So, I learned today that watching any Learn to Skate session is made much more lively by listening to Rap music over your headphones. The following video is NSFW.
Yes, Pre-Alpha and Tots suddenly get a whole new dimension.
Stitch started out with Coach in the early morning. I put on skates, was feeling rather chipper, sent Stitch into the rink and ran headlong into Mr and Ms. Valium. "Good morning!" I greeted them loudly.
"Oh, how are you?" Ms. Valium was her quiet self.
Mr. Valium gives us both a look. "Honey, this is the same mom."
"No," replies Ms. Valium. "This is the other boy's mom."
"Are you sure? She looks the same as that other mom."
"Nope!" I say. "Different mom!" (I can't make this shit up.)
We have some awkward conversation before Stitch storms out of the rink and demands my presence inside. "Gotta go, nice talking with you," I relish my excuse.
I waved hi to Coach, and settle myself on the far end of the rink, away from the Parent Parking Bench. I ran music for her, alternating between zoning out, watching the bigger kids get fussed at and trying to listen to the coaches bickering in other languages. PrepSchool was getting schooled, not in skating, but in shutting up. Olympia was trying to give instruction to her bevy of girls, while PrepSchool apparently was talking over her, and she snapped off at him in a big way. (I can't blame her, but it was a bit excessive given the public nature of that lesson group.) She then tossed him off to another Coach, who taught him and another boy backwards edges. I was trying to keep my laughter to myself. Pardon me, but weren't you supposed to have backwards edges down by now, if you're in a freestyle group? Whatevs. So PrepSchool and Other Boy were doing half-assed edgework, goofing off, when the Other Coach flips out and threatens to kick them off the ice. Beautiful.
Anyway. Stitch and Coach were working on a harder spin, doing the program, nothing too serious. I was just enjoying myself, but Stitch was determined to hate the day. He was being excessively whiny and obstinate. Hm.
Coach came off the ice and we had a mutual apology session. Just confusion on both our parts, and everything was fine again. We scheduled some time for the following week, but then Stitch began complaining. "He says he doesn't like to do Gamma, he says it is too much," Coach says.
"That's a bullshit line," I dismissed it.
"Well, I know it's bullshit, but,"
For a moment it hit me just how casual our conversation had become.
She told me her own frustrations with The Prepschool situation, but that it was Coaches trying to force the kids to Freestyle faster because the ice was more convenient. That may be so.. but.... "I know, they can't skate," she agreed, but things were easier once that little bump got passed. A few more profanities later, and I felt reassured and validated. Be patient, just a little while longer. If we stay on track, then Winter is when we'll be sailing Freestyle.
Stitch stayed on the ice to practice awhile longer, but then we headed out for coffee. I figured a latte was in order for both of us, so we drove to a nearby Starbuck's.
"Yeah, he'll have a small vanilla latte, whole milk and easy on the temp," I said to the cashier.
His finger hovered over the register. "You mean a kid's steamer."
"No. A latte."
The finger hovered. "Really?"
"Yeah, it's fine. I'll take a grande hazelnut latte skim."
Back at the Rink, we watched the PreFreestyle kids warming up, PrepSchool flopping around and I sighed. Soon, soon, soon. Be patient. Stitch was watching. "Should I be on the ice?"
"Not yet. Another ten minutes."
Not yet, indeed. There's a decent ways to go. Stitch doesn't just need to learn the moves, he needs to learn self-discipline and respect. Already he's doing better; he politely raised his hand and asked his Group Coach to be excused to use the restroom. Most kids just take off. He's practicing his skating on his own more, without me bugging him. The Stars help, but there's more self motivation going on, too.
Stitch may have whined about doing Gamma and Beta, but he did them both well. When he took a hard fall in Gamma, he stepped out to compose himself and then went back in. I wasn't needed at all. Yes, Stitch is getting that Hard Knocks Maturity that the bigger skaters have, one fall at a time.
In the meantime, Stitch has requested a Bright Red Practice shirt, in long sleeve so he can forego the jacket. "I want people to be able to see me," he says. Baby, they see you. Trust me.