Aim High, Or: How Trying to Impress Your Children Can Alter Your Behaviour...

>> Friday, 20 January 2012

The snow has finally arrived here in Moscow. We've been back from our Christmas break now for just over two weeks, and ten days ago what seemed like a never-ending cycle of snow-thaw misery broke, the temperature dropped below freezing, and the white stuff came to stay until - probably - April.

This can be a pain obviously, but in a city that is geared up for this type of bad weather (official sources claim there are 10,000 people working on keeping Moscow moving), it's not as bad as you might think. It is at least brighter out there, even on these dark mornings, and - hurrah - we get to cross country ski.

Don't get me wrong; cross country skiing is no picnic, it's hard work. But you're exercising outside rather than in, usually in beautiful surroundings, and quite often in sunshine bright enough to need sunglasses, so I love it - up to a point.

And that point? To be honest - as a non-natural sportsperson better acquainted with the sofa and a book than fresh air - I'm pretty rubbish at it. But after a successful initial foray into the woods last weekend with Husband and the Boys (all of us on skis - it never ceases to amaze me that two boys who complain about walking from the house to the car will happily cross country ski for an hour or more), I felt pretty good about my prospects when I agreed to repeat the experience with a couple of friends yesterday. One of them, I knew from last year, was pretty experienced, but the other assured me that she had only done this a couple of times before and was still pretty much a novice - so I thought I would be OK.

Ha! Ha! And thrice, HA!

I knew I was out of my depth when the supposedly inexperienced friend bounced into her skis as I struggled with my new bindings and quickly instructed me on how to put them on properly, before she skate-skied off into the distance like a professional.


As Husband pointed out later, this friend is from Canada where cross country skiing is a little more common than in the wilds of Gloucestershire (where I grew up), and at one time was a national competition-level skater. What the hell did I expect?

In any case it was clear after I returned home yesterday, after more falls than I could count, that I need help. So last night, Boy #1 - also keen to tune up his cross country ski-skills - and I turned to the oracle YouTube in search of instruction. (What? If you can learn how to fillet a fish, put up a garden trampoline, and make a pinata on YouTube, why not pick up some tips on skiing?). Anyway, we found a whole host of clips offering helpful hints, and watched one of them.

Now, here's where this rambling post gets to the point of the title.

Boy #1 and I watched, with me laughing hollowly from time to time as I ruefully rubbed my bruised behind, while the presenter of the video showed us various techniques to improve our 'classic diagonal' ski style. Towards the end of it, the hints became a little more advanced, and the last couple of clips showed a man skiing at pace down a hill and round a corner both at the same time. I regarded this through narrowed eyes, wondering if I would ever manage to come down a hill without taking my skis off half way down the slope in disgust at my repeated tumbles.

Boy #1, however, is ever the optimist when it comes to my abilities. As the skier came pegging it down the hill, he turned to me and said authoritatively "That's you, in three weeks Mum." And as the guy went at speed around a corner, he looked at me, winked, and said "And that's you in four..."

Right. I'm off now to practise my cross country skiing. There's an 8 year old Boy out there with high expectations to impress...

By the way, I'm looking for ideas on how to celebrate my forthcoming 1,000th post on The Potty Diaries. Thoughts?


Tattie Weasle 20 January 2012 at 07:10  

Heck yes that will be you! Your boy believes and that is powerful stuff!

Iota 20 January 2012 at 15:00  

I gave up trying to impress my children a while ago - except I occasionally do a headstand, which does impress them. Less effort than cross country skiing, but less fun.

nappy valley girl 20 January 2012 at 15:24  

Sympathies. I tried cross country skiing for the first time last year. As a fairly experienced skier I thought it would be fine, but I could not go downhill on those skis to save my life and ended up covered in bruises. Luckily my children did not witness this!

We're due to get the first snow tonight too - but have a feeling it won't stay, it keeps warming up again. Weird winter weather this year.

Knackered Mother 20 January 2012 at 20:30  

This time last year we were snowed in...not this year. Sigh. Anyway, bravo for the skiing, the things we do for love...

Russia Lite 22 January 2012 at 09:10  

In terms of your 1000th post: I see a badge with a signature look and feel....

Russia Lite 22 January 2012 at 09:10  

In terms of your 1000th post: I see a badge with a signature look and feel....

expatmammy 22 January 2012 at 18:34  

sounds like your having a great time

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