It's a big skating weekend. Yesterday morning Stitch had a put-in practice with Coach, that night he had ice show rehearsal. Today is Test Day for the Group lessons, and tomorrow is The Day.
I'm actually more nervous about the Group Testing than I am about the Competition, believe it or not. Mostly because I can't stand any more forward Crossovers. Every practice session is just endless rounds of forward crossovers, accompanied by endless whining. I just want him to move on to something new. As for tomorrow, my biggest challenges are getting everyone up and out the door by 6:30. I plan on having a bag packed with a sewing kit, extra music CD, and a flask of whiskey. After that, it's all up to Stitch.
When it's over I'm taking him to Chuck E Cheese as a reward for all his hard work. He really deserves it. All this practice... when I think about it, it's really quite amazing. Then I plan on taking a rest for a week or two. Cut back on the skating so he can recoup and we can have a chat on whether or not he wants to compete again. I could go either way, but I do have an idea for a killer costume I'd like to get started on should he decide to do this again. (February.)
Yesterday we almost had a shadow cross our weekend. Stitch has a Bully at school. Or rather, the school has a Bully. She's some mean little switch, who makes threats against just about everyone. "I'm going to knock your teeth out," and so on. Yesterday, she whispered, "I'm going to kill you," at Stitch.
Stitch, as instructed, went right to Teacher, Teacher sent both of them to the office where the Bully patently denied everything. All parents were called, and Dad has a meeting with Teacher on Tuesday to discuss the incident. The school officials assure me that this is being taken very seriously, but I was more concerned about Stitch being negatively impacted before such a big weekend.
But this is different from our bullying incidents in the past. Stitch doesn't seem to care. Whenever this happened in K-garden or Preschool, he'd wallow and whine and wonder why some people didn't like him. I really wanted to say, "Some people are shit heads that you shouldn't try to please," but he was young. For days he'd sit in a depressed funk.
Not this time. This time he laughed it off and tried to show me his stroking technique in the train station. He was too excited to get to rehearsal to care about telling me everything. We got to the rink late due to Train problems getting home, but he skidded onto the ice and rehearsed well, then asked to stay for public skate to play. He even practiced crossovers and stroking before play as instructed with a minimal amount of whining. We went out for some Teriyaki beef and caterpillar roll afterward, and it was like nothing ever happened.
I'm very pleased. Do I entirely credit the skating with this remarkable new ability and show of maturity? Not really, but I do think it's playing a heavy part. Stitch has some unique and impressive skills that other kids don't have, and he knows it. He sees the same kids at the rink who are mean on the playground. They're falling all over themselves while he dashes away, and I know he gets a kick out of it. I think the Coaching and Practice, the choices he gets to make with his music and costume, and learning the confidence to show those skills in competition is having a very positive effect on him. The knowledge that his Coach thinks he's got some talent and hearing the complements of strangers at the rink doesn't hurt either. "He's really good!" they say to me.
"Tell him, not me," I reply. "He's the one jumping all around."
Last night on the way home we talked about Coach's ultimatum on T-Stops during competition. He can't do them. He must do Snowplow Stops, and he wasn't sure why. "I like T-Stops better."
"Yes, I know. But you're being judged on Pre-Alpha skills. T-Stop is a Beta skill, not Pre-Alpha. You have to stick with Pre-Alpha skills."
"But then I have to start all over!"
"No," I rubbed my eyes. This is confusing even for me. "The rules state that you can only compete at your highest level tested at the time I turned in the paperwork. That was Pre-Alpha. So, even though you're practically Beta, you're going to be judged only on Pre-Alpha skills on Sunday. Does that make sense?"
"You're not going back to a Pre-Alpha class after this. You will go on to Beta provided you do crossovers correctly tomorrow. But if you decide to compete again, you might be competing at an Alpha level because that's the highest level you would have passed."
Silence. It still didn't make sense to him. "Just don't do T-stops, okay?" I said with a laugh. "Snowplow the judges if you want to."
Stitch can throw snow a full two feet out the ice door. I think he just might try it.