N generously invited L, S, and me to go ice skating with his daughters Tess (5) and Lily (4), so he picked up us three English assistants and brought us to Le Dôme de Laon, which houses the pool and ice skating rink. Before today, I’ve only ice skated twice—which ended up in me accumulating a colorful array of bruises—so I was slightly worried about the experience ending in another painful tragedy.
I’ve never seen them before, but I used some ice skating crutch meant for the kids before abandoning it and venturing out into the rink sans aide. And I can happily report that I managed to successfully ice skate for the first time, without falling once! (Unless you count the time I overbalanced and had to put my gloved hands against the ice to keep from falling.) The only injury I accumulated was from the too-big-in-the-calves skate rubbing my skin raw above my right ankle, but I guess the pain was worth it.
Meanwhile, N was zipping along the ice, pulling Tess and Lily along behind him on these little plastic sleds. The girls also got to paint on the ice, and their artwork was absolutely adorable. Also, this is an actual question that left N’s mouth: “Is it okay if we take a selfie?”
We spent about an hour and 15 minutes ice skating before N brought us all to his house, and during the car ride there, I’ve never felt so smothered with love than when I had Lily on my lap and Tess next to me, playing contentedly with the spinning stimming ring on my finger. Chez eux, N and M fed us gratin, filet mignon, salad, baguette, cheese, coffee/tea, and tarte aux citrons avec le coulis framboise.
Afterwards, we watched Martin (1 ½) toddle adorably around and repeatedly knock over a paper block tower before M could finish building it, and then he wanted me to follow him into the pantry. I explained to N what was happening as I followed Martin into the kitchen, and N laughed and said that Martin probably wanted to show me the washing machine. He even apologized for Martin’s antics, and I very nearly told him, “Your son is so cute, if I understood his baby-talk, he could tell me to do anything and I’d do it without question.”
L, S, and I stayed there until 2:30 playing card/board games with the family, Dobble (a visual speed game), Loto (picture Bingo), and Verger (a memorization game). I’ll just say that the struggle was too real when L, S, and I didn’t know the French for words like chimney sweeper (ramoneur), octopus (pieuvre), and bat (chauve-souris). Long story short, N and M’s family is so disgustingly cute, it’s utterly revolting. I wonder if they’ll adopt me, if necessary, after Tuesday night?