It's been almost three weeks since we got back from California and settling back in to life's necessary routines has been tough. Pam is back at work 3-4 days per week and Elise has two days of preschool. Pam has a tough class, but seems to be getting into the rhythm of things and Elise is enjoying her days with the other kids. She was nervous at first, but there was never any drama and the second week went quite well.
On Wednesdays, I've been taking Elise skiing to the Blackcomb base area. It's been an enjoyable father-daughter bonding experience, but teaching her to ski has been much harder than I would have anticipated. The problems likely stem from a snow-related "incident" that occurred a couple of years ago. Upon returning from our sunny European fall vacation, we found Squamish blanketed in fresh snow and decided to get Elise outside for a nice sledding session with her friends. This was her first contact with snow and it ended with a high-speed face plant into the powder, and a lot of tears. After two months in sunny Spain, this was a rude slap in the face, quite literally. Since that outing, she's not demonstrated a real fondness for the white stuff, and since Pam and I don't really recreate much in the snow, exposure to the cold and ice has been minimal.
Bundled up in the lodge...
History aside, she's been doing quite well at Blackcomb. She really enjoys riding the lifts (a carpet ride and a triple chair) and is getting less fearful of contacting the snow, although she still refuses to touch it with her bare hands. I've been using a leash system, which allows me to snowplow behind her and control her speed. I put her climbing harness over her ski suit and attach a thin climbing rope to her hips. This has worked quite well, except it's already turning into a crutch, both physically and mentally - she's not able to slow down on her own and is terrified of what might happen when I take it off. We regressed to the bunny slope yesterday (no leash), but she still wasn't able to learn the snowplow, despite me skiing backwards in front of her and holding her ski tips together. I am seriously considering a proper lesson - I feel as though my efforts are handicapped because I'm her father and she has me emotionally wrapped around her little finger. She might respond very differently to another adult who's an authority figure, but not a parent.
Her favourite part of the day - hot chocolate in the day lodge!
The leash is visible trailing off her hips on the left of the photo.
Regardless, it's fun and I try to keep the mood light. After some stressful leash-free snowplow practice, we stopped and built a snowman and a snow caterpillar (her idea). I put some lichen on the snowman, which looked like a beard, and she declared that the snowman was definitely Grandpa Bourdon! I'm not sure if that's flattering or not...
We will continue our ski outings and I'll be sure to post a message the instant she starts snowplowing on her own. That will be a red letter day.
Enjoy the winter!