Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hope I did right

Previously, I had written about my determination to keep the kids studying musical instruments until they graduated form high school. I'm sticking to this goal until one or both of them decide they'd rather do other activities that offer them the same opportunities to learn perseverance, critical analysis, and team work. Yes, that could mean sports. I would welcome that. Their grade level and school doesn't offer team sports. And I do resist some local offerings usually because of expense in both money and time commitment. These are 8 year old kids - I believe they shouldn't be required to attend practices more than once or twice a week.

Today I had an opportunity to grow as a parent when my daughter finally told me her true feelings about auditioning for the Nutcracker Ballet. I had just come home from a civic duty, and she knew that when I returned, we were supposed to get ready. I had to pull her out of her movie to start stuffing her into the pink leotard and brush her hair into a bun.

She went straight to her new, private room and flopped face down on the bed. This is a sign for me to start cajoling, encouraging and sometime beg for her to motivate. She started crying. It was time to probe.

She's not the easiest person to pry any articulation about her feelings. She tends to get passive aggressive; probably afraid that she'll say something I won't like. I'm trying to encourage her to say what she feels and not worry about my reaction. It takes a behemoth amount of self control to contain my reaction, sometimes.

I asked her why she didn't want to do it. She loves wearing stage make up, and being in costume. She always feels confident for her Spring performances. Then it dawned on me. This is a performance in front of her school. What if she made a mistake? Her fear is that her classmates wouldn't stop teasing her if she did screw up.

When did this self-confident girl start losing it? What is going on in her life that is making her afraid to succeed? Afraid to fail? She's super smart, and doesn't cause trouble. She's never dragged her feet to ballet class except for when she'd rather stay home with Scooby-Doo on Saturday mornings. Saturdays are "special girl time" days. I don't want to lose that special time with her. I also know that the more time she spends on her toes the stronger her ankles become - which she needs, due to the unfortunate inheritance of my bone structure.

What I need to accept is that she doesn't need to be the center of attention the way I did at that age. Who am I kidding? I still love being the center of attention. I love being on stage whether it's part of the orchestra, soloing, reciting a Vagina Monologue, or dancing in a flash mob.

I know my mom encouraged me to do so many things to keep me occupied during dad's failing health. I also demanded attention away from my other four siblings. The more I got from other people, the easier on her and my siblings. I only assumed this was something she needed.

I listened to my daughter. I needed to back down. We made a deal. No audition, but she still would take ballet lessons on Saturday mornings so we can keep our girl time together. I am giving up my ballet lessons in order to fit other civic duty things in - and to find more time to write. I hope I made the right move. I hope that my daughter knows that I am listening. I hope that my daughter eventually wants to take some risks.

She's eight years old. I'll keep loving her and finding special time to watch her grow into a beautiful woman.

#87 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

1 comment:

  1. You did do the right thing. I have spent a lot of time in and around dance school & ballet guild kids and I could always tell the ones who wanted to dance and the ones who were compelled to.

    Dance lessons when a little girl is really young are good for learning social skills, discipline, coordination and grace but if the little future Margo Fonteyn is not into it you are wasting her time and your money.

    A dancer really must want to dance otherwise the physical strain on her body and toll it will take on her feet will not be worth it.

    I am hesitant to give parent advice for the obvious reasons but.....