Every year we lose one 3-year-old. I don’t mean we misplace one…I mean he or she never makes it to the stage for our annual Spring Showcase. We might lose them at photos; where they inexplicably refuse to pose for the group photo, or he or she might pitch a HUGE fit during the second to last class before the show and refuse to come to class ever again. In all the time I have done this, I can tell you it happens, and I have NO idea why.
The Build Up
As a parent, we can certainly rattle off all the speculations and reasonable (and unreasonable) justifications as to why this little human suddenly slammed on the breaks. They excitedly brought us through an entire school year of weekly lessons, grew out of four pairs of tap shoes, lost one ballet shoe, and is now on the floor, done up like a pageant queen, kicking and screaming, and WILL.NOT.GO.ON STAGE! Let’s not even mention the ten relatives in the audience that flew in from Florida to see this little darling’s stage debut.
Granted, I have only gotten to this point (a mid-show bailout) ONCE.
As a teacher, more often than not we see the warning signs 2-3 weeks leading up to the show. The little dancer starts to grasp the concept of the main event about to go down. They start to drop hints and we start fine tuning the art of of coaxing them through. As a parent, if you get to that point, most of the fit pitching happens at your house and out of my teacher earshot!
EXCEPT, the ones thrown by my little princess :).
Let me interrupt myself for a PSA (Parent Service Announcement). This type of thing is TYPICAL. It doesn’t mean a child is behind, developmentally delayed, badly behaved, or lacking in parental love or support. It means they are LITTLE (insert shrug).
Behind the Scenes
Even knowing this was typically behavior didn’t stop me from feeling shame and embarrassment when my own little dancer was kicking and screaming when her first recital came around. Thankfully, the hired help, aka Gra-Bonnie (my mom) had experience in this arena. I was busy all day running the show. I am so grateful my mom was able and willing to come play “dance Grandmom”.
This is where I spare you the annoying details! It was a long day for her, and by the time I saw my princess with her dance friends, all three little girls were fit to be tied! In the dicey thirty seconds before they went onstage, I stood there, helpless, with every Mom-guilt emotion and regret flooding my chest. Before I knew it, there they were, all three little beauties, marching and hopping in their hoop with their teacher in front of a roaring audience. They stole the show. As those three marched offstage and into the wings, I scooped up my daughter and heard her say, “I want to do it again!”.