Saturday we took our son skiing for the first time. We figured that at 4 and a half, he was ready.
He has some sensory integration issues and can have a picker, tag in his shirt, or wrinkle in his sock that can be the worst thing in the world, at least for him, at that moment in time. I figured the biggest potential obstacle to fun was going to be his ski boots that need to be tight. Tight enough to stimulate some sort of negative response. I foresaw issues and knew going home was always an option.
My wife knew that he has a healthy respect for heights and that the chairlift could be very scary for him. I hadn't thought of that, but the moment she mentioned it to me, I realized there was more, much more, that could rise up and send us home early.
The socks from last summers soccer league extend above his knees and always stay up. The foot part is loose and baggy, but with a little pulling, never wrinkle when a shoe or boot is put on. How such a baggy sock can always be wrinkle free continues to boggle me.
Without an issue he was soon booted and in the bindings, ready to ski. The rest of us had to boot ourselves up and bundle some extra winter clothing a bit. He just stood there and waited, relaxed. The pictures show a comfortable body language, as if he'd done this many times before.
I had time to run over and get our lift tickets while everyone else geared up. Then it was time to walk to the lift, towing a 4 year old on skis. He held on the grip end of a pole and just plowed along. My wife and I took turns getting tired.
On the way to the chair lift, I asked him if he was "ready to ride the flying chairs" He just looked at me with his big blue eyes and smiled.
The lower lift operator slowed the chairs for us and we were in and off up the hill. "Look at those people, they look like dolls" was his first comment as we were hoisted up the hill. It was later that night, reading Curious George, that I realized it was a line plagerized from George as he was flying over town on a bunch of balloons he accidentally stole from the balloon man.
The upper lift operator slowed the chairs for us to exit which we did without any falls. It just couldn't be going any better.
It took some experimentation, but without a training harness, we found the best way for [son] to ski was between our legs with us holding his coat, guiding him, as he giggled and vibrated with excitement.
After 4-5 runs we ate lunch with some extended family, nieces and nephews in an RV one of them owned. Potluck, homemade baked beans, brats, fresh fruit were the order of the day.
[Son] ate and played in the master suite up over the cab with his cousins then we were back out on the hill till he started to show signs of wearyness induced crankyness. Then it was time to go and off we went. Home was calling.
A little dinner of skiing leftovers, a little Spongebob on the Nintendo, then he was off to bed with only token resistence.
This was probably one of the best days we've had as a family.
Later that night, [wife] looked me in the eyes and said "Know how long I've waited to do that?" Knowing that [son] is 4, I was tempted to say "4", but that seemed to obvious so I answered "4" anyway.
"No, 27 years" she corrected me, the warmth and joy flowing as a long held dream was realized. The talk turning to more days of skiing as a family.