ice time S.O.S.

If you watched Connor playing for all of twenty minutes you would undoubtedly see him playing some variation of a sport. He frequently tosses a football into the air and races to catch it himself, "Gronk makes the catch!" said quietly to himself as he does his own play by play. (it's very cute to watch, but don't let on that you are listening!) He shoots baskets at the closet door hoop we put up two Christmases ago. We had to take away his golf clubs because he was driving small balls into people and breakable objects with such force and precision that we had no choice. He drags the two knee hockey goals into the center of the floor, dumps all the tiny wiffle balls out and shoots endlessly on both nets. He begs Daddy to do "batting practice." He amuses passerby at BC tailgates with his non-stop punting, throwing, and catching. He is a physical kid. Period.

We thought it was a no brainer that it was his turn for the town's "Learn to Hockey" program this year. Steve and I alternated watching Caroline last year because one of us had to be constantly amusing Connor with his knee hockey sticks. He seemed excited, he appeared ready, we took him to a public skate at the same arena as the Learn To program and he even seemed excited about hockey.

It was a downhill slide from the moment his skates hit the ice on Week 1. He could stand up, but he participated passively and then made his way ever so slowly across the ice to the door and off he came. Last week during the second week, he screamed so loud that the director asked him to take a break. They don't encourage the kids to get off the ice. Ever. I boosted, I encouraged, I begged, I commanded. He dropped his gloves from his hands and stared me down.

We tried to give him some confidence and brought the whole family to another local public skate the following day and the kid was racing around, "no, don't help me" and "I don't want to be done." I spent the week reinforcing hockey on Saturday and having a good attitude, participating, and having fun. We held our collective breath as he stepped out on the ice this morning and he stood there, refusing to skate, stoic, determined, and poised for a quick exit from the ice. The singular positive is that he did not cry. I again tried to convince him to get out there, to show the coaches he COULD actually skate, to encourage and he again hit us with 'No" and "I don't want to." The kid who plays hockey non-stop, the one who is sitting beside Steve at this very moment watching the Bruins game asking endless questions, that kid does not want to play?

We don't get it. We don't understand it. He isn't too young. He isn't struggling to skate. He is interested in hockey. He wants to score goals. He just flat out refuses to participate and it is making us both UTTERLY insane. Are we bad parents if we push him through whatever is stopping him from going for it? or are we bad parents if we let it go and sit him down? We are stuck in this terrible grey spot where there is no right answer. Half the parents there judge us because we don't stick him out and walk away letting him scream his head off if he wants, but STAY ON THE ICE. The other half look at us and think we are pushing too hard. It is an epic battle of wills and he is proving to be the most willful of us all. That's a pretty hard task, but he is excelling at willfulness.

What's the right move here???


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