Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Triplets on ice

It's about eight months since this picture was taken at the ice rink, and even though Shark, Squirrel and Tiger haven't been near any ice in that time - apart from the chunks of it they bomb-blast into their apple juice - today when I watch them edging out onto the ice I am struck by how self-assured and confident and individual they are, and how purposeful they seem, like they are each just deciding to go over there and actually taking that decision rather than being taken there by force of circumstance because the skates are lined up that way, or being slid along there by a sister who won't let go.

I watch all of this movement in three different directions, and all without arms going like windmills, nor with sisters anywhere near, and quite honestly I am knocked out. It is all I can do to stop myself grabbing the sleeve of the person standing next to me and pumping it up and down like a mechanical aid put there to measure the amount of my excitement about this turn of event. I want to shout Look at my children! They are upright! They are all different! Really, I have to contain myself over this or people will think I am mad, or that I never encouraged them to stand independently. Or I keep them on the floor with vodka shots.

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are completely oblivious to this maternal joy, and seem unaware that a great moment has passed, and that now they do not need to hang onto each other, and then blame each other when they all fall over. I watch them, each concentrating on their own skill; how to turn round on one leg, how to move round the toddler without clinging onto them, and how to glide while lifting one leg in the air.

Clearly they've each learned a few things about standing upright, which is better than mummy Grit can manage without metal blades strapped to her feet. They have learned standing alone on your own two skates; how to put one foot in front of the other and move; how not to do the splits while screaming and yelling. Astonishingly, they have even learned to fall over with control and dare I suggest, dignity. While they are falling I can see them correct themselves with an outstretched arm here and a leg extended there, seeking new balance. This is a pretty amazing sight. None of this I can do after a quick sniff of cooking sherry, and nothing at all after two bottles of beer. Then I can only fall gracelessly face down in the gutter, hoping no-one can see me weep.

How the little gritlets have achieved all this magnificent independent balance and poise while perched on metal blades I simply do not know. They do not have ice skating lessons. I am too poor and mean for those, and cannot fit another thing into the week's timetable without dying from nervous exhaustion. In place of actual ice skating, they have strapped Ikea tea-trays and empty mushroom containers to their feet and pushed each other around the schoolroom table on those.

Well evidently that technique has not only worked, it has produced a bonus by way of independent locomotion. And proud mummy that I am, I resolve to stock up on tea trays and mushroom containers in preparation for winter and Olympic gold.


sharon said...

Bet you are looking forward to the day when this independence extends to all activities. Won't that be nice:-)

Brad said...

This balances out the three headed monster in the back seat of the car rather nicely I think.