All laced up and ready for his first time ice skating.
Will he enjoy it? Will he be able to stand up? Will the day end in tears or smiles?
My husband thought I was slightly crazy. I was going to take my 3 boys, who have never ice skated before, ice skating without him. Yeah, maybe. I took my mom just in case. I believe in trying everything once and this was something I have wanted to do with my boys for a while now.
So after seeing Honk, the night before we headed over to the Codey Arena in West Orange.
Unfortunately, we arrived late. :( So we didn’t have as much time as we would have liked to skate.
We headed over to the skate rental desk to pickup our skates. Tip, for first timers, allow yourself extra time to figure out what skate size your children will need. The staff was very patient as we tried to figure out what skate size they would need. Codey Arena doesn’t have half sizes, so I tried the smaller size first. That didn’t work, we needed the bigger size for all of us.
So we laced up. (Again, if you have a few kids with you, who can’t lace themselves up, give yourself extra time.) My boys were all smiles and talking how they were going to try their best. (Sense the foreboding here. )
My oldest, a 7-year-old (left), who is usually very nervous about this kind of thing, headed out with no problem. He took his time and hung to the wall. Each time I would look up he was moving himself forward. A few falls, he says, but he was skating along learning it glide by glide or step by step.
My 5-year-old (right) who has faced greater challenges than ice skating headed out. He, too, was all smiles. That is until about 50 feet or so more, when he stopped and was refusing to skate anymore. He was in tears. He didn’t fall once, but for whatever reason he would not skate anymore. He stepped off the ice into the bleachers. (Uggh, you know it moms, we’ve all been there.) I stepped off with him tried the pep talk route for a few minutes. I was going to let him sit out with my mom for a while, but considering the rest of my family was back on the ice, that was no longer an option. So I did what I had to, I basically told him to deal with it and get back on the ice. He cried the whole lap around. Very nice staff tried to teach him how to march on the ice. An adorable 5-year-old tried to make him laugh by pretending to fall in front of him and give him little pep talks. It didn’t help. My son made it around the lap clinging the wall and crying all the way. He never fell, but you can see why I didn’t get many pictures.
Then, there is my 3-year-old. I figured he would fall over himself, time and time again, and there would be temper tantrums from him. Surprisingly that was not the case. He had a great time and skated with Oma holding hands. Yes, he looks a little nervous in the pictures, but he loved it.
I made it around our first lap, with a crying 5-year-old, in hand. Shockingly, having not skated in at least 7 years, I didn’t fall. I was looking for that opening in the ice. I was looking for that chance to drop my son in a seat and to take a lap around myself. Alas, that would not happen as by the time I finished our first lap, the warning was given to exit the ice. The public skating session was over. DRATS. ;(
Such is the life of a mom. But the day was not lost. My boys were amazed at the site of the Zamboni cleaning the ice. They feasted on cookies and hot chocolate in the press area. And they were glued to the boards watching kids, just a little older than them, play ice hockey.
When all is said and done they were all smiles. They all tried something new, something they knew might be difficult for them. They all tried their best and they are all willing to try again.
What else can a mom ask for?
The Codey Arena website does not have much information on it. They are an indoor facility with 2 skating rinks, an arcade, a concession stand, and plenty of room to eat and lace up your skates. Each public skating session is 1.5 hours. You can view their available public skating times here, or directions here; but your best bet is to call them directly for more information (973) 731-3828.
The Codey Arena is open 365 days a year. It is located right in front of the Turtle Back Zoo and a few blocks from the Essex County Mini Golf Safari (reopening in the spring). Combine these stops together and you have a great day trip.
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Tell me about your child’s first ice skating experience, was it similar to mine?
In full disclosure, this post was sponsored, in part, by Codey Arena, who made our visit possible by providing us with admission, skate rental, and refreshments during our visit. As always, and as you can see with this post, our opinions are honest and based on our experience at Codey Arena.