Little Boy and I were on the ski lift at Nashoba Valley, our localish ski hill that will still manage to challenge Little Boy for another two winters at most. Mr. P was off in Salem, running a 20-mile race that started too early for us to drag a 3 year old out of bed, so I decided a Mommy-Son skiing outing would be a fine morning activity.
We were enjoying watching the “big kids” racing the slalom event below the lift. Suddenly, Little Boy screamed. “What’s wrong?” I asked, thinking he saw another tweenager wipe out on the slalom course (though normally he doesn’t scream, he laughs).
“I thought that man was a monkey!” he exclaimed, pointing to a grizzled Nashoba employee with a large bushy beard.
I laughed for a good 5 minutes, long after we descended from the lift and started down the mountain. My prolonged mirth coincided with a lapse of attention to Little Boy, who perpetually scans the side of trails looking for little bumps to “jump” over. Normally this is okay, but the scanty snow cover caused him to be stuck in a muddy groove, and I had to hop awkwardly to pull him out.
“Looks like you got your hands full, Mom!” a cocky voice rang out nearby. It was a ski instructor, who was skiing backwards while coaching a young teenaged boy. “That’s why I ski with no poles when I go with the little ones!”
“Well, I need the poles to pull him along the flats,” I said meekly, but he didn’t hear me because he was prompting Little Boy to do turns around the trail. Little Boy was staring at him, unmoving.
“Go on, now, turn!” the instructor said, and Little Boy slid straight down the slope. “Gotta work on those turns, Mom!” he called to me.
We reached the bottom of the trail and promptly boarded the ski lift to take the same trail. Another gander at the slalom racing seemed to inspire him, because on the next run, Little Boy was in fine form, taking small, tight, fast turns the whole way down. We passed the ski instructor and his charge, who watched Little Boy with a new respect.
“Not bad! How old is he? Five?” the instructor asked me.
“Three,” I said, flashing a proud grin before racing to catch up with my future slalom star.