29 March 2012

Golden Pig (not)

A2 is a golden pig--I don't really know what that means but I do know that it's rare enough that pregnant women on the cusp were scheduling sections to deliver their sons under this lucky sign.  While I'm not knowledgeable about horoscopes of either the Eastern or Western varieties, I do acknowledge that A2 sure does lead a seemingly charmed life.

You know who doesn't lead a charmed life?  His poor big brother!  Remember this horrible incident?  Well, as angry as I was about that event, I may actually be angrier about what happened last night.

We have been skating for a little over a year but the boys continue to ask for more lessons, which come in 8-week series.  At the start of each new session, I direct queries to elicit their true sentiments, making sure they are still having fun.  After all, fun is the solitary objective for us--I am not aiming to train Olympiads. 

The boys started the first of eight last night and when A1 came out, I told him I'd been watching and that he did amazingly well considering it was it the first session of the series.  He grew silent.  I again made a remark about his skills and he started crying inconsolable--an exceptionally rare sight for a boy who is as stoic and private about his tears as A1.  In between his gasps of air, he told me that the other students were so good that they got the new moves on the first try but he was unable to do it.  Through his plaintive wails, he repeatedly chanted, "I'm so horrible, I'm so horrible..."  A concerned grandparent whom we've known for some time at the rink came over to see if he was okay and A1 shoved his face in his skate bag and sobbed and sobbed--not a tears and runny nose quiet sob, not a sniffling hiccuping sob, but a full body head to toe convulsing sob that consumed his entire being (and mine too, quite frankly). 

I was flooded with questions because I couldn't imagine where these feelings originated--everyone at that rink, coaches and parents alike, knows that I'm not THAT kind of mom.  I don't pressure them to perform and don't put them in competitions because we are there purely for recreation.  So to make a(n already) long story short, I spoke to his private coach who skillfully arranged for a new instructor--A1 will remain at his current level but will join the next set above him.  When I told him, the relief that washed over him was so obvious.  "Thank goodness!" he exclaimed. 

I'd already asked about whether there was maltreatment on his new instructor's part, and he originally denied it and only offered self-criticism.  But after he heard about moving classes, the floodgates opened because he was no longer gripped by complete terror.  Feeling safe knowing that he would not have to return to that instructor, A1 talked about it the entire drive home.  And let me tell you, what he conveyed made my hair stand on end!

What person in their right mind would berate a 6-year-old?  When has instruction by shame and cruelty been either appropriate or even effective for that matter?  This is kind of verbal and emotional abuse is most definitely not the case for the other figure skating coaches we've met, all of whom have been wonderful.  This man is an anomaly--his behavior is atrocious and merits action. 

But here's the thing, the matter has been resolved to our satisfaction--and A1 has already seen me stand up for him by following through enough to get him into a new class.  Besides, nothing would probably come of my speaking up because it's a secondhand report and I certainly don't want A1 further questioned by anyone else about the matter given his initial reaction.  In my heart, I know that it is absolutely the right thing to do and that it might spare another innocent child from the same abuse, but, you know...I waver.  So rather than making a courageous choice on my own, I've asked his private coach for her advice with a promise to follow through on whatever she suggests. 

1 comment:

Ivan Chan Studio said...

What has the private coach suggested?

I'm appalled by the new instructor's behaviors. Yes, it's second (or third) hand for me, but I know you, and you know A1.

I see why you would waver and also why it would even be unnecessary (A1 is now safe), and certainly putting A1 through more would be awful. What do you think of playing the (very articulate) mama bear card? State the terms of engagement with the new instructor and his employer, which would include no further questioning or even breathing this issue to A1 at all, and only speaking with you about it?

Argh. Maybe I'm not thinking clearly. I'm pretty pissed right now.