Yesterday I got to watch lessons that originally The Sitter was going to handle. It was a nice treat, since I typically like watching Practice Ice, and the cool rink was a nice respite from the heat wave.
I was putting Stitch in skates, and he kept taking off one and fiddling with it. "Stitch, what's wrong?"
"This thing inside is folding over. It hurts."
"Oh." So myself, Rink Pal, and an Ice Dance guy who happened to be nearby all fiddled with Stitch's skate and the problematic insole. The clock was ticking, and I had to turn in a coupon and music, so I finally just removed the insole entirely.
"How's that?" I asked.
"Much better," Stitch rolled his eyes. "These skates hurt my toes. I want new skates."
I frowned. "What do you mean? Are these skates getting too small?"
"Stitch, I ask you all the time, 'how do your skates feel' and you always tell me they're fine. Now you say they're too small?"
"Yes! I need new skates!"
"I'll deal with this later. Go get on the ice, Coach is out there and so is Gordon."
I watched the boys learn a small step sequence and thought about this. The New Skate Fund is pretty healthy, the question is timing. Realistically, I can't get new skates just yet. My plan is to order new skates after the competition, we would wait for them while he's away and he can have them when he returns in August. I'll run this by Coach and ask for suggestions on what to get. In the meantime, I can just remove the insoles on these skates and make a little more room. (I learned after the lesson that one skate was already missing the insole.)
Coach seemed to be yelling a bit more than usual. Gordon was oblivious but Stitch was fighting back. I could see him whirling around after an attempt and throwing up his hands like, "what? Wasn't that good enough?" and Coach would come over and correct him. I have to give him credit for balls, but I need to talk to him about manners.
They ran their programs once, and Stitch tripped on a toepick, falling hard on a damn bunny hop of all things. He got up slowly, seemed to look for Coach to save him, but she just stood there. And Stitch kept going, finishing the program slowly and clearly painfully. At that point, Coach saved him, taking him to the boards where he relaxed for a bit.
It seems harsh, but it's necessary.
At the end of the lesson, Stitch was working on his kneel slide, finally parking his butt on the ice in frustration. Coach grabbed him by his skate blades and dragged him around, much to the boys' hilarity. The mood seemed much lifted after that, and she gave them some laps to race as the Ice Monitor kicked everyone out.
I was nursing a headache in the rink, so by the time lessons were done I was anxious to get out of the processed chill and back into some fresh air. Gordon and Stitch were once again hitting the vending machines, Stitch infecting Gordon with a love of all things automated. Coach told me she'd see us Sunday, and she'd take him if one of her Sunday crew didn't show. That's fine. She then began talking to Ms V about more ice, Ice for Moves, telling her that Gordon needed to skate more. I left. For some reason, I just didn't want to witness the hand-holding that day. They talked for a long time, while I just got Stitch to change clothes and put on real shoes.
I forgot to ask about advice on new skates.
In the car on the way home, I asked Stitch, "I saw Coach drag you around, that was pretty funny. What prompted that?"
"Oh, I was saying that I was a dummy and she did that."
"Why would you call yourself a dummy?"
"Because I couldn't do it right."
"So? That's why this is practice, and lessons, and learning. You're not a dummy, you're learning. It takes time to get it right."
We then talked about his field trip the next day, and everything seemed fine again. I let him play with the hose in the front yard for awhile, and thought about his apparent insecurity.
The end of the school year is when all their journals and notebooks and papers come home. In one of them, Stitch had written a list of what makes him happy. Right at the top was, "First place in Computishun," and "Trophys."
Stitch may not have the most expensive toys at the store, but I think the things that make him happy are a lot better than toys.