I'm experiencing unusual, winter-like weather here in Atlanta...in November. I am writing with a fire in the fireplace, George Winston's Winter playing in the background, coffee mug at hand. What better way to celebrate the publication of my new picture book, Wibble Wobble Boom! (Peachtree Publishing), available November 29th?
As you might guess from the adorable cover by Holly Sterling, Wibble Wobble Boom! is about learning to ice skate. Claire arrives for her first lesson with high-flying dreams of leaping and spinning, like the skaters she's seen on TV. How disappointing that the first skill she's taught, is how to fall safely!
If you're a long time follower of this blog, you know my daughter Lily was a competitive figure skater from kindergarten through high school graduation. She spent every single weekday at the ice rink. And by default, so did I. Every. Single. Day.
Lily chanced into figure skating. A kindergarten classmate invited her to a birthday party at the local ice rink. A birthday party is not a good time to introduce kindergartners to ice skating. The whole class stood wobbling on rental skates, afraid to step on the ice. While her friends whined about falling and being cold and couldn't we just go eat cake, my daredevil daughter and a couple of boys stepped on the ice. Clutching the side rails, they inched their way around. The next thing I knew, Lily had let go of the rails and was baby-gliding away from the boys.
Lily continued her cautious way around the rink, arms straight out to her sides. The other kids had flopped on the spectator bench, whining that their feet hurt, they were cold, they wanted cake. The birthday girl's mom kept checking her watch, knowing that the party room wouldn't be open for another half hour.
"This is fun!" Lily called to me. And took another lap around, a bit faster time. By the time she had finished a second trip, the birthday mom announced it was time for cake and presents.
"Do I have to eat cake?" Lily asked me. "I want to stay here and skate."
I told her she had to go eat cake but after that, she could come back and skate.
And she did.
For four hours. At the end of the session, her legs were so sore, I had to carry her out to the car. As I buckled her into her car seat she asked, "When can I come back?"
|Lily's first competition--1st grade
Lily became a skater. I froze my behind off in rinks for the next 12 years. I learned to write with frozen fingers, surrounded by hoards of skaters and their families, chattering, screaming, or having hockey stick wars. I watched Lily master the Bunny Hop, spin and Mohawk. By high school, she was teaching her own Snowplow (beginner) classes.
My mom put me on double runner skate blades when I was two. I thought that the whole point of skating was falling! I would fall on purpose...on my bottom...and yell "Boom!" extremely pleased with myself.
That memory came back to me as Lily taught her own students how to fall. I watched their little feet in those brown, battle-scarred rental skates, ankles wibbling and wobbling. I listened to them complain "Miss Lily, this isn't skating. I want to twirl. Teach me that." "My feet are tired. I wanna sit down." "I'm cold."
Lily would patiently explain that safety is the very first lesson in skating. Then they could learn everything else. Yes, your feet do hurt and you do feel cold. That's what happens if you want to skate.
I like alliteration. As I observed those little Snowplows, I remembered a song from kindergarten... crickle crackle crickle crackle creak creak creak, the sound of walking on ice. Then my mind followed with wibble wobble boom. Skaters learning to fall. I remembered Lily's first skating lessons. While she never complained about being cold or tired, she didn't like learning to fall...because she never fell. Her balance was that good. She disliked being made to fall, just to learn how to land on your butt.
What if Lily had gone to that birthday party, expecting to sail across the ice like an Olympic medalist? What if...?
Once again, my daughter sparked a story, just as she had for First Grade Stinks and My Best Friend and A Tree for Emmy.
|Lily's last competition--senior year.
Children. The gift that keeps on giving.
Speaking of gifts, we're giving away a copy of Wibble Wobble Boom! Keep reading for entry instructions.
Posted by Mary Ann Rodman
We are giving away ONE autographed copy of Mary Ann's soon-to-be-released picture book, Wibble Wobble Boom! (Peachtree Publishing), which received a Starred review from Booklist!
To enter the giveaway drawing, use the Rafflecopter widget below. (Note: if the widget doesn't appear, click on the link at the end of this post that says "a Rafflecopter giveaway" to enter.)
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