Sometimes I fear for our little girls. Oftentimes, I am very proud of what they’ve accomplished. Sometimes I doubt whether we should be pushing them to do some of the things they’re doing now. But hey, these are our only children and how the heck are we to know what their limitations are until we push them…just a little…here and there.
What I’m referring to is the fact that at 3 years old, our girls are x-country skiing, ice skating and about to take their first downhill ski lesson. They were a mere 11 months old when they first stood on skis; 21 months old when they took their first steps on skis with a helping hand; 34 months old when we strapped on their x-country skis and they took off without any encouragement or help from us. This is their fourth season on x-country skis and outside of putting their skis on their feet and their poles in hand, they’re on their own.
My husband is Norwegian and his mindset is quite different from mine when it comes to life in wintertime. Snow is a fact of life and playing outside whether it’s freezing or not is the norm. They have a saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes,” meaning if you’re cold, you’re not wearing the right clothes. Moreover, the rationale behind our girls on skis at 11 months old – “If you can stand [in shoes], you can stand on skis. There’s no difference.” I guess that’s true too, if you’re standing still. My husband is a first-generation Norwegian. He is still a citizen and his entire family lives there.
Me? I’m a Filipino who spent most of her life in California, growing up in San Diego. Winter meant rain and well, that’s about it. I spent my formative years in Idaho Falls, Idaho, 3rd thru 8th grades. For my parents though, forget that “bad clothes” idea – what are you doing outside? It’s freezing out there and the only real way to stay warm is to stay inside…with the heater on…and a fire in the fireplace. It shouldn’t surprise you that I didn’t learn how to ski until I was in my 30’s.
As for our girls, my husband’s childhood will serve as our guide in what they’re going to learn and do…in the snow. Additionally, there are 9 cousins in Norway, many around the same age, likely learning the sorts of things my husband learned in his youth. So, if they’re all x-country skiing now, there is no reason our girls shouldn’t be as well. In fact, my husband has pictures of himself skiing to their family cabin in the mountains at the tender age of 2.5 years. His mother confirms the story. This was born out of necessity though. The parking lot for the cabins on that mountain sits 3 Km away from the family cabin. Making their children ski was necessary for my in-laws’ physical well-being, I’m sure.
Though we don’t live in the snow, we’re only a few hours away. Close enough for us to visit whenever we have a free weekend. And often enough, that our girls won’t fall behind their cousins in all things winter-like.