Have you ever seen those tiny toddlers who zip down ski slopes as if they haven’t a care in the world?
Well, I’m a Dad who dreams big…and my wish for Sophie is that she could use her tender years to her advantage and be like those daredevil children.
So, just a couple of weeks after her 3rd birthday, armed with a waterproof suit and boundless optimism (from me anyway), Sophie and I headed off at the crack of dawn to Chill Factor…
How would she get on?
We’d prepared her slightly by going to their wintry playpark a few weeks earlier.
That had been traumatic.
Sophie hated the cold. She hated the wet. She hated the boots and she didn’t want to wear either her hat or her gloves.
Things weren’t promising.
To cap it all, we needed to be there 45 minutes before the lesson started, meaning leaving our house before 7am – on a Sunday. Horrendous.
When we got there, we realised the 45 minutes was very generous. Literally, there was nobody else there.
Sophie was quite happy though, running round and actually enjoying getting her big boots. It was hammered home to me just how small her feet were when I asked the instructor for size 5 and he said, “the smallest we’ve got is 8.” Gulp.
They gave her thick socks to help her fit in. They were the length of her arm. But she liked them and helped her feet fit in.
I kitted her out and she was quite happy to have a hat and gloves this time. Even a helmet at a push. Carrying her own skis was a touch too far though and when she worked out that I couldn’t come through onto the slopes her tears began to fall like raindrops.
She was in a class of three and there were two instructors so I thought she’d be OK once she got going. They were only going in the playpark after all. Surely she’d cope.
However, as soon as I got upstairs to the viewing platform, I could hear the whimpering was continuing and me waving “hey Sophie!” only made things worse.
I scampered back downstairs to hold her hand and convince her to put her skis on. With a bit of persuasion, and much holding hands with me, we got the skis on her feet and she was happy to slide around.
Her instructor Nathan got a bit ambitious…”side-stepping up the slopes? Falling over and getting back up again?” Sophie wasn’t quite ready.
She did however make it round a few circuits and vaguely get used to the skis on her feet. It hadn’t been a complete disaster and she’d probably be up for going back next week.
I’ll take that.