If our oldest had her way, she would try everything once and never do it again. She hated gymnastics because the uneven bars hurt her hips. Protested ballet because the tights were too itchy. And even boycotted her bike for a year because she fell off…once. But we believe in persistence…so we finish all of our activities, even if we grow tired of them. And especially if we’ve paid for them.
Saturday I knew would be hit or miss. I had to cover a “Try Hockey For Free” clinic put on by the Florida Panthers for Fox Sports Florida. I had my kids with me and thought they would love to learn to skate. The ultimate mommy in SPORTS moment right? And after watching the Olympics I knew my oldest loved figure skating. Fun huh?!
Our two year old just wanted to be held the whole morning. (Thanks to my Ergo for lightening the load a bit!)
|With Eric Joyce, Assistant GM Florida Panthers, and Emylia.|
And our five year old? Well she just complained. And whined. And cried. Non-stop.
Lila: “My hands are coooold and so are my legs and feet!”
Then after she fell, multiple times she muttered through tears at the end of the clinic, “My boo boo hurts so bad on my bum. I don’t like this at all! I want to go home.”
So I thought a bit of hot chocolate might make the day better. Except even after cooling it down it was still too hot, she spilled it everywhere, and had another epic whining/crying spell; “It’s too hot…I have an owie burn! WAAAAH wah waaah!!”
At one point everyone was staring at us and I literally had never seen a kid so miserable. I had to think and react and try to salvage this experience. Each day of motherhood brings such interesting situations, and I had no clue how to navigate this one. I didn’t want her to detest skating, as this is one of my favorite activities…rollerblading especially. But she has some sensory issues, so I know how difficult new sensations, temperatures, and experiences are for her.
So as she stomped to the car, I put her sister in the car seat and decided to have a little chat with Lila Bean.
Me: “I know you are sad right now, and I know you are cold. But please tell me, what was your favorite part of skating today?”
Lila: (eyes still filled with tears) “I liked the chicken dance, that was my favorite” (she showed me the dance.) “But I didn’t like falling and I cried a lot.” (continues to cry, poor thing!)
Me: “That’s ok, I fall too. The best part though is standing up and trying again. I’m proud of you for doing the whole clinic and not giving up! Did you like dressing in warm clothes?”
Lila: “Yes, I need gloves though and a pretty tutu. I was too cold!”
Me: “How about next week we try again, I’ll skate with you, we’ll put legging under your jeans so you are warmer, and we can do the chicken dance together?”
Lila: “Ok, do you know how to skate? Cuz the teachers can help you, but I really don’t like falling.”
Me: “Yes I love skating. Everyone falls, just promise me when I fall, will you help me up?”
Lila: “Yes! But you’re too big.” Uh, thanks?
The scowl disappeared and she giggled. I exhaled and chugged the hot chocolate.
Maybe she won’t be the next ice skating phenom, and maybe she’ll always shy away from sports. But we can’t quit in life just because something is hard. And no matter what, Lila needs to learn that no one is perfect at anything, especially in the beginning. It takes practice and hard work. Sometimes you fall. Sometimes you fail, but trying again is what builds character, self esteem, and confidence.
So we are going back next Saturday, same time, same place. We will be warmer, well rested, our tummies full, and no matter what…we will make it fun. And if she still doesn’t like it, then we’ll try something else. But at least we didn’t quit.
Aarn Farmer says
Awesome post! We had some rough times with the middle son quitting everything. It took a ton of time and patience (Which I lost on multiple occasions) to get it straightened out.
Kristen Hewitt says
Thanks Aarn. They are who they are…but we can at least show them the way, and let them choose.
Aarn Farmer says
Hey Kristen, I just wanted to let you know that I’m trying to share your post using your share icons at the bottom of the post and the Twitter one isn’t putting your Twitter name in the tweet. You might want to tweak the settings on that so you can track RTs
Jen @ the mama years says
Hard spot to be in! I just know that when I was a kid, I did quit certain things and I am very glad my parents let me. For example, I quit twirling because they told me I couldn’t wear underwear under a leotard which made NO sense to my 9 year old brain. I quit dance because when I saw the outfits I was expected to wear even my 10 year old self knew I wasn’t supposed to dress like a hooker. Basketball because it wasn’t fun. Girl scouts because the troop leaders didn’t actually take us anywhere and just yelled at us. I found one thing I loved – softball – and that stuck like a bad habit through high school (which sadly I then quit to focus on my super tough classes, but that was a smart choice). So maybe your daughter just hasn’t found what she loves yet? I think giving her a chance, making sure she is rested etc is good…but do listen to her if she’s miserable. It doesn’t mean she will fail as an adult! (I promise! I’m a happy mother and doctor now and haven’t quit either 😉
Kristen Hewitt says
Thanks for the insight Jen, you’ve given me a lot to think about. However, we believe in trying the activity at least twice to give it a shot. Many kids are frightened of new experiences the first time. If she hates it and is miserable next time…we move on. But we can’t be afraid to fail! Thanks for reading…I love your blog as well!
Jennifer Humphries says
Ha! Sounds so familiar. Me thinking hey my kids will enjoy this… How often has that lead to tears 🙂 Good for you all for sticking it out though! Let us know how next week goes.
Kristen Hewitt says
Thanks Jennifer…will do!
Honeybee GB says
The first picture is so adorable, how cute! I am so impatient and dealing with whining children can be very challenging for me as a mom. I love how you approach your children in a situation like that.
I’ve had the same issue with my oldest son…he doesn’t quit right away, but be sure that before the end of the school year, he’ll be telling me he wants to quit. Drives me crazy. If I’ve paid, he has to keep going. I keep hoping something will stick…
Herchel S says
Poor girl!The ice is cold and hard on the rear end. It sounds like so much fun, though! I love hockey. If I had the time I would sign up to play in a league lol
Jenn aka Baby Making Machine says
You’re such a great mom! What a great lesson you’re teaching your daughters. Skating isn’t easy, I’m so glad she’s trying it again. Gloves and a tutu definitely make everything better. Haha. You mentioned she has some sensory issues… I imagine that’s a huge part of it. I hate when my hands hit the ice. She must really not like it.
We tried ice skating recently and Lil’ J wants lessons now. I feel on the other end-she’s signed up for too much!! Haha
Great post! My mom never let me quit and looking back it was SO good for me.
You really NAILED IT here Mom! You could have screamed and yelled and then everyone would have been doubly miserable, but you turned this into a learning experience for both you and your daughter that was much more powerful! Way to go!
Aubrey @ 53weeks says
The ICE can be a tricky thing, but it seems like you handled it well and tried to find the silver lining..and hopefully when you try again it’ll go over better! BTW..I can’t imagine putting either of mine in an Ergo at this point…I’m kinda jealous..at 6 months it just got to cumbersome…lol
lovely message! i quit everything when i was a kid… until i really found what i was good in and what i liked.
You did such a good job there! I can see how the elements of being cold or hungry or tired or all of the above can really psych out anyone, much less a young kid.
I was a bit of a quitter as a kid. I’d try things once – but my parents had me ride out the seasons, and then I’d either do it again next year or not. Mostly not! Some things stuck, though!
I think it’s a good thing to introduce your children to a variety of different activities. Now I wouldn’t push them into something that they absolutely despised, but it’s difficult to know that after just one go. I’m sure more people think when they are older that they wish they would have tried something instead of the other way around.
yes I agree! My daughter never wants to try but once she’s there she loves it. It’s time to get her excited about different activities!
Nicole Johnson says
We do the same thing…you start an activity, you finish it. You don’t ever have to do it again, but you have to finish. We try to let them know they have other people relying on them (called a team). I think you handled the situation very well!!!
Amen! I think all kids at least need to try sports in some capacity.
This was so well put! Love how you handled the situation. Sometimes kids just need to be removed so they can have the opportunity to calm down and think clearly. And the fact that you got her to agree to go back so quickly is quite impressive!
I love this! I used to teach ice skating classes and have dealt with my fair share of unhappy kids on the ice. It’s wonderful how you are teaching her not to be a quitter and to try new things! Oh, and you might not want to put her in jeans. The denim gets wet easily and stays wet… Leggings or even snow pants usually are more comfortable for beginners 🙂
Must memorize your words! Haha. If whining were a sport my 4yo would get a gold medal! But we need to sign her up for something when kindergarten starts. She needs to run around and I don’t think schools provide enough recess time anymore.
I love that you showcase the conversation because often times as mothers, we hear about the “challenges” our friends face as mothers, but don’t get the play-by-play to understand and try new ideas with our own parenting. This post is important, especially, for parents of 5-6 year olds. While our kids may not have found their special sport or activity, it is a great lesson to teach them about perseverance and not quitting.
Jack and Lila would be great buddies. This reminds me so much of Jack.