Leah has started dance class this summer and, for the most part, loves it. I was very excited to get her involved for the summer because the studio I chose does drop-in lessons where you just pay ten bucks every week and if you can’t make it it’s not a big deal. They expect more commitment in the fall, when their real season begins, so I figured this would be a great way to see if Leah really likes it and is ready before we make the financial commitment.
Today was the third lesson she has done. The first week she made it thirty-five minutes, and then only cried because another little girl saw her mommy try to leave and was crying. That made Leah wonder where I was, but as soon as I stepped into the studio she was fine and I was able to sit off to the side and observe.
Let me back up and explain the way things are done at this studio. There is a small lobby where you walk in and this has a small window and a glass door into the studio. Then there is a changing room that also has a regular door leading into the studio, and no windows. With the three year olds, the teacher asks the parents to sit in the changing room rather than looking through the window the whole time because it distracts the kids. We can take quiet peeks every now and then.
Well, last week Leah did great and had no tears at all, but today the class started but there were two parents standing up against the glass with cameras, and two more standing back but still within view of the kids. I got caught up in it. At first I thought I would take a peek. Then I took a longer peek. Then I figured, heck, if everyone else is going to stand here so am I.
Leah saw me but waved and kept dancing. Then the teacher came out and said the girls were distracted and talking about how they could all see their mommies and politely asked us to go back in the other room. I knew that was a bad idea. Leah had seen me standing there and now she would not see me. Sure enough, about 5 minutes later I heard my girl crying. I went to the window and waved so she would know I was there. This just made it worse. The teacher tried for a good ten minutes to re-engage her in the class but it was no use. My sniffling little bunhead came out and leapt into my arms. I ruined today’s class for her.
I learned a valuable lesson, though. Is my daughter dancing around in a leotard freakin’ adorable? Of course it is! But she really is enjoying the class and she is getting more out of it then just dance skills. She is getting some independance and that is a good thing. She was absolutely fine when she wasn’t thinking about where mommy was, but as soon as she saw me (and then didn’t) it completely distracted her from having fun and doing her thing. As a mom I need to learn to let go. She is three now and as much as I want to hold her hand through everything she needs to be able to do things on her own and be okay.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not plan on leaving the place all together. I will sit in the other room with a book, and if Leah needs me I will be there for her. But I don’t intend to be the cause of her upset again. It’s time to let my baby grow wings, and more importantly, spread them.