“You’re having a girl!” Those words will forever ring in my ears as my excitement rose while I was pregnant with my first born. Along with that excitement came all the fun things I wanted to experience with her. You know, all the things that come with having a girl. Doing our nails, playing dress up in princess dresses, doing her hair, bows, pink, flowers and more! First, let me explain that I am NOT that parent that must do all of that or will force my child to do something she doesn’t like. I am always watching her to see what she naturally gravitates towards and even adjusts my wants to fit her wants in terms of fun.
When she turned two, I noticed that she loved to dance to music and enjoyed twirling around. I immediately thought, “I wonder if she would like dance?” Intrigued by how cute she would look in a leotard and ballet shoes, I signed her up. Our first day was fun, everyone was having fun. By week 3, I decided that she wasn’t ready. She tends to follow a beat of her own drum and just wanted to play. It was as if to her, the whole point of the class was to just simply dance around while the music played. It made sense to me, but of course it is a dance class and learning needed to be done. She wasn’t too interested in that part. I decided to wait another 6 months to see if she matured.
The second time around, it was a mommy and me class and I really thought this would be a great bonding experience with my Olivia. It was a major disaster for everyone except Olivia. She had a blast. Not only did she think dance class was running around the class playing while music played, but she now had mommy to chase in a game that she made up. The looks on the other parents faces were priceless. I felt like the worst mom ever as my child ruined each class. She wasn’t alone. There were others in her class that also felt like dance was more than organized learning of ballet. We all felt the heat from the mom looks and each one of us started missing classes. I’m not doing this for a whole year, I thought to myself. That was embarrassing for me and hard to explain that she doesn’t act like this anywhere else, including at school and church.
For sure my three-and-a-half-year-old is mature and ready to follow direction.
The last straw was this year. She saw the movie “LEAP” and was dancing around the house and asking to go to dance. She asked me so many times and I thought, okay let’s try this again. For sure my three-and-a-half-year-old is mature and ready to follow direction. She spends 7 hours a day following her teachers, sitting down, listening and learning. They tell me she is one of the best behaved kids in her class. Let’s try dance this year. I changed dance schools in hopes that if I wasn’t in the class she would do better. As I watched the video while she was in class I started to get a horrible knot in my gut. The looks started to come but I hung in there until finally, her teacher said, “I don’t know,” after asking, “What do you think?” I told her I just don’t want to disrupt the class, this was not fair to the other students. Internally, I was also thinking that I didn’t want to endure another parent’s judgmental look and feel the mom guilt.
So for now, we have put dance to the side and will not revisit it anytime soon. I have pictures of her in the leotard and memories that will last a lifetime. For that, I am grateful. We will laugh about these days when she’s older over a taco salad some day but for now, I’m content with just enjoying seeing her be three-and-a-half. There is no rush, no pressure and no more need to have her to be in dance just because I think she would like it. Come to find out, she does like to dance, just not organized dance right now.
As for the mom guilt, I let it go. I know people tend to think they know what’s going on, but I’m forever learning to have grace and compassion. You never can know the full story behind why a child is or isn’t acting a certain way. For us, she’s just not ready and we’re good with that.