after one three-week session, we pulled him out. Although he was making progress, we didn’t feel he was quite ready for a two-day-a-week regimen of classes, in addition to three days of preschool. Some mornings he would cling to me instead of heading willingly onto the ice – and, let’s be frank, skating lessons aren’t cheap. It’s hard to write out a check when you have a reluctant skater.

But he’s a year older now, a year more mature, a year less clingy, a year more obsessed with hockey, so, as of this morning, the Ant man is back on the ice.

He was so excited that he practically jumped out of the van in the ice rink parking lot. He suited up in his new snow pants and his improved helmet (more on that later) and went right out on the ice.

Like his first lesson last year, he spent a lot of time on his butt. But every time he fell, he fought his way back to his feet, without a pout or a single tear (unlike another student who parked herself in a corner of the rink, arms crossed tightly across her chest, and stayed that way for 15 minutes until her mom finally came and dragged her off the ice – and I thought my kids were stubborn).

I quickly befriended another mom, and we spent the next 30 minutes swapping stories about our hockey-crazed kids. (By the way, she also has a hockey net in her kitchen – I thought I was the only one – and her son makes her turn out the lights and sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” before his “games.” We haven’t reached that point yet, but I did hear Anthony belting out “Oh, Canada” tonight while he was watching the Hurricanes, so I imagine one national anthem, if not two, could be in our future as well.)

Hockey Mom’s son, who is a bit older than Anthony and is in his second consecutive session of lessons, was a bit more steady on his feet than Ant. But I don’t know that anyone out there was having more fun than my boy.

“Your son falls down a lot, but he gets back up with the biggest smile on his face,” Hockey Mom said.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ant on the ice, I think my favorite moment of the morning came in the locker room, when one of the instructors came up to introduce herself, and Anthony said loudly, proudly and quite randomly: “I won’t crack my face open because I have a cage this time.”

(A quick lesson in hockey lingo for those who might need it: A “cage” is a metal shield that attaches to the front of a hockey helmet and protects the player’s entire face, from forehead to chin. In our family, it’s purpose is two-fold. It allows Anthony to feel like a goalie without Mommy and Daddy having to shell out big bucks for an actual goalie mask. And it makes me feel like Anthony’s face is a little safer, after hearing horror stories last year about kids pitching forward on the ice and knocking out teeth or breaking noses.)

All in all, it was a good start. Anthony came off the ice with a huge grin and is already asking when we go back again. (The answer is Thursday.) And, yes, I will do my best to follow-up with pictures and video.

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