Today I was in Full On Suburban Mom Mode. First stop, groceries. Then, Ice Show practice. Next, lunch and library. Further, Play Date Dropoff. Last stop, Rink again. I set up shop in the lobby with my beads and my computer, where I waited for Stitch and Lucy to arrive, and Coach to tell me what Stitch needed to practice.
Before long, my good friend Lady Cluck and her two daughters arrived, another of Stitch's classmates arrived with a birthday party, Fab Skater's mom sat down with us and we all chatted about the merits of hip flasks. After the first hour, Stitch and Lucy arrived from their playdate, we put skates on them and all five kids were on the ice. Lady Cluck and I stayed in the lobby where we talked and righted the kids as they came off the ice periodically to beg for candy and snacks and soda, and to whine about their non-injuries.
Coach arrived and told me she would talk to me after Public was done. That's fine. Lady Cluck agreed to take the kids to the playground while Coach and I talked, as I had to take Lucy home afterwards. Everything was going fine until Public ended and the kids came barreling out of the rink, all of them needing help with de-skating. Stitch had that look where he appeared to be close to tears. I knew what had happened but I let it go for lack of time. We could talk later. Lady Cluck and I worked as fast as we could, but Coach was faster so I had to pry off Stitch's skates and leave Lucy to her own blade drying. I threw three dollars at them for snacks and went to talk with Coach.
Lucy appeared just as Coach was going into detail about proper extension. "I NEED A NAPKIN!"
"GO TO THE COUNTER." I pointed.
Three seconds later she tossed her dirty napkin and empty candy wrapper at me, left her Zuca by our table and I was mortified. If Coach noticed, she didn't say anything. Stitch has better manners.
Coach talked me through a large and thorough list of Stuff Stitch must do on the ice. Stroking, crossovers, spirals, spinning, waltz jumping, etc. All stuff I tell him to do, but it hasn't been on a List so he's been getting confused. Now that I have something hard and defined, it should be easier.
I went to the playground, Lady Cluck and I ate cookies and watched the kids play, and slowly rounded them up to take them home. Lucy didn't seem to mind the fact I was driving The Beater that day, only commenting on the mess in the back. "It's my dad's car," Stitch explained. I dropped her off, setting her Zuca on the curb for her and wishing her a good evening. She turned on her heel and walked to her door, leaving her Zuca for me.
"Ahem," I said pointedly.
Lucy rolled her eyes and came back for her Zuca.
On the way home, I asked Stitch why he had been so upset.
"Because Coach grabbed me and wasted all my time to play with my friends."
Yup. "You played with your friends on the playground. You play with your friends every day at school. Ice time is precious, and time with Coach is even more precious. If she's giving time to you, that's pure gold. Don't complain about that, ever. Understand?"
"Yes." But it was a mad yes.
"You want to compete? You want medals and trophies?"
"Then you get them by practicing and doing what Coach tells you. You know that. I won't enter you in competitions if I don't think you have a shot at winning."
"But you signed me up for the July Open, right?"
"That paperwork isn't out. And again, I won't enter you if I don't think you'll have a chance at winning."
We got home and made dinner. I sat down and prettied up The New List. It's long and kind of intimidating. But doable. Stitch and I went outside and I explained things. "You need to do this every time you get on the ice. I will talk to your guard friends and explain that you have to practice first, so they leave you alone, okay?"
Stitch is looking at it.
"Coach says you need to jump higher on Waltz jumps. Also you're not flexible enough, and you need to really work on Shoot the Duck."
"I hate shoot the duck."
"You can't do sit spins without shoot the duck. Right?"
"So let's come out here at night and do some stretching on days you don't skate. Okay?"
Stitch set his lip. He took a Twizzler and pretended to smoke, studying The New List. Then he jumped rope, did spiral stretches, shoot the duck, waltz jumps, then asked me what was next.
"I don't know. I think we're done."
"No, that was only four things. There has to be more."
"I don't think so."
"I'm not giving up, " he says.
"On these twizzlers, or on this list."
"Well, that's good. But we can do more tomorrow."
"I want that gold medal."
"What gold medal?"
"The one with my name on it."
"In which competition? Do you even know?" I'm fearing the answer.
"The one in 2013," he says like I'm stupid.
"Oh. Well, that's a solid goal then. Do I have permission to be pushy on you to get it?"
"You already pushed me over on Shoot the Duck."
It's true, I did. "Yeah. So can I?"
"You don't have a license."
"I'll make one. 2013, huh?"
2013 it is.