Yesterday Little Dude (just turned 2) stood on skis for the first time, and Elfling (nearly 6) for the second time. Me? It was my third time, if counting by trips taken, not by days. I haven't done nearly enough skiing to feel remotely confident, and the last time was seven years ago, so the fear is fresh in my mind.
That makes it easy to talk to Elf about beginner panic. About how easy it is to get into a flap, and how unhelpful. About how strange and silly it is to feel so panicky because when you think about it, there's nothing much to be scared OF. (We won't talk, right now, about skiing injuries or the high price of wintersports insurance and the possible reasons for that... for my little kid, struggling to stand up after falling down on the baby slope, that's really not the point. Hell, the scaredycat way I ski – very, verrrrry slowly, on the bluest of pistes – it's still not the point.) You're scared because you don't know what you're doing. Because it's new. Because your body hasn't learned the movements, and your brain is more than a bit fuzzy also. Because it seems all right when it's all right but when something goes wrong you're suddenly WAY out of your depth. Because when that happens all that you – body and brain together – know how to do is burst into tears and beg for help.
I told her that it feels like she can't do it because it's new, not because it's impossible. I told her that she already is doing it – getting it right again and again – so when it does go wrong, she needs to stay calm, think, go slowly and carefully, and get back on track. That there really isn't anything, anything at all, to be afraid of. I told her it will get easier, it will happen fast, and it will be so, so worth it.
I know I'm right. I just wish I had someone to hold my hand and tell me all the same things when I'm sitting in front of my sewing machine. And panicking.