Day one of the Grand Experiment went off without a hitch. Dad asked me what on earth I was doing, but I explained that 6am on a Saturday beats the hell out of 4:30am on a Thursday. Stitch and I got up, made our way to Rink Across Town, and got in forty five minutes of solid practice. The Egg Timer, ever the neutral arbiter of time in a young child's eyes, dutifully recorded three minutes each of stroking, crossovers, lunges, bunny hops and spins. (And some other things.. one of which had the unfortunate acronym STD on my list.) Stitch made some pretty fast spins; at one point he came over to the boards and said, "I spun so fast, the boogers flew out of my nose. Can I have a tissue?"
After practice, we had breakfast, and headed over to Home Rink for Private Lesson with Real Coach. She was glad to see us, and listened to the music. "It's a waltz," she seemed to have been hoping for something a little more fun. "But we can work with that." She said she'd spend today figuring out what level to put Stitch at for the comp. Okay, fine. We've got two solid weeks to practice.
Coach Diamond and Richie Rich were having an off day. Richie was arguing, whining and slumping, while Coach Diamond did his ever best to get something done. "Come on, Richie. Richie. Waltz jumps, Richie. Waltz Jumps. Richie." Repeat this as Richie slides into the boards with a thunk and stares out at the observers as though begging someone to save him. Eventually Richie collapsed into an uncooperative slug onto the ice, while Coach Diamond was leaning down and informing him that this was coaching time. A bad day. We all have them. I'm not going to judge, honestly.
Our Coach was having a solid time, as Stitch dutifully performed all his moves as best he could. Then she got him down to the end and pulled a three-turn on the half goal circle. I've seen Three Turns, and while they look so farking easy, I simply can't figure how they're done. The physics escapes me. It must escape Stitch as well, because his "What the heck?" could be heard through the glass. Coach got his hands and got him to do it, then with one hand, but that's as far as it got. Stitch just couldn't wing that blade around fast enough. He almost got it, though. (Tomorrow is another day.)
They did this for awhile, and then she slid over to me. "I think we need to decide between Basic 5 and Basic 6. Basic 6 would be more fun for him."
Um, there's no we in this process. This is all you.
"So, he needs to practice the three turn, he did really well today." And she showed me to basic of it so I could know when Stitch was cheating it.
Then they headed back out for a last minute thing. I hit "play" and Coach let Stitch go. He bunny hopped, spun, crossed over and crossrolled. He held out his arms and danced to his own lazy waltz on one foot. I noticed some smiles from the observers.
Coach came back. "Basic 6. We'll start working on a program next week." We agreed on an hour of Practice Ice the following week when Stitch is on his long winter break, and I dreaded the notion of getting Stitch to try those damn three turns.
And with that we rushed to the last stop of the Skating Day, Beta Group Class.
Pre-Alpha could have been its own Militia. The ranks of the wobbly fully filled the boards; snowpants, weird skates and all. The fallen soldiers were taken off the ice periodically, tears and wails met with consoling parents, "Awww, baby, you don't have to if you don't want to...."
I was looking out for Shuffles. He was in a different outfit today, so I almost missed him, but when I started looking for the scooter-pushing-on-his-right-foot kid, I found him. Alpha 1, and completely unable to cross feet. I've never seen this kid look more miserable. Honestly, if I wasn't afraid she'd go all apeshit on me, I'd question Nutso's choices on keeping this kid in a skating class. (There is a big universe of youth sports out there...) The Coach ended up spending all her time with Shuffles, and the rest of the class got largely ignored.
Without my good friend Lady Cluck to talk to, I was bored and cold, but enjoying my new rank as an upper echelon skating parent in this particular class timeslot. "Oh, my kid? He's over there in Beta. And god, I am so tired, can I just rest on your lap or something?"
Precious did well, and on her way out she was sure to remark to me, "I think Beta is eeeezzzzyyy." Suddenly I'm thinking of those stupid little Beta Fighting Fish in the pet store, wondering if I held up a mirror to Precious if she'd flip out and start fighting herself. Stitch was in agony, complaining of cold feet, so I took off his skates and put his feet under my fleece. He grinned and sighed and laid back on the bench like a contented cat. The families near to us were giving us odd stares. Fuck them, we're tired.
At noon, we were done. Sort of. We got the Christmas Tree. Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like cramming a five foot Scotch Pine into the back of a Mustang Convertible. Stitch got to ride in the front seat on the way home, ducking when we saw a police car.
Truly, today was one of my better parenting days.