Monday, October 19, 2009
It’s the homework and sleep that we struggle with and I’m sure all of us 6 a.m. ice parents are struggling with it, too. To tell the truth, we struggle with Facebook, too, but it seems like it’s only a problem for me. Ice Girl likes Facebook just fine.
Six a.m. ice is a fabulous thing, especially during hockey season when afternoon freestyle ice is limited. Fewer skaters attend 6 a.m. ice and we parents have a camaraderie that comes from the warrior mentality we share.
So. How do we balance sleep, skating, studying, and socializing? Not well. Here’s what I’ve tried that works/doesn’t work.
Homework in the van. This has marginal returns. Sometimes Ice Girl claims that she has car sickness and can’t study, sometimes she does fine. I have purchased a couple of Lightwedges that I keep in the van. They’re great for reading books, but lousy for doing math.
Enforcing a bedtime. This seems like the obvious answer, but it’s a tough one to enforce. Ice Girl sometimes has homework that takes her past the early bedtime and what do I do? Call the coach and cancel the 6 a.m. lesson? Still working on this one.
Banishing that stupid cell phone. I get it. Ice Girl wants a social life. Part of that life is texting. However, when she’s doing homework or supposed to be sleeping, that cell phone is in a different room. We’re working on setting a homework timer and allowing five minutes of texting for every 30 minutes of homework. How’s that working? Great – when we remember to set the timer. Not so great when we forget.
Sleeping in skating clothes. If you tell Ice Grandma that I send Ice Girl to bed in her Under Armour I will deny, deny, deny it. But, between you and me: I do. This is actually Ice Girl’s great idea and I just pretend that I don’t know she sleeps in her skating clothes. Let me tell you: it’s better for her to wake up five minutes before the van leaves and squeeze in enough Z’s than to wear p.j.s that she’ll just throw in the backseat anyway.
Facebook. I come home from work and Ice Girl and I have the homework discussion. How much of it requires the computer? She’s allowed to use the computer only for that portion. The problem is that Facebook often distracts her from that portion. This is an ongoing problem that most teens and parents have, I think. My only solution is to do spot checks on her, but those have marginal returns.
All in the van before bed. Neither Ice Girl nor I are great at thinking in the morning, so we both put everything we’ll need for 6 a.m. ice in the van before bed. I keep a checklist on the garage door so we don’t forget socks, gloves, or skates. This works pretty well most of the time. Sometimes Ice Girl just assumes that we have pony tail holders in the van because we almost always do…until the one time we don’t.
Coffee. After 10 years of living caffeine-free, I’ve given in. Java, java, java! Ice Girl hates the stuff.
Social. Ice Girl fills out the ice contract each month, so she knows when she has ice and when she’s free. This works pretty well most of the time. However, her friends aren’t planners like we are. Ice Girl just received a Halloween party invite that conflicts with ice time. Am I such an ogre that I’ll force I.G. to skate instead? Nope. I’m a softie. Here’s to hoping we can get a switch!
No ice the night before. I won't take Ice Girl to the rink the night before 6 a.m. ice. It's just too much to ask her to skate, study, eat, and sleep in the four hours between the final school bell and setting the alarm. We're pretty successful with this, but then Ice Girl skates a ton on the weekends. That's tough in her new skates.
Update: After reading this comment from Anonymous, I shall never whine about 6 a.m. ice again. Right. We all know that's a total lie.
Only 6am?! Lucky Ice Girl! I have 4am ice three times a week and start work at 5am on the alternate days- it took me about six months to get into a proper routine for it, and I fell asleep at work twice (which is pretty hard when you work in a casino!)
Update: Reader Anonymous gives 10 tips for surviving 6 a.m. ice. Here are two:
5. no double trips in one day if you're going to go in the morning don't go at night homework needs to be done at some point
9. do not i repeat do not fall asleep on the drive over this is what loud music was made for
Update: Reader Anonymous has a male figure skater. Here's what Anony's son does:
He only skates during the week and is off weekends. He keeps the same bed time during the weekends and gets up on his own.
Update: I have no idea how this works, Anonymous, but I'm willing to learn.
My skater is still small enough that she warms up and stretches in the backseat during the 30 minute drive. By the time we get to the rink, she's pretty much ready to go.
How do you survive 6 a.m. ice? Are you doing a better job than I am? What’s your secret? Please share both successes and failures!