Once, when I was in college I took a physics course. My teacher was awesome, my brain was not. I do remember something about laws of motion and apples falling onto Newton's head, but other than that I did not retain a lot.
So, when Mike hiked the girls to the top of a very large hill during our President's Day adventure, while I stayed at the bottom to take some pictures, it seemed logical as my two young children sped towards me (without their father on the sled), to step in front of the sled and stop it. Honestly. It was my mother bear instinct.
In my head I thought, "Children. Going toooo Fast. Death. Concussions. Must Stop Now." Then I stepped in front of the sled. Hannah, who was probably giggling previously, bounced off onto the frozen ground and started crying. I fell down and Kenzie sped merrily along losing speed as the hill leveled out. No one was seriously physically damaged, although Hannah was probably scarred for life, and Mike was laughing hysterically. I was ticked. I do not take kindly to people laughing at me when I am trying to save someone's life.
After I got over my initial ticked-ness and Mike stopped laughing at me (I think he yelled to me, "Haven't you ever heard of inertia?" Or some other equally insulting science tidbit), and Hannah was verified to have equal size pupils that reacted to light, and allowed to eat snow, we had a great time. Kenzie loved sledding and even hauled the sled up the hill herself for the chance at speeding down without mom or dad. Here's a picture sequence of our fun times:
Dad takes Hannah and Kenzie up to the top of a very large steep hill while mom waits at the bottom, expecting Dad to test hill before sending children speeding down it alone.
Happy unsuspecting children on the sled of death.
Dad sends floppy, uncoordinated, too young children hurtling down the hill. I take a picture and become increasingly alarmed at their speed. Pictures stop. I step in front of sled. Hannah is scarred for life from sledding and only wants to eat snow after she bounces off from my stupid maneuver. Mike laughs hysterically. I was trying to protect them, but I caused more harm. (Is this some life lesson for parents? If so, I don't like the feeling)
Kenzie loves sledding and has a good time despite mom's stupidity and requisite anger and loss of pride.
I force Hannah to ride down the hill with me: "Stop crying! Sledding is fun. And if I'm with you on the sled I can't step in front of it and bounce you off, so don't worry."
Two lessons: Interfering for "their protection" can cause more harm than good if done in obtrusive and blunt ways, and don't force or expect younger kids to love what older kids do.