Abby wanted to take a dance class this summer.
She took ballet and tumbling last spring in place of soccer. She decided to never do that again. Learning the same dance over and over again in preparation for an expensive recital while she could have been playing soccer? Yeah, my girl was smart enough to not do that again.
Abby wanted to take a tap class. A week before it started, they told us that there were not enough kids signed up (seriously, parents, it is a summer class with no recital-what's wrong with you?) and switched her over to a tween mix of jazz, ballet and tap.
She was a good sport about it and after she missed the first practice (due to being in SC last week) she was super excited to go to practice this week.
I watched her from outside the room. I watched as she giggled with the other girls. I watched as the teacher led them in stretching. I watched as my long-legged girl stretched to the point of pain because she was comparing herself to the girl next to her who had just come from an hour and a half gymnastics class.
I continued to watch as she held back tears at her lack of doing a split (which none of them could do, but that did not matter to my perfectionist daughter). I watched her try to keep up with some dance moves that the girls learned the week before (which, again, they were all struggling with, but that did not matter). By the time the first two parts were over, she could not hold it in anymore.
I watched my little girl try so hard to wipe away tears and hide them away from everyone else. With every correction her teacher made, her face fell more and more.
One girl fell and laughed about it. Another girl had to do the same move over and over again until she got it right and she smiled with every attempt.
Abby was told to straighten her leg a bit and she teared up.
The girls took a break before tap to change shoes. Abby came out into the hallway, in tears, and said that she was not going back in. Nothing that I said mattered. Even one of the girls asking her to come back in did nothing.
I quietly explained to the teacher that she is my perfectionist, that most things come easy to her and when they don't, she cries. I also mentioned that she had not taken a dance class in a year since she plays soccer.
Which made her teacher say the magic words...
"Abby you play soccer? That is soooo much harder than dance! I don't know how you do that!"
My little girl decided to go back in and finish the class. And she loved every bit of the tap part.
Until she accidently stepped on her own toe and hurt herself. But, other than that...
After seven years of it, I am still surprised when she reacts like this. We do not pressure her, we tell her to relax and just have fun, we tell her how proud we are of her...yet, the girl still wants to be perfect.
I never realized how hard the parenting gets as the child grows up. The diapers and sleepless nights are supposed to be the worst part, right? What is all this emotional drama about? I thought that there is supposed to be a few easy years somewhere in the middle of childhood.
One thing I know for sure-it is never boring.