Letting Your Kids Just Be
This week I took Bliss off to our first mummy-and-me dance class. We sat in on a class last year and Bliss loved it. She couldn’t wait to join in and I was so proud of her happy twirling as she looked on from the back of the class.
Given this, and her general love of music and movement I was really excited about getting started, sure she was going to love it!
I was wrong.
The minute we walked into the room she shrunk. If you’ve met my daughter, or readabout her enough here, you’ll know that she doesn’t often shrink.
First she wouldn’t get out of the pram and then when she did she clung to me, demanding to be held for almost the entire class. The one time she relaxed a bit was when we played with the ribbon wands.
I was OK with this. New environments can be overwhelming especially when you feel certain things are expected of you and you don’t know what those things are. There wasn’t anything expected of course, not even that she would participate. The only person who expected participation was me and I got over that pretty quickly, especially when I realised it wasn’t going to happen without a fight. Or with a fight. And really, what’s the point in fighting over it? This is supposed to be a fun thing for us to do together and if she hates it, then hey, we can just dance around our living room together!
But, there was a time I would have been full of excuses for her and would have spoken them in front of her. “She’s not normally like this.” “She’s really confident, I don’t know what’s wrong with her today.”
And I did almost do it again.
There was another Mum there with her daughter, much the same age as Bliss. She had started dancing last term and the mother gushed about how she had jumped right in with both feet, while the teacher laughed graciously over how this little girl had taken over the Christmas concert with her impromptu moves. A gentle but enthusiastic little girl she launched herself right into this class and her mother beamed.
I recognised that mother.
And in an instant, I felt those excuses rise.
Mercifully, I faltered.
Bliss doesn’t have to love every new experience; goodness knows I didn’t as a kid and as loud as I am, I can be shy too. Maybe she will warm up to these classes and maybe she won’t. Upon reflection, my girl is a high-energy kid and maybe soccer or karate is a better fit for her than ballet? Maybe we should try a less structrued form of dancing? Maybe, maybe, maybe…
For now, I’m just going to let her be the little girl she is and keep my big trap shut when it comes to making excuses.
*Megan wrote a great post along these lines recently and to save me saying the very same thing she said I’m just going to suggest you check out her post, Why do we label our children? with a hearty Amen!
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