I’ve wondered many times if I am doing enough with Sweets. She is 4 1/2 and has never been part of any structured class and doesn’t go to many play dates on weekends.
She has several close friends she spends a lot of time with on weekends. She has many activities such as riding her bike, going out on her scooter, mucking about in the mud in the garden, learning how to crack eggs when we are baking (the teaching process in this particular task is messy and you often end up with crunchy cake).
But no swim lessons. No ballet. No soccer. No “mommy and me” groups. Just free time at home, playing outside, creating, pretending, imagining. All good things. But is it enough?
Every once in a while I’d cringe when I’d see pictures of all these kids in different classes looking like they are having so much fun- was Sweets missing out?
Thing about Sweets- she’s shy. Always has been. Being the center of attention is not her forte (yeah, I know! Not like her mommy!). Doing something and not doing it “the right way” is pretty anxiety producing for her. This is not for lack of encouraging her to do things the way she wants- she just wants things to be the way they should be.
Finally, this fall, she indicated she’d like to take ballet classes. So, given she’d never shown any interest in any other activity, I figured she was ready. So I got her all signed up and ready to go. Tippy Toes ballet class, here we come!
She woke me up asking “is it time for ballet?” YAY! She is excited! She is looking forward to it!
Then, “mommy, I think I just want to stay home today.” Well, granted it was a torrential downpour outside and I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to going out there either. But then I got out her “Tallulah’s Tutu” and “Tallulah’s Toe Shoe’s” books and read those for a bit, and she was all, “whoo-hoo! I am ready for ballet!”
So we brave the driving sheets of rain and are on our way. A small voice in the back seat says, “mommy, I think I don’t want to do ballet. It is too much work.”
Knowing it’s her nerves, I cheerlead her into being excited again. We talk about choosing new tutu’s and hair bows. I don’t talk about all the people she will meet and friends she will make, because while I know she will, that is the part that scares her the most. New people. I know enough about her that she will make friends without me pushing her towards them.
We get to her class, she tentatively enters and joins the few girls that are there already, looks at me, and gives me a meak smile and a thumbs up.
She turns around, the class starts, and then this picture pretty sums up how her class went.
Aside from the cutest tush evah, this picture made me realize I made the right decision. She had a great time. She was proud of herself.
Pushing her into a class because I felt she should go would have set us up for failure and tears. She wouldn’t have been ready. And as a mom I wasn’t keeping her out of all those classes because I was lazy or indifferent to the idea. It’s because I knew. I knew it wouldn’t have worked for her. As her mom, I knew she needed more time.
All those months of cringing and questioning myself as a parent were for ‘naught. All along, I was being a good mom. Not that I ever really thought I wasn’t. I just think sometimes it is hard for mom’s to let go and actually admit: I am a good mom.
This ballet class was a first for both of us.