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One-on-one time: Skating with Woody

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

When ice warms the heart

There was a day during school vacation week when Alfs was under the weather, Sunshine needed a nap, my husband was home and Woody really, really wanted to go ice skating. As my husband doesn't own a pair of skates, I was the obvious choice to take him.

Woody and I don't get enough solo time as I would like. Sunshine and I have our Wednesdays and Fridays when she doesn't go to preschool and we hang out together (a "you and me day," we call it). Alfs has taken to joining me when I do my weekly grocery shopping so he and I get time then. But Woody and I don't quite have a specific thing like that right now.A new ice rink opened in the next town over last year. Public skating times are 12-2 on weekdays. This means that unless you are on a hockey team or part of some other formal group, if you are a school-aged kid, you are mostly out of luck. When Woody realized we'd be available during school vacation week, he started asking to go weeks in advance.Before this rink opened, most of the skating we had done was outside on frozen cranberry bogs (which I much prefer). With climate variations, there have been fewer and fewer skate-able winters in the last few years. Last year we were able to skate on the bog exactly three times. With this lack of experience, Woody is not a strong skater. I'm not much better, but we do enjoy it.So off we set, Woody and I. Woody with some hand-me-down hockey skates and me with a cheap pair of figure skates I picked up our first winter here. That the boot still isn't broken in at all should tell you how much I've been able to use them. We weren't the only family in town that thought skating would be a good idea, either, as the parking lot at the rink was quite busy.Inside, we found a bench and laced up our skates. Then we gently made our way onto the ice.  Those first few moments were comically slippery, but slowly we acclimated to the surface. Round and round the rink we went, dodging small children with more stable double-runners, and being dodged by bigger kids (of all ages) with sharp new hockey skates.After an hour or so, we both admitted we were tired and sat down. Then soon enough that we were ready to call it quits. We unlaced our skates and eased them off our now slightly achy ankles, found our shoes and headed out to the car. I could see that Woody was tired, but he still had a grin on his face. It wasn't much time — just an hour — but sometimes just an hour of solo time with your kid is all you need.

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