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Cutting Edge: Teaching Your Kid To Ice Skate, When You Don’t Know How Yourself


I recently blogged about my birthday, so you all know I’m 32 (and dance on tables). Thirty-two and never been ice skating—that is until yesterday. I was a roller skater in my day, but I never had a desire to ice skate. Because of this, I’ve been a little scared to try, but I don’t want this fear to grow in my kid, as he’s never been on the ice either. A group of us parents and kids made a date at Wayne Ice Vault. How hard could it be?

Well for starters, do we get figure or hockey skates? I ended up with hockey-ish skates and JD, cute, little figure skates. My friend, Ed (an avid skater), helped JD lace up, as I was unsure if they were too lose—or tight. As I watched him tie JD’s little skates, I felt extremely lucky to be friends with him and his lovely wife, Amy. I often talk about my dad and brothers and the role they play in JD’s life, but his friends’ dads are equally awesome. We’re blessed.

JD wasn’t thrilled with the feel of the skates on his ankles, or how the blades felt on the floor, as we all filed to the rink, showing the guard the pink bracelets on our wrists. “This is wobbly, mom!” Ed and his daughter, Lily, took off. Matt and his daughter, Anna, took off. Shane’s mom coaxed him on … they all took off. Then there was JD and me. Two newbies, who had never been skating before—Gulp. I was as freaked as JD. That ice is … slippery, man! I wish Uncle Bri was with us. He’s a great ice skater and roller blader—and I know JD would have felt safer with him. I also know uncle Bri would have just pulled him on the ice before he could get scared.

JD squeezed both of his gloved hands on my free one. I felt the slick ice under my blades—oh boy. OK, I thought. I’m the parent. I’m the adult. We can do this. I grazed my free hand on the wall and led JD onto the ice.

“I wanna get off. I don’t like this. I don’t like you. I wanna go home,” he said.

“It’s OK,” I reassured him. I won’t let you fall,” I said. (Later on I told Uncle Bri this story. “When I take him skating I’m letting his a*s fall. He needs to fall, Christine.”) We slowly cruised from door 1 to door 2 … in twenty minutes time, haha. JD said, “I wanna go home the entire time.” Ed stared at us like we were deranged, but somewhat proud. At one point he took JD, by both hands. I watched him pull my son away. He was … skating. Ed brought him back to me.

My mom was waiting at door 2 and helped JD off the ice. Ed actually said that for the two of us to make it to door 2, even grazing the wall, for first-timers, was … good. JD and his tear-stained cheeks and cold, red nose fell into my mom’s arms. I however felt my calling … calling to the ice. It was my shining moment.

“Watch mommy,” I said to JD. He was still crying and yelping, “Nooooo, don’t go,” like I was plunging into a volcano. It was strange. He had a very strong, irrational reaction to the unknown. I wonder where he gets this from, hehe. Precisely why I pressed on. “It’s OK, dude, watch mommy!” Christ, I thought and not in a sarcastic way. Heck, I went to mass just hours ago. It was more like, Dear Christ, don’t send me to the ER. The copay is $500.

I felt my hand leave the wall. I steadied myself. “Don’t think about it,” my friend Matt said, skating backwards, holding Anna’s hands. “If you feel like you’re going to fall, center yourself and crouch down a little like you’re going to sit in a chair. Stick your butt out.” I followed his instructions. Ed made fun of me the whole time, as Lily, his 4-year-old daughter had better technique than me.

It took me a graceful 8 minutes to round the rink. I kept telling myself, You can do this. You graduated college. You wrote a book. You had a Spinal Fusion. You had a C-Section. There are three-year-olds on the ice. You’re a singe mom. You’ve been yelled at by high-ranking editors, cried and come back for more … Prevail, Christine, Prevail on … Mostly I kept going, passing exit doors, because I knew JD was watching. I wanted to show him mommy doesn’t give up. Mommy follows through. No matter if I fall (and, hi, I didn’t), no matter how long it takes … I was rounding that rink. I was met by … great tears—not cheers. “Mommy, I need you, get off!”

Nothing a pretzel and hot cocoa couldn’t fix.

The crew dined on snacks.

On the drive home, I thought about how much I enjoyed the ice. Once I found my 8-minute groove, I was in fact, gliding, pushing off with one foot, the other, and repeat. It was exciting and scary and fun to try something new. I want JD to feel this joy. I won’t force him, but we’re giving it another whirl. We’re going back. Back with uncle Bri. Stay tuned. For now, enjoy these lovely images …

Special thanks to Ed and Matt—two awesome daddies. Your kids are lucky wee ones.


  • Male Role Model 1 of 5
    Male Role Model
    Lily's dad, Ed, helps JD put his skates on. I'm lucky to have awesome guy friends.
  • Tiny Ice Skaters 2 of 5
    Tiny Ice Skaters
    JD, Shane, Lily and Anna ready to skate (sort of)!
  • Ice Queen 3 of 5
    Ice Queen
    I glide to Matt and Anna with confidence ... and grace ... ahhhh
  • Tears, Not Cheers 4 of 5
    Tears, Not Cheers
    After rounding the entire rink (go me!) JD is hysterical when I meet him. We hug it out.
  • Spectator Sport? 5 of 5
    Spectator Sport?
    JD does however enjoy watching a high school hockey game.
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Tell me about your ice skating adventures! XO

Follow me @JDSMOM2007 on twitter. Visit ChristineCoppa.net For more info on where to buy Rattled! click here.

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