As a former Stage Manager, sometimes it's hard for me to switch it off when it comes to Stitch. Yes, he's my kid, but when he's skating, in my mind he's a Performer. And for a few years it was my business to know Performer's Business. I noted blocking, gave lines, arranged props, took notes, scheduled dry cleaning, fetched coffee, cleaned vomit, lent an ear and held houses for bathroom breaks. Performers need these things, and I freely gave them.
So when Stitch was practicing his program one afternoon in the spring, and I looked down and lamented that he left out the little footwork sequence, I got a "That Mom" comment from FabSkater's mom. "You shouldn't know that much about his program," she chided.
"I don't, I just know he left out a chunk of it."
"You still shouldn't know."
That may be true, but it's just something I do. A Stage Manager notates what's happening on stage, remembers it for future rehearsals. After doing a few shows at a place where there were as many entrances and exits as there were butts in the seats, it's relatively simple for me to remember a 90 second skating program. (If I watch other kids enough, I start to remember their programs, too. I notice that they also miss things.) What's more, I didn't know the exact order of the step sequence, I just knew it was there, and he'd missed it. The few times he missed an element and I was rinkside, he'd look at me and comically slap his head. "Darn it!" he'd rail.
"It's okay. That's why this is practice. Just try again."
"I'll just forget something else!"
"It's still practice. It's okay. Try again."
Every time I come to the rink and see girls doing off-ice jumps and warmups, I think it very normal compared to when I watched a thirty some year old man in a woman's slip pounding the stage, back and forth, yelling "SUSHI CHEF" as a part of his vocal warmup. I would provide feedback for him as he ran his harder lines and I mixed my personal recipe for Staged Birth Effluvia. I wasn't the Director, so I never told him to emote more or turn his body in any given way, but I told him what sounded clear to me and what he wasn't pronouncing well enough.
So, it's not that I'm directing anything when I'm rinkside. I'm not giving pointers on jumps or spins, not throwing out my arms or telling him to pull in for spins. I'm not telling him that his efforts look terrible (even when they do.) When he skates over and asks me, "What's next?" I feel oblidged to say something like "Power three's" or "A lap of lunges." All I ask is that he try.
He's a kid performer, and he happens to be mine. That's all.
Just for fun, here's the recipe:
Two parts clear dish detergent
One part white hand lotion
Three drops Red Food Coloring
One Drop Blue Food Coloring (Give or take, just darken the red. Don't make it too purple)
Add two drop reds and one drop blue to the white hand lotion. Mix well. Add one drop red to the clear dish detergent, mix well. Gently fold the detergent and hand lotion together, not mixing completely but leaving lots of thin streaks of detergent. Smear on the doll and place in plastic bin. Pour excess around doll for the actor to smear on hands. Be sure someone puts a red light somewhere on the birth scene so the lotion appears more red than purple.
Immediately dunk all costumes and linens in cool water to soak before laundering. This still may not remove all stains, so plan for a new things just in case. This is just my recipe, I know others may have their own!