Today was a day off (no other children to watch than my son), and I decided it might be fun to do something we've never done before. A few days ago, we drove by a roller rink that seemed to be closed, and I immediately did some quick research and found one not too far away that was open and had (what seemed to me) very reasonable prices. So, I asked Tre if he'd be interested, he said yes, and off we went.
We got to the roller rink at about 4pm with a closing time of 5pm. This turned out to be a good thing, as Tre was only up for about 45 minutes of skating and if we'd gotten there much earlier I would likely have been upset by that. He's never had skates on in his life, and it's been about 10 years since I last had skates on. I have my own skates, which I love, but at the moment (likely because of my weight) they don't fit me right, they pinch my toes. Next time I go, I'll try a rental. (Now I have to decide what to do with my skates: keep, replace, donate and just go rentals...)
But, we did go around the rink a few times. I went by myself, to start, remembering from the past that it only took me a lap or two to remember the basics. That was NOT the case this time. A combination of the time lapse and my complete lack of physical fitness had my legs quivering from the beginning of the first lap. In all, I did three total laps in the 45 minutes, interspersed with watching Tre's progress.
So, what did Tre do, since obviously he didn't put on skates for the first time and shoot around the rink unassisted? Well, it turns out there were only two other skaters there as we arrived, both wearing roller blades. As I was finishing my first lap and trying to figure out how to get Tre on the rink safely (as I was not stable enough to support him), they offered to assist Tre in rolling around the rink. He made one lap, very slowly, with his feet shooting forward out from under him VERY frequently, while I made my second lap.
After that lap, he wanted a break, so we both sat down for a bit. I was dripping with sweat, he was not obviously fatigued. I asked him if he thought it was fun, which he said it was. He was in an extremely good mood, but he said he wanted to go home. Iasked him if he'd be willing to do one more lap for me. He did not agree, but his attitude was such that I kind of pushed him to do it (if he didn't really want to, his attitude would have been different, tought to describe, but obvious to me). So, I encouraged him to do one more lap with the girls, and I did one more lap myself.
This second lap of Tre's was much more successful (either from better support from his helpers, or Tre's learning, or some combination thereof). He still had problems keeping his balance over his feet, but nowhere near as bad. He was still positive about the experience, but still wanted to go home, so I started taking his skates off. I got one off, and he wanted to play for a bit with the one that remained. I remember doing that myself, pushing with the "solid" foot and skating with the other. He had a blast, but only did that for a couple of minutes before he was ready for the removal of the second skate.
Afterwards, we put on our shoes as the girls traded their roller blades for roller skates (for those unfamiliar with the difference, blades have four wheels in a line front to back in the middle of the foot, while skates have them in a rectangle with two in front and two in back of the foot). I was surprised to see that competent roller bladers do not find it simple to trade over to skates. I knew that the skate to blade transition was difficult, having tried it once myself, but I figured that was due to trying to balance in a different direction (keeping the ankle centered over the blade).
Anyway, as we were leaving, I figured out what was driving Tre's desire to leave early. It wasn't that he didn't enjoy himself or that he was really too tired, but that he wanted my assistance with his video game when we got back home. He's interested in going back as soon as we're able, and I happened to notice a sign as we were exiting indicating beginning lessons for kids his age. I inquired and was thrilled to find out that the lessons are the same price as a regular day skating and do not require signing up for any particular stretch of them. Simply show up and pay the price. The only drawback is that until fall (when they start lessons on the weekend) it is highly unlikely that I'll have time away from the other kids I'm watching on the day they offer the lessons. And I can't begin to imagine trying to supervise the transportation, funding, or supervision of three children under five years old with no skating experience in my little four door compact car to the rink for lessons.
So, I'm looking forward to fall, and saving up for the next day we can go and just have fun at the rink!