Ski trip #1 – I pick Josie up from school. We stop twice to use the bathroom. We’re about 20 minutes from the summit and she starts screaming that her mouth hurts. I pull off the highway and identify it is, in fact, her ears that hurt. At first I think, she must have an ear infection. Then I realize it’s the altitude and pressure on her ears. We’ve never had a problem with her ears releasing before and after much yawning and water drinking, I realize that she must have fluid in her ears from her cold and this isn’t going to work. We turn around and head for home – J screaming her head off in disappointment – and we hit Seattle at exactly 5:00 pm. All together we spend 3 hours in the car and don’t even see snow. Super!
Ski trip #2 – We make it to the mountain. The first few runs are tough. I use the word “runs” loosely. There’s a very gradual slope that frequently requires pushing or scooting and is really only about 40 feet long. Nonetheless, she’s a pile of arms and legs pointing in different directions, skis crossed, screaming that she just can’t do it. There is much crying and frustration. There is some talking about how hard it is to learn something new — that it takes time and patience and practice.
I tell her we can go in at any time but that only makes her scream more. She does not want to go in.
Finally at the top of the run I tell her we will wait until she is ready to try again. She needs to think that she can do this. I tell her to take as much time as she needs. Then I bring out the bag of almonds.
Now, I come from a long line of hypoglycemics and J’s different biological history has not altered the family line in that respect. When my sister first started dating her husband they went to Paris. I didn’t know Steve well at the time but I wanted to call him and tell him that he needed to carry a block of cheese in his pocket and force her to eat some every hour. Oh, here we are at the Eiffel Tower, would you like some cheese? Notre Dame! Cheese? Louve! Cheese! This is what we must do and I was applying the same principle to J that day. We ate rice cheese in the car on the way up. We ate ham in the lodge before started and we ate almonds on the slope.
As we eat our almonds, she is uncharacteristically quiet. It’s strange. I want to video tape her to show Paul because I didn’t think he’ll believe me but it’s pretty uninteresting to watch a video tape of a quiet child. At one point I ask her what she’s thinking about. She says nothing.
Then she says: I like your braids, Mama.
Me: Thank you.
J: I like them so much I want to cut them off and eat them.
Me: Oh. That’s nice, dear, I say, wondering if hair contains any protein.
J: OK, I’m ready.
I help her up, we put on her skis. I give her a push and she is perfect.