Wednesday September 22, 2004 03:53 PM

Last Saturday one of Isaiah's friends had a birthday party at a rollerskating rink.

Isaiah was really excited about rollerskating. Unfortunately, the shoes he was wearing were of a size and shape that made it impossible for him to wear the ratchet-wheeled kind of skates that let the wheels roll forward but not reverse. He had to wear regular freewheeling rollerskates.

He was a little impatient as I laced laced his skates all the way up as tightly as I could. He was even more impatient as I laced up mine telling him to hold on and wait for me.

Once we were both laced up we departed from the snack area where we'd tied on our skates and headed for the rink proper. We didn't make it out on the floor, though. I insisted he practice on the carpeted area on the other side of the low wall from the wood rink floor. He mastered standing in skates (on the carpet) pretty quickly but needed to hold on to the wall to move along.

He practiced and practiced going back and forth on the carpet along the edge of the rink. Finally it looked to me like he was making some progress and I thought maybe we could try going around the rink together. I thought I could hold him up and he'd begin to get the hang of roller skating.

There was only one problem with this marvelous plan.

I've neglected to mention up to this point that it has probably been twenty years since I've rollerskated and I wasn't very good then. I thought I could help Isaiah make it around the rink so he could learn to skate. Ha! It was but mere seconds after I passed from carpet to wood that I was flat on the floor myself.

So, what was my response to this initial setback?

If you guessed that I redoubled my determination to regain my (marginal) lost skill and attempt to transmit it to my son- you would be wrong.

I told him to stay on the carpet but keep practicing and went back to eating hotdogs and chips.

He had a good time, though, and was proud of "learning how to skate".