Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Downhill racer

B, three-years, seven months now, changes week by week—so far, I’m happy to say,  always in the direction of a highly verbalized open cheerfulness. (This last is either from her father’s side of the family or from my mother alone on our side. Certainly not from her Oscar the Grouch grandp√®re maternel.) Anyway, it makes doing things with her happy occasions.

For a variety of reasons, we haven’t been north as often as usual this winter, but we have hit the slopes with B and her mama twice. You may recall last year’s disastrous strangulation event. Hoping to avoid similar issues, I bought her a little harness that would help us keep her from harm while simultaneously allowing her a clear airway when in the clutches of her grandfather.

On our first outing, she was using her new but not-alpine equipment. General fun, but not great from the skiing standpoint. H decided we should rent her some true downhill equipment for our second go. Tiny skis (barely enough room on them for bindings), tiny  boots, and away we went.
The first run was mostly a series of falls, trips, tangles, and flops. And this was just me. The three of us provided Stooge-like entertainment to others on the little hill, and at the bottom, a slightly bewildered B decided, “I need a little break.”

Rest and chocolate geared her up for another try. This time H played a brilliant little game of  “Simon Says” with her at the bottom of the slope to get her more accustomed to the odd appendages she was dealing with. Then up the surface lift again, a careful tucking away of the harness reins, and H turned around to ski backward to be there to steady B without making her feel too much held. Result? Spectacular success. B flying ecstatically down the hill, waving us off as her mother narrowed her reverse snowplow to stay ahead of her and I fluttered ineffectually nearby, trying to stay within disaster-prevention distance. No worries. A few falls, cheerfully brushed off, and a vigorously expressed eagerness for solo speed. So now we have another skier in the family, if you don’t count knowing how to turn or stop or any of those other extraneous skills.

At the bottom of her second semi-solo run, B’s run-out took her toward the little bleacher seating area set aside for friends and family who want to watch their loved ones risking their dignity on the bunny slope. None of them knew B from Eve. But as she came to a stop, she gave everybody a big, excited smile. Everyone’s her friend, after all. “Did you see me? Did you see me ski right down the hill by myself?”

Then she turned to me and said, “M, I think I was very, very, very terrific.”

You know I agreed.

No comments: