Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Alright wise wimmins (and mens who never post comments)...I need you. Again. I am having a parenting conundrum.

It goes like this: Three ballet classes ago Sweet Pea came out at the halfway mark and told me tearily that she wanted to go home. She was starting to have the sniffles a little bit. So although I asked her several questions to find out what was making her want to go right then, I didn't really think twice about it. Home we went.

Then the next week she threw me a curveball by tearily refusing to go into the class once we were at the ballet studio. She didn't say a word about not wanting to go the whole time we were getting ready, or in the car...but when we got there she flat out refused to go in. I asked her if something had happened - my guess was that she was reprimanded by the teacher for not paying attention or being disruptive or something. She said no, nothing. So I told her that she needed to stay. She cried more. I told her that if we left that was it. No more ballet. She tearfully agreed to the conditions and went to the car. I was totally nonplussed. Where was this coming from?

Later she told me that one of the girls in class had said something that hurt her feelings. I told her that she couldn't let someone else ruin an activity that she loved. I told her that sticks and stones can break your bones...etc. etc. etc. If we're being honest I'm not sure that is actually what happened anyway. She is always reporting the rude things the other kids at preschool say and she is not phased. I think she just picked one of the myriad of things we (me, Mr. G, Grandma) were asking her about and stuck with it. As in, Me: "Did someone say something that hurt your feelings?" Her: "Uh...Yes? I mean, yes. Yes, that's exactly what happened."

If I really thought that she just hated ballet I would let her give it up. I mean, she's 4. This is not FAME. No big deal. Not to mention it costs $40 a month. But I think she does love it. And I think she would have serious regrets about quitting. So Mr. G and I decided to play Good Cop/Bad Cop and he told her that she needed to finish out the year. (Through May.) When we told her she seemed relieved. We also talked about it another time during the week AND this morning. Each time she seemed to be over it to me.

Then tonight she was practically in tears as we were getting in the car. We got to the ballet studio and she refused to go in the class. So I made her sit with me in the parents' waiting area for the whole hour. All the little girls in her class told her that they missed her and asked her to come in with them. No dice. She watched them practice their dance for the recital and was not moved. She did get pretty bored, and at the end of class she told me that she would like to participate next week. So maybe it's over. But, she's 4. 4 is fickle. So who knows if we will have a similar battle next time.

So. Am I doing the right thing? Should I have just let her quit? Now that we have laid down the law, what do we do if she is still upset to the point of tears next time?

That girl has a frightening ability to call my bluff. I am totally at a loss here.


And some random photos. Because it is Tuesday.

Can you tell me who is in these photos?

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and the rain fall softly on your fields.
And until we meet again someday,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


All the Little Bits said...

No way. Is there anyway to have adult intervention with the girl that hurt her feelings? Let her confront her "fears" of the girl and tell her that she hurt her feelings by saying ____? It is usually SUPER uncomfortable, but the feeling of hurt is usually gone after you confront them and an apology is heard. You are doing the right thing. This is an important lesson for her to learn because she should never let anyone else stop her from doing what she loves to do.

AngMomof3 said...

Ah, I do think you're doing the right thing. Good for you to sit through class (since you had nothing better to do...). I hope you're right that next week she'll be fine. If you quit, then you have to be prepared for her to attempt quitting in other arenas too.

I also think you should ask her teacher if she can determine a cause for the fears. You will learn to do this with many teachers that Sweet Pea will come into contact with since you're not always with your child (drat!).

Let me know what happens!

scarlett said...

Hmmm, sounds very familiar. That and tears for the entire first two weeks of kindergarten. Sorry, not trying to frighten you but hey, they are related. Stick to it. I think you did the right thing. I made gigi stick out ballet as well and the next fall when I asked her if she wanted to sign up she said no so we didn't. I would love to tell you that there is something that happened, something to put your finger on and maybe there is. With gigi there was nothing. I think it was totally seperation anxiety. Weird because they are both pretty independent yet not so much. Maybe it is a girl thing?! Good Luck!

Tales from the Crib said...

I've experienced something similar with J. He does gymnastics once a week. He has freaked out twice when a substitute was there vs. his regular teacher. I get his nervousness with that situation, so I let those slide. But now he is on to me, and if he just doesn't feel like getting dressed or brushing his teeth or whatever to get ready to go to class, he'll start crying that he doesn't want to go. I tell him that he can quit, but only when his session is over (sessions are 2 months long, I pay for them up front). I've already paid for it, so he has to go. And he does and he's fine. But I do ask after class each time "Did you have fun today? Do you still not want to come back after session ends?" And then of course, he's happy he went and looks at me as if I am crazy for even suggesting quitting.

But the net of this is, I guess, that I think you are doing the right thing. At least making her stick it out through what you have paid for. You might speak to the teacher on the side and ask if anything happened? Maybe you'll get to the cause.

Anonymous said...

Man, those photos are cute, you and mini-you.

Aunty M.

Beege said...

I think our girls are at the age where it's OK to tell them, "Listen, I spent a lot of money on this for you. You need to see it through. If you don't want to do next session, I'm OK with that. But you have to finish this one out." They need to learn at some point that ballet lessons, Happy Meals, Leapster games, etc. just don't magically appear in your purse, you know?

I'd talk to her teacher, like AngMomof3 suggested. Maybe she saw something, or overheard something. Or maybe, SP just decided she doesn't like ballet. I can think of a lot of times when something seemed like it would be a lot of fun, and that I would like it, but when I was actually out there doing it? I hated it. Could be something as simple as that.

We're holding off on activities like gymnastics, dance, soccer, etc. until Nea is in school. She gets swim lessons in the summertime, but that's about it. Part of it is expense, part of it is knowing Nea would do this very same thing, and I don't have the willpower to force her to go if she's unhappy. I figure this way: maybe I'm setting us both up for success, LOL.

Clover said...

Thanks girlies! Time will tell. She has been Angelina Ballerina-ing it all over the house for the last few days. Sooo...time will tell. I haven't brought it up, but she has mentioned a couple times that she would like to participate in class next time. And we are off for Spring Break this week, so maybe absence will make her heart want to dance.

I really do think she loves it.