For a few months, we've been doing a reward system with Libby and Piper for bedtime. Every night that they go to bed and STAY THERE, they get to draw a smiley face on their chart. After 7 smiley faces, they earn a reward. The first time we tried this, Jared was feeling pretty desperate and he told them prior to beginning the chart that they could choose ANY toy they wanted! So they were getting all these ideas about dolls that walk and talk. I had to squash that and tell them we would have a price limit.
The next reward was a night eating out at Chick-Fil-A. The most recent one was ice skating. This was Libby's idea and they were both really looking forward to it. They actually completed their charts right before Christmas, but we had a heck of a time finding a day when 1) Jared was off work, 2) we didn't have other obligations and 3) the weather wasn't miserable. As it turns out, it was only in the 20s the day we went, but it wasn't too windy, so we survived.
Jared decided to just sit this one out with Birdie rather than lace up and take turns with me. Birdie slept the whole time (she must have hibernated because it was so cold!) all bundled up in her carseat. I took Libby and Piper out on the ice and it probably took 20 minutes to make our first lap, with them hanging onto the rail for dear life! I was so glad they weren't getting too frustrated, so I didn't mind how slow-going it was! Eventually, Piper wanted to give up, so I asked Jared to go rent one of the "skate-aids" - the walker that kids can hold onto and push in front of them. It was still hard for both girls, but eventually they figured out how to push it. They each had meltdowns at one point or another and had to go take a break with Jared. They did much better when I could be one-on-one with them. Some teenage girls ran into Libby when she was using the skate-aid. She didn't fall, but I think she was startled and embarassed. She turned to me and said "Mommy, I was going so fast!" and then broke down in tears.
Those teenage girls were dangerous; later, I got hit from behind. I had no idea it was coming, and fell hard on my wrist and bottom. My wrist is still bruised and my whole back still hurts. But better me than one of my kids.
I know Piper looks so sad and pathetic in this picture, but she was actually quite happy at this point. Falling didn't really bother her.