I woke up early this morning, for no real reason. I had been sleeping until 8:00, even 8:30, much of the past week. Something caused me to wake up shortly after 6:00 today, though, and after trying to fall back to sleep, I gave up. I went downstairs, made coffee, and enjoyed the silence of the morning with my current book. S. was off to work early and the girls all kept with their holiday trend of sleeping in. It was wonderful.

Then the girls got up. First L. at a hair before 8:00. The other two came down about 20 minutes later. Within seconds M. was bossing everyone around and being rude to C.. While eating their breakfasts, C. and L. were arguing about everything and L. was complaining that C. kept touching her.

Silence, and tranquil morning, broken.

Shame I wasn’t dropping them all back at school today.

Our big event of the weekend was the first family trip to an ice skating rink. This came almost exactly 28 years after my first, and last, attempt at ice skating over Christmas break of my freshman year of high school. Fortunately S. can skate, and we went with our neighbors, who can all skate, too.

Our girls took to the ice very well. They all used plastic walkers to stabilize themselves as they got comfortable. It took about a minute for C. to take off running with her walker, absolutely comfortable and in full-on, excited C. mode. L. was slower, but equally calm right away. And M. was much more cautious, as I could have predicted, but found her footing surprisingly soon. By the end of the evening, she was actually skating around on her own, albeit next to the boards and with her friend right next to her. C. and L. both took turns with skating adults holding a hand and doing most of the work on their own.

What about dad? I made a pathetic loop of the rink, either hanging on to L.’s walker with her, or clinging to the boards. After that lap, which seemed to take about an hour, I wisely got my ass off the ice and stayed out of everyone’s way. I really should have picked it up when I was eight, because it sure ain’t happenin’ now.

The girls can’t wait to go back. I’ll need to find some aunts or other friends who can join them on the ice. I think I’ll just watch from the stands next time.

M., C., and I played our first game of Monopoly together Friday. It took about three hours over three lengthy sessions. C. was enthusiastic, but didn’t grasp the economic component of the game. She once bid $550 for an auctioned property that was listed at $200. I believe the bid before she went big was $115. I gave her the option of backing out, but she was excited to be buying something and went ahead. Of course, she’s in first grade so the consequences of spending too much are kind of lost on her. No surprise, she was the first to get eliminated.

M. hung on a little longer, but dug herself a hole and had to sell off all her properties, which I snatched up. The end was swift and just, but she was gung-ho to play again soon after.

We were playing by the traditional rules, since I hadn’t played since grade school, but I think we’ll make the switch to the faster-paced version the next time we try.

Times, and interests, change. But parents and kids playing board games together is one of the great, enduring traditions of Christmas break.