And I'm tired. We started out at 7:15 with Coach, arriving just barely on time because Stitch was dawdling in the snow. Ms. Valium was there, saying hi to me and how Gordon was upset at having to be at the rink so early. "But he was fine once he got on the ice," she smiled.
"Oh, I'm sure," I said, familiar with the phenomenon myself.
Gordon stormed out of the doors. "Can we just go now?"
Apparently he was not fine. Ms. Valium and I shrugged, and went our separate ways. Sometimes kids are just testy. I sent Stitch on in, dropped off the CD next to Coach's player, and went for a Diet Coke. (Concession stand not open and not in the mood for machine coffee.) I was playing fishbowl, listening to the Synchro team and their Coach go over their routine, enjoying the quiet, when I realized that PrepSchool wasn't there. He should be with Coach Olympia and that bunch. I watched them jump and spin, and realized that there was no way PrepSchool would have been able to keep up with that. Huh.
Then Stitch and Coach started doing Waltz Jumps. I was expecting another go-around of tries and weird landings, but the Stitch landed a nice one. And another nice one. And then he started overthinking it and got wonky, but two nice ones! Another Coach skated over and they were talking to Stitch, all smiles and pats on the head.
Coach came running out. "We need music."
"I left it by the CD player for you," I thought she'd seen me do that, but I guess not.
"Oh," she seemed pleasantly surprised anyway.
Stitch ran his program a few times, and then it was time to move on. Coach seemed pleased and her next student was waiting. The second Coach came to the door. "He's so good, very good!"
Honest fact: Whenever a Coach (or anyone) praises Stitch, I only listen to the first three words. The rest I tune out. If I get absorbed in the praise, it would be too easy for me to go to The Dark Side of being a Skate Parent. So, all I really listened to was "He's so good," and I said "thanks" quickly before scheduling next time with Coach. (That's another thing I like about Coach, she's sparse with the praise towards me.)
She then said Stitch could stay for another half hour, but Stitch said he wanted to go to Rink Across Town. This was fine by me, since it was what I had originally planned. So I had him leave his skates on and off we went. I dropped him off by the front door so I could park the car, and told him to please just go in and get started with forward stroking. Stitch went in, and when I got in myself, Stitch was in the rink like a good boy, forward stroking. I left him the list and the egg timer, and away we went with Practice Ice. Or rather, he went. He's getting really good at managing himself.
Another mom and I chatted before Stitch waved to me to count the revolutions of his spins. This is getting really hard for me, he spins faster now. Shhhh, sometimes I make up the numbers! I left him his coffee, and he took a break, and it was all a familiar and happy routine. He took a few falls, but was up without a problem. Nothing funny today... except when Stitch was doing edges and decided to liven things up by changing foot and/or edge by hopping. This scared the crap out of me, which he noticed and did more of while giggling. He then did hops while trying backwards one-foot glides, which again scared the crap out of me, so Practice Ice turned into Scare Mom Ice.
But he was still confusing edges on 3 turns. I hope it gels for him at some point.
We headed home for breakfast, and then it was off to what is always the liveliest part of my Saturday, Group Lessons.
Stitch took off for warm-up, and started jogging. I mean, high kneed jogging, scaring me to death and making the girls giggle as he passed by. He went backwards, he bunny hopped, he swizzled, he did all sorts of things, which was good since the Coaches really had no interest in assisting with the warm-ups at all. They chatted amongst themselves, looked a clipboards, and only one of them was helping the fallers and stragglers. Urgh. The kids all separated into their classes having just done a glorified Public Skate.
Honestly, I'm going to miss this session. I have four weeks left of watching Pre-Alpha parents, half of whom are facemashed to the glass watching their Olympian take Learning Dives and the other half would rather be kicked by a mule than freezing in an ice rink watching their kid fall. Beside me was a Dad playing solitaire on his iPhone while his daughter looked up to see if he was watching her do one-foot glides. Above me was a mom screaming "Glide! Gliiiiide!" to her daughter, Purple Tutu, who was duckwalking.
I started thinking. Kids learning to skate I guess is a lot like Kids learning to walk. Think back to all those parenting "manuals" you read while immobile and eating everything in sight. They said that it takes about 1000 hours of practice for a kid to learn to walk. Read that again. 1000 hours. Practice. Walking. Taken in skating terms, at six hours a week (what Stitch averages out to) he'd still need about two years to learn to walk. So, think of it that way, and the progress being made in any given Pre-Alpha class is phenomenal. It's not just forward gliding, it's backward swizzling and balancing on this really thin blade. While they're learning to walk, babies make up all kinds of weird ways to get around, just because it works. Remember the funny cousin who scooched on his little butt for what felt like forever, and everyone said he'd never walk right because he never crawled "right?" Yeah. He walked eventually, and Purple Tutu will glide like a champ someday, provided her mom doesn't yell at her too much.
Anyway, I was freezing my ass off, shivering and cranky. I think I looked like it, as no one spoke to me. After class Stitch went to get some coffee and I went to settle business with Coach. She seemed a bit nervous as I approached, only smiling when she realized I was just paying her. It hit me then that I'd been scowling for the past hour. I hate being cold.
A real bonus to doing these competitions is that it's making this winter go by faster. I'm not concerned with the temperature, I'm now thinking of a day in March and those twenty-odd days now seem short. Who knew.
But we're finally home. Housework is done and we watched the Nationals Gala on TV. Stitch is now doing skating moves, and we're off for late skate tonight. I'm thinking of making cookies for the gang, as the blizzard was awful and knocked out half the spaces in the stupid lot. Parking battles merit cookies, IMO.