Coco loves to dance. She spins and twirls all day long and begs daily to wear her princess dresses because, according to her, dancing is so much better when you are wearing a princess dress. I knew a ballet class was in order for her for two distinct reasons:

1. She loves dancing and pink so isn’t ballet the obvious choice?  but also

2. She could really benefit from some instruction on how to control her body and be more graceful.

Coco is super strong and boisterous and often flails her arms and legs around and smashes them into me, the wall, me and accidentally hurts herself (and me). She could benefit from learning how to move purposefully and gracefully.  Ballet seemed ike the  perfect answer.

However, due to some communication issues with the new yaya this morning Coco missed her first class. I managed to get there at the tail end to get some photographs and they weren’t there. As you can imagine, I was devastated but then I got an idea! I wondered if her teachers would allow her to do a make-up class at 3:00 with the kindergarteners. They agreed so I got to watch her whole class! I was over the moon and Coco had a great time.

As Coco often is in new situations, she explores and tests and does her own thing. Today was no different. She did what was asked for about 10-15 minutes and then she was off doing her own thing, often not participating with the others in the hour-long class. She is only three, so no different than many kids her age, but when you have an adopted child you often speculate as to why certain behaviors are present. Is she anxious in new situations? Is she feeling a need to be the center of attention? Is she trying to see how much I will put up with? You can’t help but wonder things like this from time to time but then other times you chalk up certain behaviors to her just being three.

The class was fairly unstructured from a formal ballet sense. There was no mention of positions, no barre. In settings like this where things are more loosey-goosey she tends to lose focus. If they were at a barre I wonder if she would have been more attentive. Instead she ran around, jumped up on the stage, grabbed toys off the table, crawled under chairs and threw herself onto the floor and dragged her body across like a mop dirtying up her brand new leotard and tights. “If you put a hole in your tights I won’t be buying new ones,” I warned but then later wondered why I can’t just let my child be independent and self-directed and, well, just be a child. She is such a good kid so why do I feel so embarrassed when she isn’t following directions perfectly? Oh, because I think it is a reflection on me and my parenting skills (or lack thereof) instead of the likely option that she is  acting three and that is what three-year olds do sometimes. I restrained myself from intervening too much. I figured it wasn’t the first time the teachers had a student who didn’t follow directions perfectly. They were surprisingly unfazed. One even let Coco latch onto her ankles while she walked around.

Bottom line, Coco had fun and it was her first class for God’s sake. And I need to mention this again to get it into my head: she’s three. (Clearly momma needs to lighten up!) Maybe it’s best that I don’t go and become one of those overbearing stage moms! LOL Next week when she is with her peer age group and I am at work not dissecting her every move, I am sure she will do a better job have fun again.

At the very end of class the teachers lined the kids up to shake their hands. This sweet teacher was able to round Coco up and calm her down to say good-bye. Before they shook hands she showed Coco how to put her feet in first position. Learning something new immediately brought her into focus as she tried to emulate her teachers’ footwork. Concentrating on her stance, she stood perfectly still and carefully moved each foot into position. She took her teacher’s hand, stood there for a moment and then shook it feeling incredibly proud of herself. And it needs to be said –I was incredibly proud of her too.

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6 Responses to Ballet.

  1. kellycamille says:

    you made me smile and laugh here. i can imagine how you felt. i’m sure being 3 makes you wanna squirm and squiggle and latch on. too funny! and i bet you’re right that more structured, goal oriented type lessons may keep her attention better. she’ll get there. glad she’s having fun.

  2. K says:

    Oh, I can soooo relate your post! K has the same EXACT behaviors is his classes, although he is getting better. When he took soccer, he participated in the class for about 15 minutes and then played in the sand on the baseball field. Sometimes, he would join the last 5-10 minutes of the class, sometimes not. I would just look at the other “perfect” little kids and beat myself up mercilessly with negative thoughts…I’m a lousy parent, K this wouldn’t wouldn’t act like this if I were a stay-home-at-mom/if he had a father…I could go on. The main thing is that he had just turned 3 and this is what 3 year olds do. But also, K is just…K. This is his personality. I need to provide guidance so he can focus, but basically I need to embrace who he is because I believe all this boundless energy will help him succeed and go far in life. He’s in a creative movement class, now, and the teachers kick the parents out after the first day of class. It’s just the teacher and the kids which I think is good.

    • Joy says:

      Oh yes, I forgot the “if she had a father” reason that always crops up. But, yes, like K this is her personality. And, like you, I agree that these qualities are fantastic ones to have in life: curiosity, independence, self-direction, risk-taker, fearless, inquisitive, strength.. all good. I have to remind myself of that daily! 🙂

  3. shannoncl says:

    We have similar responses. He has always done better in these small group ‘structured’ body activities if he thinks I’m either not there or not watching him– getting his attention. If he sees me watching he will immediately try to engage me with any number of antics, requests, urgencies, made up reasons. I sound hard… he knows he’s allowed to break away and come to me one time only. And yes!! SO SO SO hard to get out of the ‘do it right’ ‘stay in line’ mentality. I still slip back .. all the time. She looks gorgeous and focused!

    • Joy says:

      Oh, thank you. I agree, smaller more structured activities are better for her. Even the teachers felt the room was too large and will be moving to a smaller one next week. I do like the idea of only breaking away once, though.

Kind words only, please! :)

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