Update on Josh learning to ski

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about Josh’s first skiing lesson and my mommy fail. (Anita, thank you for reminding me that refusing my son’s pizza request will turn him into a serial killer.) Josh has since finished his series for 4-session camp at Cypress, and has not turned into a serial killer. Yet.

When we were in Whistler this week, he requested that I take him skiing.(!!!)

Of course I was happy to oblige, and took him up the chair lift before he could change his mind. I also told him how awesome skiing is, because you get to eat a special skier meal. He got chicken strips, fries, juice and a chocolate pudding–things that are special treats at home–all at once. He was pretty stoked.

I am not ashamed of bribing for enthusiasm.

We spent two days on the hill, and he was improving by the hour. By the end of the second day, there were sections on the hill where I couldn’t catch up to him.

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Does everyone else have this figured out?

Lately, a few incidents made me question my parenting choices, and really made me admit (again) that I don’t have my shit together.

This week, Josh brought home his very first report card from school. While I think of my baby as this smart and intelligent little being, his report card was mostly “meet expectations”. That, to me, translated to “average”. Whether that is the correct translation or not, it was an awakening moment for me to see someone else’s perspective of him.

We read books at home with Josh on a daily basis since he was a baby, hoping to cultivate a fun learning environment. But we haven’t done anything to push Josh to read and write on his own beyond the pace given at school.

I keep thinking that I’ve been pushed so hard academically since a young age, that it really took the joy out of learning. Would I be a different person if I had a carefree childhood without going to Kumon math and tutoring sessions everyday of the week? But if I never had all that pressure, would I have done any better or worse with my life?

Yesterday, Josh had his first skiing lesson. I dropped him and his friend off, then went to my own humbling skiing lesson. I went back to pick up Josh and his friend from their lesson 3 hours later. It had snowed heavily the entire 3 hours. I was tired and cold, and I just wanted to get home. Josh said in a whiney voice, “I want pizza.” I said, first, stop whining, and second, no, we have snacks in the car and we’re going home. He bursted into a full on wail.

I was on auto-terrible-mommy-pilot mode. I told him to take a deep breath, and we’re going home. Zero sympathy for the fact that he had a rough time learning to ski, zero love for his red and frozen hands and likely empty stomach. Instead of taking a breath like I asked him to, he cried harder. He continued to cry, with tears running down his red cheeks and snot running down his nose, lips, and down his chin.

In that moment, I felt like I was caught in a dilemma that tested me. On one hand, I wanted to kneel down and give him a big hug and make all the shitty-ness go away. On the other hand, I wanted him to toughen up and suck it up. Learning things can be hard, but that’s just life. I learned to snowboard by spending countless hours on my butt, being cold and miserable. Nothing came easy and nobody coddled me. But is that really how I want my son to feel?

I have no strategies planned out for raising these kids. I just know that I want the world for them, but I don’t want them to feel some of the shitty-ness I felt. So as I sit here, starring at the cursor blink on my screen, trying to figure out what I’m trying to write, I realized all over again that I don’t have my parenting shit together.

Josh’s first skiing lesson

Yesterday Josh had his first of 4 skiing lessons at Cypress. Before the lesson, he was very excited before the lesson, playing with his skis and boots and goggles at home. I took Josh and his friend Darcy up the mountain for their lessons.

3 hours later, I went back to pick them up. Darcy wanted to stay and ski longer, and Josh had had enough. Josh ended the day in tears. This morning Josh told me he didn’t like skiing very much.

If you have little kids who ski, can you please assure me that this will get better/easier?

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Josh turns five

Dear Joshie,

You turned five this past weekend, despite how much I tried to convince you to stay at four. You didn’t think it was funny to remain small.

On your birthday, we surprised you with a trip to Legoland. I will always remember how excited you got when you found out where we were going. I love how quick you are to show your feelings and wear your heart on your sleeve.

You inspire me with your love and enthusiasm for life. You bounce out of bed every morning, with a positive attitude about whatever it is to come. You are cheery from the moment you open your eyes. Your enthusiasm is inspiring, and infectious. You always say hello to all our neighbors in the elevator, putting me to shame for being quiet. You have no problem striking up a conversation with any kid or adult at the park. You believe in yourself and your values, and you are never ashamed of sharing your thoughts. You let your tears freely flow when your feelings are hurt. You’re not scared of opening yourself up to share the hurt.

Seriously, Josh, I wish I can be more like you.

You’re at such a fun age right now, where you still think I’m pretty cool and you still want to hang out with me. Since you started school, I’ve been trying to be more conscientious about holding your hand or kissing you, especially when I drop you off at school. Whenever I ask you, “Can I hold your hand?” or “Can I kiss you?”, you always say with a smile, “Yes, you can hold my hand or kiss me anytime you want, Mommy!” And I will always treasure that video of you saying, “I love you, Mommy. I am going to marry you,” for the rest of my life. I know the good days won’t last forever, but I am so grateful for the time we have right now.

You love coming to my office with me on the weekends. You love going to run errands with me. You love going for a bike ride or go play at the park. You absolutely love going to parties or visiting with friends. You are a social animal.

During this past year, you have learned how to ride a bike. You love your swimming lessons. You love your kindergarten and the new friends you’ve made. You are learning to deal with conflicts at school, and slowly learning to give people their space. I look forward to watching you grow into the little man you’re becoming.

Being your mommy is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. Thank you for being my inspiration and my joy. I love you with all of my heart. Happy birthday, Josh. I wish you all the joy in the world.

Love,

MommyJosh

Ice skating

When we first moved to Canada, I have never seen an ice rink before, let along skate. I added PE 11 to my class schedule, because I assumed it was mandatory like it was in Taiwan. In December 1992, our PE teacher took us to play ice hockey at the rink next to our school. It was my first time in my life putting on ice skates. I loosely tied the lace of the skates, grabbed a hockey stick, and got on the ice. I was super wobbly, and used the hockey stick as a crutch to inch along the ice.

The PE teacher told me to go right in the centre for face off. I took forever to get to the centre of the ice, the teacher dropped the puck, I tried to reach the puck with my hockey stick, and that’s when I lost my balance and fell. Because I had tied the lace so loosely, there was no support from the boot. When I fell, I twisted my ankle inside the skates, and the bones in my ankle shattered, sending a hairline split half way up my shin bone. I ended up in surgery that night, with a metal plate and 8 screws added to my bone to help hold my ankle back together.

Last weekend Josh had his first ice skating lesson. He was so excited about his lesson that morning. When I told him ice skating isn’t very easy, he said, “I think I’ll be very good at it.” I smiled and said nothing.

Once he had his skates on, the teacher asked them to all walk around on the rubber ground. He was wobbly, but managed to walk around just fine. He was still smiling and waving at me.

Once they got on the ice, the poor little dude was slipping and falling everywhere. Initially he was having fun and still smiling. But after a while, I can see his smile starting to fade. He struggled with getting up and staying up. My lips started to quiver on their own and my tears started to fall. I felt so bad for him.

Even after all these years of my incident, watching Josh fall on the ice just reminds me of the pain I felt. With each fall he took, my heart nearly jumped out of my throat. Good thing the lesson was only 1/2 hour. I wasn’t sure if I could endure any more.

Josh was no longer smiling when he came off the ice, but he was stoic. He said in a matter-of-fact tone that it was really hard, and he didn’t like it so much. I held him tightly in my arms, and told him I was so proud of him for working so hard and not quitting. As a parent, nothing makes me more proud than seeing my kiddo work hard and having a good attitude about it. And thank goodness nothing broke.Josh skates-2

I survived the first day of school (sort of)

With Savanna’s first day of preschool today, I felt nervous. We’ve never had her out of our sight, so I had no idea how she will do. When Cliff told her we were leaving to take Josh to school, she didn’t even look at him. She focused on the new toys she was playing with. When we came to pick her up, it was almost like she had done this before and it was no big deal that we showed up.First day of schoolSchool-14 School-9

With Josh’s first day of kindergarten today, I felt sad. He couldn’t wait to get into his classroom. After Cliff and I walked out of his school, I sobbed all the way back to the car. It’s a new phase of Josh’s life, and I have just lost him a little bit more.

He came out of school complaining that one hour was too short and he wanted to stay longer.

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The countdown is on

We’re a week away from the first day of school, and I am in total denial. I just can’t believe my not-so-little baby will be going to kindergarten. Here comes the start of the school system. Shit just got real and I am freaking out.

When he started preschool, I had the same thoughts–how could this be happening so fast. But at least preschool back then was twice a week, for 2 1/2 hours. But now he’ll be spending the majority of his day with OTHER PEOPLE I DO NOT KNOW. This idea seems completely ridiculous to me. Why can’t babies stay small and on their mothers’ side forever. Does anyone else feel that way?

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