Alex, Jack, and I went skiing today. It was Alex's third time on cross country skis this year, and the best outing yet. Blue skies, gorgeous white snow, and warm temperatures. He is so cute on his little skis, chugging along. We have discovered a dog/ski trail at the end of our neighborhood, on a nice wooded golf course. It is not too steep, not too curvy, and not too long. We have yet to make a full circuit (about 5km) but may get there by the end of the year.
I have had to lay down the law about a few things. Thou shalt get up on your own, is the big one and was instituted on his last trip. Thou shalt not whine, another key commandment, was begun on this trip. And Thou shalt wear sunglasses, will be started on his next outing. Getting up on his own saves my back, no whining saves my sanity, and wearing sunglasses will be good for him directly. He looked so cute rolling around on his back trying to figure out how to get his skis back under him. I think it is excellent problem solving practice.
My motivational techniques sometimes are carrots and sometimes are sticks. For the first two laws, sticks were in order. But maybe not your normal sticks. I threatened him with having to take his skis off and walk. It went like this... "Fwuump", down he went in a small heap. "Mama, mama, pull me up!", from somewhere at snow level. "Nope, you get yourself up or we will have to take your skis off and head back to the car." -pause- "Okay." And up he would pop, usually sooner rather than later. Dang, why didn't I do that the whole time last week? Oh yeah, we were with friends and their kids, and I wasn't sure if he could get himself up. By the end of that trip I was a bit fried so gave up on all help, and threatened walking because it was all I could think of. To my amazement it worked, so I am sticking with it. This time we were on our own, and my main goal was his independence. I only gave him the tiniest help two times. He was down at least two dozen. Ahhhh, the sweet taste of success. And he had fun! And so did I. Whining was minimized as well, and new techniques were dabbled with. Like side stepping up the steep stuff, and skiing downhill through three inches of fresh powder. It was quiet glorious. I was day dreaming of other, longer ski trips to take in the future. Visions of hut-to-hut trips in the mountains were dancing in my head. Maybe a day at a downhill ski area with peaks nearby, and trails, trails, trails. We could even start with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan before heading out West one day. The whole snowy world awaits.