Sunday, June 22, 2008

parenting: diva control

Up until June, Ice Girl had been a joy to be around. She loved ice, loved figure skating, loved the cute little skirts. She loved jumping, spinning, and even falling on her rear end.

June is diva month.

Ice Girl had 6 a.m. ice at a different rink on June 3. She went to bed early the night before and got up late the morning of. She dragged her feet, grumped, and sulked.

"Are you sure you want to go?" I asked. "We can just stay home." I thought maybe I could go back to bed and get some more sleep.

Tears welled in Ice Girl's eyes. "No, Momma. I want to go."

So, we drove thirty minutes south to a rink we'd never been to before. Six a.m. ice in our home rink is empty. Ice Girl loves empty ice.

However, at this rink, people show up for 6 a.m. ice. Oh, and it is the coldest rink I'd ever been in - even colder than the Pettit when the big speed skating track is icy (it's melted in the summer).

You should have seen Ice Girl. She was incensed that other people were on the ice at this time and annoyed with the cold. She couldn't get her skates on properly and grouched. I went into the lobby to sit with normal people. A few minutes later, my daughter shows up with red-rimmed eyes and street shoes. "I want to go home," she said.

"O.K.," I replied. I don't want to be one of those moms who forces her crying kid out on the ice.

However, I don't want to be the mom who wakes up at 4:45 to drive 30 minutes, puts up with a diva, turns around, and drives home. Oh, yeah. Then goes to work.

"No, Momma. This will never happen again. I'm just tired and it's cold and it's crowded."

It wasn't crowded, but I didn't make a big deal of it. She'd never, ever done this before. I cut her some slack.

Two weeks later, the diva made an encore performance.

This time we had a tough discussion in the van. Ice time is expensive: $11/hour. If we contract, but don't go to the session, that money is lost. I'm not going to be the mom who forces her kid to skate. But I'm also not going to be the mom who throws money away.

Parenting lesson: Set expectations for both skater and parent. Ice Girl and I sat down with the July contract. We selected dates and times and e-mailed her coach. I promise to pay for the ice, arrange to leave work, and drive Ice Girl to the rink.

Ice Girl promises to bring her figure skates and leave the tiara at home.

If Ice Girl turns into Ice Diva, we contract for less ice time the next month, based on the ice time lost at the rink and lost drive time.

I'll let you know if the Diva shows up...


Anonymous said...

Yikes, what an experience dealing with 6 a.m. sessions! I know Ice Girl's feelings about going from a near empty rink to a "crowded" rink -- it's a mood killer. I'll wait to see if the contract works for you guys. You have got a lot of patience madam.

Ice Mom said...

Thank you, Susan. I don't think patient was a word I would have chosen the last time Diva showed up. Hoo, boy. :)