Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Four Men Enter, One Man Leaves

I had an appointment this evening and was almost home when I spotted Sam approaching the neighbor's house on foot. I pulled over, rolled down my window, and shouted to him, asking what exactly he was up to. He told me that Jack had climbed the fence from our yard into the neighbor's yard, and had basically established squatters' rights in the neighbor's living room, and Sam was trying to retrieve him.

That's about right.

That's also the perfect lead-in to my story about how ice skating went yesterday. It's shaping up to be quite a spring break.

This isn't the first time I've referenced Thunderdome in regards to taking my family skating. It probably won't be the last.

So, this friend of mine was all, "Hey! My kids love to skate and it's a great workout! Wanna come skating with us one day over spring break?" Well, she didn't say that verbatim, but it was something equally perky and the result was the same.

I got my kiddos dressed in socks and coats—coats that are desperately in need of a washing, as I noticed yesterday—and we headed off for the 4:30-6:30 public skate. We arrived before my friend, which turned out to be lucky as each of us had to try on at least two pairs of skates before we found any that fit. Jack even had to rent skates, because his were in the back of our car, which was up on a lift at the mechanic.

Ten pairs of skates and one sensory tantrum by Quinn ("The skates are too tight! I don't like things that are tight! My foot ITCHES!!!!") later, we were booted up and ready to head out on the ice.


"This is the worst idea ever," I muttered to no one in particular as we waited for my friend. Little did I know.

Jack of course is a rock star on the ice. This part of the post is not about him.

Sam set off in a valiant attempt to skate. It looked a little bit more like he was stamping around the ice than skating, but he was doing it. He kept falling and he kept getting up and he was a hero.

I took this right as he fell. He's such a tenacious little blur.

You may wonder why that photo above was obviously taken from the bench. Well, I can answer that in five letters: Q-B-E-R-T.

Quinn was not having an easy time of it. It took us probably 15 minutes to get halfway around the rink. He kept falling, but he was not as perky about it as Sam was. He started crying and screaming and then he would recover and he would fall again. We sat on the bench for a while and then we tried again and there was more screaming and crying and clinging to me and my friend was all, "I won't be offended if you just pack it in and go home," but I was $37 into this motherfucking endeavor and we were going to skate, goddammit.

One man down.

At some point, Quinn's nose started to spontaneously bleed. My friend tried to ask about it and I hissed at her, "NO! NO! DON'T MENTION IT! HE CAN'T KNOW!" because if Quinn becomes aware of blood coming out of ANYWHERE on his person, he loses his mind entirely. I was too afraid of the freakout to try to staunch the slow flow of blood.

I just crossed my fingers that it wouldn't start dripping on the ice and call his attention to it.

I told him that if he stood still for a photo, I would buy him a soft pretzel.
This was his first smile in 45 minutes.

Turns out that Quinn wasn't the only one with issues. I was across the rink from Sam when I saw him fall down and crash the back of his head on the ice.

Ironically, the answer to his injury was more ice.

 Two men down.

After Sam retreated to the bench, Quinn decided he was going to try to skate. For someone who, 20 minutes earlier, couldn't skate two feet without falling down and screaming, he kind of rocked the skating rink.

At one point, he smoothly reached down, while in motion, to grab a chunk of ice he was passing. And then he ate it. I give up. I just give up.

Three men down. (Me.)

Licking ice off his fingers.

It was shortly after this that I noticed Jack was missing. For the second time. He spent the whole hour or so that we skated, zooming around the rink, happy to be awesome at something the rest of us so clearly sucked at, but he had disappeared once already. I had found him rink side, ripping off the paper bracelet that identified him as a paying customer.

This time he was not so easy to locate. Fortunately he had only wandered out to the lobby, where he had found a string and was busy cutting it into pieces with his skate blade. That kid, man. He cracks me the fuck up. It seemed he was done skating. The rest of Team Stimey was too, so we headed over to the snack bar to wait out our friends, who were skating in happy little perfect family circles.

We got a pretzel, although calling it "soft" would be a stretch.

By the time my friend made it to the snack bar, my kids were done with even that. It was time to bail. I don't really remember the next ten or so minutes, but I do remember Jack lying on the ground in a purposeful act of nonviolent resistance. My friend says she has never seen anyone so limp before. I say that Jack has civil disobedience down to a science.

Four men down.

Wait. Wasn't someone supposed to leave Thunderdome unscathed?


In addition to spreading all kinds of autism awareness at the ice rink yesterday, I also put together a post for White Knuckle Parenting about why I think autism awareness still matters. It is a version of something I published elsewhere last year, and it is still very, very true for me.


  1. I felt a lovely thrill of joy when I read 'Jack of course is a rock star on the ice'.  That's so great that he can do it and surely knows he's the best in the family at it...he must feel awesome out there. : )
    And hey, you all survived the trip, so considering how much hard ice and sharp skates there were involved, I'm extremely impressed. : )  Now you can just tuck them into blankets on the couch for the rest of the break, right?

  2. Sam stamping around the ice, Quinn eating the pretzel with the remnants of a bloody nose, Jack sneaking off to cut string. If I didn't know you I would swear you were making this all up.  Your family just makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. And also gag a little. Quinn eating the ice? Blargh.

  3. So, am I terrible for laughing out loud and having aftershock giggle fits when seeing that picture of Sam and the ice?! It's comedy....

    I think Quinn and my oldest would get along well..ingestion of nasty ice from the ground, rockhard soft--pretzels and freak outs about too-tight skates.

    And the civil disobedience?! Amusing when I'm not the one trying to peel a limp child off the ground...pure hell when I am she.

    Only 5 more days?!

  4.  That is the ONLY reason I keep dragging my family out to the rink. I love to watch Jack kick all of our asses. I can imagine how good it must feel to him.

    And, you're right, it could have been worse! No one got cut at least! :)

  5.  Sometimes I feel like we've made fools of ourselves out in public so often that we must have reached our quota, but shit keeps on happening. What the fuck, universe? What the fuck?

  6.  You are not terrible. That photo makes me laugh too.

    I spent most of today thinking/wishing it was Wednesday. So I'm not as close to the end as I thought we were.

  7. It sounds like what would happen if I tried to take mine ice-skating. Heh.

  8. Quinn's puking problem makes more sense after reading about him eating ice rink ice.  ;)

  9. you should have had a warning at the top saying "do not read if you are eating your morning bagel."  I almost choked laughing so hard!!!  God i love reading your posts!!! 

  10. I love these little stories probably the most.  I didn't read the part about how YOUR skating went though.  Where was that?  *goes back up to reread*

  11. I desperately needed a smile this morning. Thank you for that. No matter how bad things get in my own house, I can count on you to put the whole of our crazy lives into perspective and to remind me that laughter really is the best medicine. I feel like I should pay you or something. But I probably won't.

  12. See, and that right there is why we don't go ice skating.  Aside from Jack pimping it like a rock star, of course.   They seriously need to serve cocktails there.  Seriously.   

  13. So, so funny! Thanks for pointing out the humor in just about everything! If I didn't get a laugh out of what goes on around here, I definitely would be sobbing in a corner.  Enjoy the rest of spring break, and have a laugh on the rest of us who get to experience it NEXT week!

  14. So, what cool stuff do your neighbors have in their living room?

  15. Your kids are so awesome!  The civil disobedience parts crack me up the most!!  My son is so like that.  Just lying on the ground.  **sigh**

  16. I'm SO impressed! Ice skating is hardest on the mom I think!  Hope everyone heals up quick.

  17. I sooooooo would fit in on one of your skating trips.  I'd be the one clinging to the side and swearing fluently.  Then I'd end up hanging out on the bench until the Zamboni appeared.  Hopefully the driver would be smart enough to stop and give me a ride, otherwise I'd probably just have to live there for the rest of my life since there would be no way I would be getting back on the ice!

  18. I love everything about this post. Except for the fact that this forces me to realize that someday I'll have to take MY children skating. And my kid will SO be the kid who eats the ice.

  19. HA, great post. And anyone who thinks the exact same thing wouldn't happen with their kids is a LIAR!

  20. I can't guess the amount of ice rink ice shavings my son has eaten...quite a lot. No harm done. Like eating butter pats it seems gross, but ... no harm, no foul.


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