And it's not over yet.
Last night, Stitch fell hard on his rear. He was attempting inside and outside edges, seeing how far he could go on one foot, and his blade went right out from under him. He limped home, asked for a wheelchair, then crutches, then gave up and resorted to looking pitiful. I checked him over, he appeared fine, so I told him Practice Ice was on for the following morning. I partially blame myself, I knew his skates were getting really dull. Too dull to perform the wacky moves that Stitch tries.
This morning, he was up with no more fuss than usual. We headed over to the rink, got on the ice, he did his best, but on the lunge attempts, his pain was evident. I have to give him so much credit for trying. He was clearly hurting, he told me that everything hurt. Crossovers, stroking, spirals, all of it. I encouraged him to work through the pain; sometimes it hurts but he can still try. I was ready to call it early if we had to. With a little help from the French Vanilla Cappucino machine in the lobby, Stitch made it to forty five minutes. The ice was crowded, lots of music, lots of kids getting ready to compete, and I think we saw Stitch's competition; an eight year old boy who is going to be pretty stiff to beat. He's got the moves, but Stitch has him licked when it comes to Mojo. Hopefully Stitch will turn it on.
That being done, we got breakfast and went to Home Rink for The Test. At 10:45, Mysteria was nowhere. !0:50, nowhere. I sighed, and went to the desk. "Where is Mysteria? Is she here?" So she comes to the counter, I introduce myself, again, and she says she will be right out to do the test. 11:00, with Stitch tired of being kept on edge, she arrives. Stitch does his stroking and some pretty crossovers, and Mysteria makes a big deal out of telling him to work on his toe pushes, but she gives him the Patch. "I'll talk to Coach about that as well," she sighs. I have news for you, lady, every kid in his Beta Class toe pushes a lot worse.
So, Stitch grabbed his patch, never let it go, and ran to Prepschool to eagerly show him. "Alpha?" says Prepschool. "I skipped Beta, Gamma and Delta."
"So, what are you now?" I ask warily.
What. The. Fuck.
Okay, I'm starting to feel woozy, so I let that go. I try to forget the knowledge that Prepschool's upcoming competition will be skated at the Pre-Alpha level. I just walked away.
I ran into a Rink Friend I met while doing Ice Show. "Hey," she calls me over. She frequently is an ice monitor on weekdays, so right now she's seen more of Stitch's skating than me. "Your son is doing really well!"
"Really? I don't know, he's doing practice when I'm at work lately."
"Yes, he's looking really good. Really good."
"Great. I need to get his skates sharpened, hoping to do that after class."
"Oh," her face falls. "Did you make an appointment?"
No. I forgot. Crap. I excuse myself to call The Skate Place, and I'm told "We'll do our best," but it's not looking good.
I let that go for now, and consider alternatives. This can't be the only game in town to sharpen skates.
Stitch and I head into the Big Rink, and I get the chills. (My coworker had the flu recently, so I'm fearing the worst.) His class starts and I just sit and seethe; I'm feeling sicker, my throat hurts, my head hurts, my shoulders ache, and I'm really dreading the prospect of the next few days down.
Here comes Nutso. Nutso never seeks me out unless she's looking for information or wanting to brag about shit. Today she's bragging about shit. She's talking about Shuffles, who is looking patently ridiculous in what appears to be a pair of girls' leggings and figure skates that make his feet look too big for his body. I'm trying to focus on him, but my head hurts. Then she starts looking for information. "Where did you get Stitch's skating pants? Those look really sharp."
"I made them."
"Oh, wow. You are so talented."
My salesman self goes into autopilot before I can shut her up. "I can make some for you, too. $45 with an elastic waist like those."
"Oh. I might take you up on that." Nutso's tone indicates that she's waffling on price.
I'm really tempted to tell her that I'm perfectly aware of the price tag on Precious' new Chloe Noel pants, and I'm a lot cheaper. I don't, because two things agitate my angina; being cold and being stressed. I'm already cold, and listening to Nutso blather on about how her kids are still "getting used to" their figure skates and how the toepicks are too big and Chloe Noel, plus the knowledge that PrepSchool went from Alpha to Pre-Freestyle overnight is creating such a ball of agony in my chest, I really can't speak.
"Is Stitch doing the competition next weekend?" she asks.
"When does he skate?"
"I don't know. They haven't posted the schedule."
"What level is he skating at?"
"Um," I realize this is going to piss her off. "Coach put him at Basic Six."
"Six?" she pauses. "Where would that be here?"
I understand what she's asking; she wants me to translate USFSA levels into ISI terms. That's hard. "Uh, well, USFSA and ISI are really different, but if I had to peg it, I'd say Delta. Stitch is doing mostly Delta moves, lunge, bunny hop, one foot spin and spiral."
She's irked. Thank god Shuffles had some issue, probably humiliation from being in leggings when he can barely hold himself up, and Nutso had to suddenly leave.
Looking for a grounding point, something I can solve, I go back to the dilemma of the Skates. Stitch can't compete on dull blades, and he can't compete on newly sharpened blades. We need the happy medium, so ideally the skates have got to happen today or tomorrow so he can get some solid hours on them. I remember a place not far, back from when I was still shopping for skates. I look them up and call. (God bless mobile internets.) I'm told to come right in.
We stop at home to change clothes, then go to Other Skate Place. They sharpen Stitch's skates in ten minutes. We then go off to get Stitch a haircut; his hair has been flying in his face on spins. Some other minor errands, and I'm finally home.
Late Skate starts in awhile. I've had some tea, I'm feeling a little better, Stitch claims he isn't tired, so we're on. But I swear, the rink today was a nightmare of illness coupled with bad information and little girls doing "Zuca racing," pushing themselves around on the stupid Zuca bags, reviewing and grading other girl's unattended Zucas as the rode by. Crap like that really makes me reconsider my notion of getting Stitch a Zuca when he gets to Freestyle. (Yes, he wants one.)
Stitch is saying he isn't liking all the work that is going into this Competition, and he's saying he doesn't want to do the one in March. I can understand. He's been working super hard, and he still doubts his three-turns. He got a lot thrown at him, and in this respect it isn't like last time. Last time was a cakewalk, and this is his first real challenge. I'm going to watch closely over the next few days, and see what happens on Sunday. Again, I'm considering all of this as a Really Big Experiment. I don't want Stitch to compete if he doesn't want to, but I don't want him to quit for the wrong reasons. Not liking hard work isn't a good reason for me. Stitch says he wants to skate for an audience, but only if he can make it up as he goes. He's still not getting that Skating Programs have a lot of work behind them.
Couple that with Coach's words today, that she would always find time to work with Stitch, and my Parenting Dilemma is deep. Answers won't come easy. How can I teach a small boy to love hard work?