Skating dervish

We’re back at the rink – our earliest arrival yet. It’s three days pre Copenhagen, a balmy 14°C in Halifax under torrential rain. I wonder what the cumulative environmental impact is of all the ice making machines across the country. That’s a wondering I’m sure the WWF could help to answer.

We skittle quickly from the car to Cole Harbour Place. I’m down on my knees in the stands trying to get the lad’s skates on. “Papa, it’s taking a long time,” says Noah with a note of impatience as I fumble with his laces. As soon as the last skate is tightened he scoots off his seat and walks confidently to the open door at ice level. I set him up with a chair and he’s off.

It’s a great skate. Only eight falls this morning – a good thing as I forgot his rain pants. Best of all two unassisted jags of self-propelled blading for about 10 meters a shot. It’s a ‘look ma, no hands’ moment. Noah is beaming. His confidence is buoyant, yet measured. He’s still prone to the unanticipated vagaries of a treacherous slip, sliding smooth iced surface. A few times he calls out, “Papa, did you see, I nearly fell? I nearly fell, did you see?”

Today he’s not interested in being pushed around seated in a chair. He takes two short breaks in the stands to slake his thirst and then back onto the ice. It’s all about moving around the rink today, pushing with those muscled little calves and getting a better bead on steering that sometimes unpredictable chair.

He doesn’t want the end to come and asks, “Why does it always have to have an end?”. He does have the distinction this time of being last off the ice. There is a bonus too. The zambone as he calls it does its sweeping, brushing and mini-flooding. We wait until it’s all done and then make a quick hit at the library – movies for maman and papa, Curious George for Noah and toddler books for Nellie-Rose.

We hit Canadian Tire on the way home. A couple just leaving the ice when we arrived at Cole Harbour Place noticed that Noah had no face mask on his helmet. They highly recommended we get one as it provides better protection. There have been a few accidents among the pre-school crowd resulting in teeth getting knocked out and bloody lips. Noah and his helmet are now inseparable.

As soon as he wakes from his nap, he goes straight for the shiny black head gear. We snap it on and he starts calling out to maman, “Can you hear me, can you hear me now?” He then takes a few steps away from us and repeats the questions. We let him know that his wearing of the helmet neither impedes our hearing , or the ability of his voice to carry over distance. It’s like the helmet is glued to his head. He wants it on, on, on and asks, “How do goalies eat?” For starters we tell him that no one eats on the ice. It’s really about removing the mask.

Nellie is pretty nonplussed about the masked, helmeted brother. She takes it all in stride. She cracks us up a couple of times in the course of the day. At one point, maman admonishes her for having her finger buried up her nose. Nellie pulls her finger out, holds it up for inspection and says, scrunching up her face to maximize the cute effect, “It’s a mouse, squeak, squeak, squeak.” The ‘mouse’ line is now her standard response when asked about the finger in the nose. The show and tell and the squeak, squeak, squeak are a new twist from her ever expanding bag of tricks.

A short while later, Nellie is getting up close and personal with the kitchen floor. Her keen eyes discover a brown mark and she cries out in alarm, “Oh no, dog caca, dog caca.” Fortunately she’s mistaken. The stain is residue from an errant drop of one of maman’s beloved chocolate fondues.

Nellie is truly velcro sister. Whenever Lila is accessible, Nellie is right there. She is kissing, stroking, touching, poking, petting, tickling, rocking and anything else she can dream up. It’s all very loving but we need to have eyes in the back of our heads to make sure that Lila is not being crowded by big sister’s exuberance. It’s a joy though to see the pure delight that illuminates Nellie’s face when she’s close to her Lila.

Lila is two weeks old today. She is beautiful tout court. Cradled in our arms, her eyes are searching, constantly moving across our faces. She is a quiet baby, a hungry baby, an absolutely adorable baby. We are all madly in love with her.

As for Noah, seeing that he is fast as lightening, I might have to start calling him flash.

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