La La How The Life Goes On

Leaps and Bounds

Posted on: August 3, 2010

Quick post since the nap is about to not happen, judging from the shrieks and pissed off cries coming from Baby Sister’s room. It’s actually rather funny how you can differentiate between the “I need help” or “I’m sad or hurt” cries and the “F you for putting me in here, Mama!” cries. These are of the latter variety, mixed in with “I’m so tired I can barely stand MYSELF.”

Anyhoo, this post is more about Bambina than Baby Sister, although good times for the B always mean better times for the BS. We’ve just had so many consecutive days of seeing Bambina become older that it’s notable. You know how sometimes you wake up and look at your kid and think, “Is she taller this morning?” That’s kind of what’s been going on developmentally with Bambina in the past 10 days.

She loves Irish Step dancing, took a class, mastered the steps, then refused to participate in the final show (15 minutes before the show) because she forgot some steps at the practice immediately before and got spooked that she’d deliver a bad performance. No amount of “no one cares if you miss a step” and “this is supposed to be fun, my love” could convince her to get on the dance floor for the recital. I struggled mightily the entire time to veer neither toward stage mother anger (I’m so disappointed in you) nor apathy (whatever you want is fine, dear). I settled instead for making her stay and watch the show to support her classmates and telling her to enjoy it, because I would not be paying for additional classes in which she let down her team at the very last minute. You know, trying to make the whole “you made a commitment” point without making it be about the dancing itself. I asked her later if she was sorry that she didn’t perform and she rather honestly said, “Not at all, Mama.” Okaaaay. I guess that little life lesson will have to wait for another day, right? Not to mention trying to work my kid out of her Perfection Paralysis. It’s great to refuse to put on anything but a perfect show when you’re, say, Barry Manilow or Miss Celine Dion in Vegas; but when you’re 6 years old, it’s a little bit much to expect of yourself.

Fast forward to this past week at her summer arts and science camp. Of her own accord, Bambina planned and executed an entire performance of her Irish Step dancing for the entire camp at their daily noontime performance show. She simply told the Dada and I that she needed her CD of jig music in her backpack because she was going to perform tomorrow. I secretly assumed (somewhat shamefully) she’d bail at the last minute. Joke was on me. When I picked her up that day the director walked toward me to tell me how fabulous Bambina had been and how she got a standing ovation. Please excuse me while I damn near burst into tears in front of a relative stranger. Her dance teacher came up to say that she brought the entire house down. More dust in my eye. Then three different kids walk up to her as we’re getting in the car to say, “You were great” and “I liked your dancing.” I looked in my rear view mirror and said quietly (as my dad used to say when I was proven wrong) “Oh ye of little faith.”

Two days later, Bambina and I make a date to go to the movies. Yes, the movies. That place that has always been a house of horrors for my eldest child. Too loud, too dark, too vibratey. Any attempt at seeing a movie has always ended in drama and tears. Until Beezus and Ramona. We started reading the books on the advice of a friend with two kids who similarly bicker, and they have been wondrous. Bambina totally relates to Beezus. So when we saw that the movie was out she independently said she wanted to see it. Me: Really? Her: Of course! Yeah, of course, because it’s not like we haven’t spent major bucks on movies before only to walk out in the first 5 minutes, right? But appropriately chastened by my little faith during the week I leapt into the idea with enthusiasm. So on Saturday AM, off Bambina and I went to the movies. We stopped by Target first to get a pair of big old 1970’s earphones for her to manage the Dolby situation, which truth be told is rather loud for me too. Then off we went. We stood outside the theater while the previews played because they scared her. But we went in for the movie and….stayed. Another scene of Mama crying into her $10 Diet Coke and $32 popcorn. Another scene of Bambina feeling ten feet tall.

Then yesterday my hydrophobic child finally swam in the outdoor pool at camp, after “pinkie promising” her gym teacher Alex that she’d swim with him before the summer ended. After a brief discussion about her not needing to “promise” anything to an adult not her parent (slippery slope that, as it moves toward keeping secrets and whatnot), I suggested she just tell Alex that she didn’t want to break her promise but that she was scared and having second thoughts, and what could they do about that? When I picked her up that day I asked how it went (looking at her still-wet hair and smiling to myself). I asked her what she said to Alex. She said “Oh whatever, we worked it out and I liked swimming with him.” Good enough for me.

Later that night I turned into my own parents, wherein I did that annoying, “Just to recap the recap and to make my parental point in a way that is annoying and embarrassing for you” thing. I told her how proud I was of her, how grateful and happy I was that she told Dada and I her feelings and worries, because not all kids do that or can do that, and that if we know about something we can help whereas if we don’t we can’t. And how amazing it was to see her growing and learning and being brave and… [interrupting sigh]…”Mama, can we play American Girl now? [big Al Gore-worthy sigh].” Me: Oh, okay! And off we went, two people growing and learning together. Bambina learning how to be confident in herself in this big wide world, and me learning to let her be herself even if she’s not on my timetable. So what if most of her friends LOOOOOVE movies? She didn’t. Until she did. So what if she was scared to perform her dancing? She was scared. Until she wasn’t. So what if she is afraid of swimming? She was. Until she wasn’t. All of which proves what we probably know all along: that children do things when–and only when–they are ready. And when they’re ready, watch out world! Until then, leave them be and love them in all their current movie-hating, water-fearing, “silly” fears glory.

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3 Responses to "Leaps and Bounds"

Wow, great post. Go G(Bambina)! I am jealous she has overcome the movie phobia. I so wanted to take S to that movie, but she nixed it. But, yay! You are such an awesome mommy!

That is awesome, G! Your Florida cousin and I loved that movie too! She even wants to go see it again! Both of us laughed and cried during that movie. I have heard from your mom what a great dancer you are, that is awesome! That is another thing your cousin loves to do, dance! We would love to see you guys soon.
Love, Aunt Paula

loved this post!

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