that's life (Australia)
My bub could skate before she could walk
Molly’s girl is a mini adrenaline junkie!
As I skated around our campsite, my ve-month-old, Coco, watched me. ‘Come and have a go,’
I grinned at my baby girl, who was sitting with my parents, Lucy and Rob.
Standing Coco up on the skateboard, I held both her chubby little hands and carefully rolled the board along the path.
Squealing with delight, she loved it!
So, every day, I began rolling Coco around.
Two months on, I took her to an empty skatepark.
Arming my bub with elbow and knee pads and a helmet, I gripped her hand and rolled her up a ramp.
While she was skating, her gummy grin stretched from ear to ear!
I’d skated and surfed – safely, of course – during my pregnancy.
Maybe Coco caught the board bug in my tummy?
By nine months, Coco was close to walking. Standing up on her own, she’d hold on to whatever furniture was close to keep herself upright. Then, one day, Mum was over as I pushed Coco around on a board inside. As I gripped her hand, she kept trying to shake me off, as if she was saying, Get off me, Mum!
Letting her go, I ran next to Coco, ready to catch her if she fell.
But slightly bending her knees, while wearing a stripy onesie, Coco just kept rolling, giggling all the time.
My baby could skate before she could walk!
‘What?!’ Mum exclaimed, capturing it on video.
After that, if my skateboard was lying in the lounge room, Coco was on the move towards it.
I’d let my girl skate to the shops – always holding her hands.
‘You can hop off the skateboard if you’re not holding Mummy’s hand,’ I’d tell Coco if she wanted to shake me free.
Strangers would stop in their tracks, mouths open, trying to process what they were seeing!
By 10 months, Coco was up and walking.
Helping her skate up and down the ramp one day, I heard a big voice. Looking over, I saw a bloke with blond dreadlocks, surrounded by kids.
‘Do you teach skateboarding?’ I asked. ‘This is Coco, she loves to board,’ I added.
His name was Mitch, and after giving Coco the once over, he said he didn’t teach little ones aged under two.
‘That’s ne, we’ll wait!’ I smiled.
A month on, we bumped into Mitch again at the skatepark. After a little while, he asked if he could try something.
Popping Coco on her board at the very top of the ramp, he held her hand as she launched off and skated down at speed.
She’d had a crack at what us skaters call ‘dropping in’ - and she’d nailed it!
That’s my baby! I thought. Coco didn’t look remotely fazed. It was like she’d done it a thousand times before.
When Mitch agreed to give Coco lessons twice a week, she was the youngest in the class by far.
Still a bub, her nappy bulged beneath her pants, and sometimes, mid-skate, she’d need to stop for a breastfeed!
Six months on, I started taking lessons with Mitch, too, so I could keep up.
Getting ready to try a new trick, I’d feel a surge of fear.
I can’t do this, I’d think, legs shaking.
Then, I’d see Coco pull off the same stunt, with bravery that belied her age.
By now, my baby was a better skater than me!
‘Girl power!’ tiny Coco would exclaim.
Wanting to share the joy,
I started an Instagram page, @cocoskatergirl.
You’re forcing Coco to do this, some people wrote.
But boarding was my girl’s passion.
‘Mum, skate! Mum, skate!’ she’d plead every day.
Sometimes, she’d go weeks without wanting to skate, and that was ne, too.
The majority of comments were positive.
I’d get countless messages from girls in their early teens.
I’ve never been on a skateboard, but Coco’s inspired me to have a go! they’d write.
Just before Coco’s second birthday, COVID-19 hit.
Lovely Mitch built her a mini-half-pipe and a tiny quarter-pipe, so she could keep practising at home.
Giggling and squealing with excitement, she went up and down them, over and over again.
Now two-and-a-half, Coco has mastered so many advanced tricks. And she loves to teach others, too.
Spotting an older kid learning to skate recently, she went up for a chat.
‘You can do it! Never give up. Just keep trying!’ Coco told the girl.
The kid was speechless. You’re not supposed to be talking! it looked like she was thinking.
A pocket rocket, Coco is entirely her own person.
One day she’ll come out dressed like a fairy in a tutu and glitter. Others, she’s in shorts, a tee and a cap.
‘Mum I’m going to go skating today!’ she’ll declare.
You do you! I’ll think, proudly.
My little ray of sunshine inspires me daily.
That’s just how she rolls!●
My baby was a better skater than me!