It Takes a Brave Mom

My, was I ever brave today.

Subconsciously, I must have been trying to model bravery to my eldest son, who is going through a very shy and unwilling-to-try stage.

Is it a stage, guys? Do all three-year-olds get really quiet and insecure and unwilling to participate?

So today, I determined to be brave. I put three things on the schedule for today -- morning sledding, afternoon ice skating (with Peter) and an evening swim (2:1 child to parent ratio -- yep, just me)!!

I wish I had a picture of the three of us swishing down the powdery hill on our little red sled.

Does this look like a brave face to you??

He had fun. A bit of sledding, but mostly walking around in the snow, making paths, shapes, letters, numbers...a sewer know. Being creative. Being Peter.

So, I was fortunate enough to have childcare for the sleeping one this afternoon and Peter and I went out to try ice skating again (tough try the first time). He said he didn't like it when there were a lot of people. Today was much calmer -- only a handful of skaters and some young ones just learning.

I didn't push him...we practiced walking on the black rubber stuff...then sat on the bleachers and watched the other kids...finally, I got him a bar and encouraged him to go out on the ice. Screaming, kicking, crying.

Oh son.

There were helpful souls -- another mom with advice, an ice guard with encouragement, and two 5th grade boys who did everything they could to get him excited about skating. Wow. They were intense! "Peter, just do this...see? we're falling but it doesn't hurt...just stand up and move your skates like this!" They were really nice boys. But Peter was soooooo overwhelmed. He takes a long time to warm up to a new activity.

He cried a lot. And wouldn't put any weight on his feet.

Finally I looped my arms around his securely, grabbed onto the bar and half-dragged {man, there's that word again...} him around the rink. He started to *kind-of* move his feet in a semi-skating fashion and everyone celebrated. "Good job, Peter! You did it! You're skating!!"

He stopped.

But he had a smile on his face.

So we kept going...and he wasn't as grumpy anymore. He seemed to actually enjoy the foot-dragging thing. By this time, my back was done. And I wanted to leave on a high note. Well, OK, middle note.

So we exited the rink, boys following, calling "high five, buddy" and "way to go". Such neat kids! But Peter never said a word to them. No high five from him. He just stared.

Peter was excited about calling daddy with a positive report about skating. And we had a little chat about being brave and trying new things. And not being shy and unfriendly.

So ice skating was a big job for mom today. Needless to say, I was busy enough without the job of photographer.

Then after a quick meal it was time for our third activity -- swimming. It's been a few months since the boys have been to the pool. Tough with early bedtimes. So today family swim started at 5pm and I jumped at the opportunity. Peter said, "why do we have to be going everywhere today?"

Ezra loved it...splashing water all over his face, blowing bubbles in the water, jumping to me from the edge, zooming around on his back -- no fear.

Peter said "I need to warm up first"...because people have talked about him needing to "warm up to the idea". "I'll just watch you guys," he says. So he sat on the bleachers for awhile. Then sat on the edge with his feet in the water. Then walked around on the deck. For a long time.

Finally, I said we'd be leaving soon...if he was planning to get in, it better be now. And after considerable coaxing, he latched onto me (he's wearing a life jacket, but doesn't remember that it helps him float). So now it's the three of us, walking around in the water.

I gradually moved Peter down into the water so his arms could get used to the temperature. I focused on getting him to kick a bit so we could "move faster". He then got excited, remembered how to paddle, and wasn't hysterical when I let him go by himself. "I'm swimming by myself," he says! Yippee!!

Yes, son, I knew you could do it. Good job! I could see his confidence meter maxing out...he felt good about himself.

So. Today has been a lesson in getting out and doing things. Because it helped my attitude...and I'm pretty sure with each new try and hopefully subsequent success, my shy, nervous boy will become more brave and confident.

So bring on the challenges. And give me some more of that mom-energy stuff, will ya? Thanks.