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Both girls are in skating camp this week. Their regular camp doesn’t start until next month, so I signed them up at the local skating rink. It’s every day, 9:30 until 3:30. They spend a good portion of their time on skates, something that Little Girl did not know how to do.

Okay, so the first day Little Girl cried when I left her. She wanted to come home with me. (Breaking my heart with her tears.) I picked her up and she came leaping into my arms. Once the hugging was over I asked her if she skated. No, she told me. She was scared.

The second day I dropped her off with only a tear or two. I picked her up and asked her if she skated. Yes, she said. With the skatemate — a small right angle made of PVC pipes and set on top of wheels. I was impressed. I could remember having to hold Big Girl up time and again when she was learning to skate, and here was my little one venturing out onto the rink all by herself.

Wednesday Little Girl ran into camp with her sister. When I picked them up she was gleeful. “I skated all by myself, Mama! Without the skatemate!” Skeptical, I turned to Big Girl and asked her if Little Girl was telling the truth. She was, she said. Little Girl, my tiny little girl who weighs 30 pounds and is barely tall enough to open the refrigerator on her own, learned to skate in three days. Without the help of either of her parents.

Today Little Girl came home from skate camp with a bunch of new bruises and a whole lot of confidence. She’s amazing, really. It reminded me of that story that some parents and grandparents tell about throwing their kids into the pool so they will learn how to swim. While I have a strong feeling they are lying their butts off, I do think that there’s something to be said for letting kids learn new skills in a safe environment on their own. How about you?

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