Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Ice Ice Baby
Jennifer Flaten

Spring break is one long week of no school. On the one hand, it is fabulous. For one whole week, I don’t have to spend my day driving in a circle from home-to-school and back again. I swear I spend more time driving to get the kids than the kids spend in school.

On the other hand, it is one long week with no school. Nothing makes you appreciate the year round school concept like spring break, especially if it is a cold and rainy spring break.

During any school break you need to keep the kids occupied or they get into mischief. The break windows, paint the cat orange kind of mischief…or maybe that is just my kids.

I try my damndest to keep the kids busy over break. Although, their idea of busy and mine are definitely not the same As far as I am concerned sitting in your pajamas playing Minecraft for 8hours does not count as an activity.

Naturally, the kids would spend the entire day in a semi catatonic state staring at some sort of glowing screen if I let them.

I don’t, I make them do stuff. Sometimes it is fun stuff. Most of the time it is boring stuff-at least according to them.

I can only extol the virtues of fresh air and exercise so long before the kids call bullshit on me. What I really want is for them to go outside and do something, anything so that I can have five minutes-because that is how long it takes before someone comes back inside to find me-of peace and quiet.

That’s the thing I miss the most during school breaks. Quiet. When the kids are at school, it is so very nice and quiet. Plus, I don’t have to tell three people five different times where we are going. I can just get in the car and go.

I do try to do fun, yet still cheap, things over vacation. Yard work is fun right? Okay, so maybe that one was a real hard sell. I sweetened the deal with a promise of frozen yogurt. With that carrot dangling in front of them, they got the yard raked in record time.

I am not all work and no play. One day, I took them ice-skating. I even skated. Yeah, I got that same look from my kids.

I know how to skate, I have to I lived in the Northwoods. Winter sports were mandatory. If you didn’t have some activity to do in winter, skiing, skating, snowmobiling, you would go insane.

Since, I lived with my grandparents, skiing and snowmobiling were out of the question. Aside from clearing the skating rink, ice-skating involved zero participation from my grandparents.

I don’t think anyone actually taught me how to skate. They just gave me the skates and plopped me on the ice.

The kids went skating for gym class, so they know how to skate. Plus, they are so flexible and low to the ground. Unlike me with my old and brittle bones.

Part of me didn’t want to get on the ice, I imagined myself in a full body cast for the next six months. The kids insisted. Dared me even. So, I skated. Much to my amazement-and the kids I am sure.

I didn’t fall once. Yes, I was a little wobbly, the first lap. My darling daughter even offered to get me one of the “skating buddies” a type of walker you push in front of you as you skate.

I reclined. Although, another kid that started skating when we did used that and after five minutes he was skating like Apolo Ohno, so maybe I should have.

Despite, the kids crashing, I swear intentionally, into me I managed to stay upright the entire time we were at the rink. How’s that for fun. 

 

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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