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Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Ski lessons bring out inner cranky child in mom

Learning to ski turns back the clock

Every Saturday my husband gets a third child: ME. That's because I've been learning to ski this winter, and I'm a real mess on the slopes.

My dependency starts the night before when my husband lays out my clothes for the next day.

"It's going to be 25 degrees," he says. "I'm putting hand-warmers in your coat pocket."

Then he packs my lunch. I'm kind of a picky eater so he has to be creative. He doesn't cut the crusts off my sandwiches, but he does use gluten-free bread.

The next day at Summit West, I need help buckling my ski boots. A brief argument ensues about whether or not the straps are tight enough. After a bit of whining on my part, I capitulate and my husband tightens the buckles up a few notches. Then he drops me off at ski school.

"I'll be here to pick you up at 11:30," he says, looking at his watch.

I am totally clueless about what time it is because I didn't bother wearing a watch. But I did manage to put on my mittens all by myself.

By the time my ski lesson is over I'm really cold and tired. So are my son and daughter, whom my husband has been teaching for the past two hours. I am no help at all, because I can barely keep up as they walk to the lodge.

Over lunch, my husband quizzes me about what I've learned at school that day.

"I can do pizza turns," I say, "but French fry turns are too hard and still don't understand what a hot dog is."

I'll need a lot of help on my homework.

After lunch is over, I realize that I have no idea where I left my gear. Luckily, my husband remembers. My 7-year-old helps clip on my skis, because I'm still in danger of falling over.

"Kick your toe and squash your heel, Mom," he says.

Then my husband scrapes snow off the bottom of my boot because I'm still having trouble. That helps a lot.

Before I know it, we are in line for the chair lift up "Little Thunder." My son mocks me for needing to go on the easiest course. A bit of bickering ensues that requires my husband to play referee. I have temporarily lost all parental authority, because I am clearly a ski bunny idiot.

The most humbling thing is riding up the chair lift and watching all the little kids zoom down the mountain, completely fearless. I try not to be jealous of how quickly kids learn, but really I'm thinking "Oh, to be 4 years old and strapped securely into a ski leash!"

There are two things that help me get down the slope: watching my son (the big brother) make it all look so easy and humming the tune from the skiing episode of "Curious George." PBS Kids is oddly comforting.

By the time my husband is driving us home, I'm ready for snack time and a nap. So maybe I'm 4 years old after all. But at least I'm tall enough to ride in the front seat.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teaching

Story tags » ParentingDownhill Skiing

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