This weekend I had a wedding to attend, three hours away. I called in for backup, getting Grandma into town so she could take Stitch to his skating lessons. I hate missing skating lessons in general, but we were doing a favor for the bride and I do love these people. So off we went. I left a new copy of Stitch's music, a skate coupon, Coach's check, and money for the vending machine. I left the rest to fate.
We returned home extremely late Sunday morning, and went right to bed. The next morning, Stitch plowed into my bed wanting some cuddles. Oh fine! I asked how skating went. He said it was fine, and that he did a Waltz Jump with Coach just holding one hand and not two. (Will Dad win his bet that Stitch will be doing a waltz jump by Halloween? I still doubt it.) I asked if the music worked, and Stitch said that they didn't use it. Um, what? I put that away for the moment and got up to get breakfast.
Grandma and I chatted about family stuff for awhile, and then I casually asked how skating went. She said it went fine, and she expressed her bemusement at Coach. She said Coach had given her notice about a put-in Practice Ice session Sunday afternoon, and Coach said it would "be a good idea" for Stitch to attend. I asked about the music. No, she said, music was not allowed on the small rink.
Well, that's a bit of a problem, as Stitch hadn't skated to his music on the big ice yet. He needed to work on timing; he was running through the program too fast.
"Wait," I said. "Will he be able to skate to his music during the Practice Ice, and that's why Coach says he should go?"
Okay then. I finally got the message, although I got it in a terribly convoluted way. Stitch would attend the Practice Ice that afternoon, and I would bring the still unfinished costume and the new CD with us.
Ordinarily I would have skipped Public Ice that afternoon, but Grandma had brought her near-deaf Boyfriend with her (don't ask) and he had the TV on so loud I was about to go nuts. It was best that we went skating so I didn't go nuts and kill anyone. Besides, I wanted to show off the costume to my Rink Pals.
Stitch skated his program twice, practiced crossovers, and then played with his friends. Nutso had brought Precious and That Other One, so I played with Stitch and That Other One. I have a game where I chat about ice cream and candy while he skates backwards. He gets so wrapped up in chocolate ice cream and cherries that he loses track of how many laps he's done backwards. You can mix it up by saying things like, "Practice going backwards, but don't you dare try on one foot. It's far too dangerous." Eventually they were giggling and trying backwards one foot glides just to spite me, while I feigned parental freakouts.
Then That Other One did a turn too sharp and tripped over her toepick, hitting her knee. She balled up into wailing sobs, and Nutso started panicking. I helped her up, and Rink Pal started her to the door, but not before Nutso had marched onto the ice and railing about some mystery skater who had cut off her little darling. (No, it was a toepick trip, and she's fine. You stop dramatizing the event and she will, too.)
Stitch was now starting to complain of cold feet, (the rink is positively polar now) and heading off frequently to warm up. I may have to invest in warmer socks or boot covers or something. I showed Nutso the costume I made, and she was impressed. We were talking about the basic beadwork, and how it isn't so hard, when Precious came up. "What is that for?"
"That is for Stitch, don't worry about it," she tried to dismiss it.
"Is that for the Holiday Show?" Precious pressed on.
"No, that is for some other show that Stitch is doing. Go skate."
I had to stifle a laugh. Nutso has asked me about competitions in the past, but she had balked at the idea of paying to compete. I get the feeling that Precious wants to compete as well. Precious has shown some pretty distinct envious attitude at Stitch lately. It kind of bugs me. Then Nutso came out with another gem; "I am taking them to Some Other Rink, across town for lessons."
"They still skate here, of course, but they are also taking lessons at Other Rink. In one lesson they learned the weaving thing," she made a side to side wavy hand motion. “One lesson!”
"You mean Edges?"
I looked out at Precious and That Other One. Precious was still leaning over her knees, which made me nervous about her tripping over her toepicks. It's kinda hard to do edges without a solid one-foot glide. (Stitch is trying them, but is still skittish.) While on the ice, Other One had insisted to me that she had been bumped to Alpha 2, same as Stitch. When I asked her to practice crossovers, she balked, went to the wall, and crossed feet while standing still. Hm. I know I'm not supposed to compete with other parents' kids, and I try not to, but, What the Hell? I get the distinct impression that Nutso is trying to compete with me through her kids. Honestly, I don't care. Precious could be doing Axels, and as long as she didn't have an attitude about it, I'd be thrilled for her. What bugs me is the fact she is so "in your face" about her progress.
Anyhow, they quit early, and I waved bye as they were getting out of skates in the lobby. Stitch was in full on complaint mode about cold feet, and seeing as how he'd be skating again in an hour, I let him quit ten minutes early. We took off skates and headed up into the rafters, where I put his frozen feet under my fleece and we watched the other skaters.
Dad left to go get Grandma and Boyfriend, and Stitch and I went to go get snacks at the Walgreen's. I realized I hadn't eaten anything but a sausage patty at breakfast, and was about to die. We got some chips and drinks, headed back to the rink and watched the Broomball people play while we waited for Practice Ice. The Operations Manager asked what we were doing and I replied, "I'm hiding from my Mother in Law." She offered to let me use the locker room and she'd say she never saw me for ten bucks. It was tempting.
Skaters began to trickle in, a steady progression of Zuca Bags and glitter. One mom camped on the floor with a hair dryer and warmed her daughter's boots, and the girl put on an assortment of corn pads. Yes, we were in the right place.
I put Stitch back in skates, gave the music to the Ice Monitor, and off we went. Coach arrived, and I held up the costume. Coach approved, and said that Stitch should wear it next time. Okay, great. Grandma, Boyfriend and Dad arrived in time for the start, and they headed up to the rafters for warmth. Stitch headed out onto the ice, but hung on the door for a moment, looking to me.
“Do it twice with music and twice without,” I said. “That’s all you have to do.”
He nodded, then went out and skated through it once before Coach called over all her students who were practicing that afternoon. She reminded them the procedure to get your music on, and then sent them off. Stitch called for his music right off, and skated through his routine for the first time on big ice with his music on.
I think something clicked in that minute. He had his arms out, he did stroking properly, he slowed down a bit, and posed at the end. And he was happy. Very happy. He then went to the door. “Okay, now what?”
“Um, well, you can work on your crossovers in that hockey circle until you get another chance with your music.”
So, he did. Then he came back to the door. “Now what should I do?”
“Well, why not go work on your spins?”
And he did that, too. And he came back. “Now what?”
“Um, do two laps; stroke five times then bunny hop twice.”
He did that, not precisely as ordered but he did his best. Then he got his music on again.
He came to the door. “Now what?”
“Well, you can stop now if you want.”
“I want to do it again.”
“My routine,” he shouted as he headed back to center ice. And he did it again.
At that point, Fab Skater and Awesome Mom had come in, returning from USFS Regionals. Fab Skater introduced me to Awesome Mom and pointed to Stitch. Grandma, Boyfriend and Dad were coming down the stairs to leave. “Are we going? Boyfriend wants pizza.”
Stitch came to the door again, said “Hi” to Fab Skater (who I think he has a massive crush on) and went off again.
“Stitch! If you want to stay on practice ice, you have to practice!” I called after him. “What are you practicing?!”
“My routine!” he called back.
Um, okay. He did it again. Fab Skater declared the whole thing “adorable.
Awesome Mom and I chatted about costumes for a moment before Stitch finally gave up and said he was hungry. We said our goodbyes and headed out.
As we left, I asked Stitch, “Do you feel better about this now?”
“The competition will be just like that, just at a different rink. Simple.”
A few nights later I affixed the glitter appliqué I made to his competition vest. Stitch saw, smiled, and did a move from his routine out of the dining room.
Twenty nine days, folks. Twenty nine days.