There’s always someone in life to worry for, not, necessarily, physically, the worry could come from seeing them make a bad choice, admittedly, possibly, a choice we ourselves had made and got into sh-t for. It’s not realistic to freely let your loved ones make their own mistakes, is it? To imagine them ending up in the same dump as you? This someone usually is in a form of family or friends: a sibling, a parent, and, of course, a child. I legit thought I was doing well with not projecting my fears onto my daughter Sofia (I once actively looked at “cute” spiders though I had suffered from arachnophobia for decades), until, as per the inner karma analyst, the pats on the back overshadowed the actual work and now I am all over the place with this panic of “OMG, what if she ends up being like me and not in a good way?”
Sh-t’s been hitting the fan at yours truly’s for a week.
Sofia has been doing ballet lessons since the age of three, nothing too intense, but enough to be expecting visible results – stamina, flexibility, grace, etc. Sure, she’s got a little bit of each, but in comparison to the other children in her ballet group, she’s not above average. Which is why this year I’ve upped the weekly practice hours from two to four, seriously how many years will it take to finally master the splits? It’s still less than the overwhelming time investment by the other children, but more in terms of actual work. Problem? Some of the new teachers are demanding. There is shouting, there is physical touch to put legs and feet in position, there is strictness and there is EXPECTATION. I love it. Sofia is petrified of it. One teacher in particular scares the sh-t out of her, so much so, that for the entire week Baby has cried every day, morning and night, in and out of her day school, in fear of continuing classes with this person. Changing the teacher is not an option, this is Central London, you jump at the closest location and you stay.
The drama has reached its peak when, on the day of the class, Sofia stood defiantly and, looking straight into my eyes, blurted the f-ck out: “Mother, I have made a decision, I will no longer be going to ballet (with this teacher). You can do what you want, feel free to use punishment, any punishment, I will take it in my stride, but I will not go. Please take me off the list”. Well, sh-t. Talk about 7 going on 17. Despite the fact that by defying me she has earned my respect (which I don’t think she needs to know about just yet), what is a parent meant to do with that??? Give up and to hell with everything (a lot) that’s been invested? Give up half way, before achieving what’s realistically possible? Give up because the child is a sensitive flower, and can I tell you how much I dislike this in personalities? Give up because in the face of perceived adversity she doesn't want to persevere? Nooooooo…
The thing is, if anyone caused harm, physical or verbal, to my child, I would scorch the Planet Earth and everyone on it myself. I don’t believe that shouting and pushing student’s physical boundaries is a bad thing. If shouting gets the job done, is that still wrong? When it’s literally bark and no bite, is that dangerous? Are there other methods to get a 7 yo do anything at all? I shout at home and it has close to zero effect on Baby (whatever). Yet, when it’s someone else’s harshness, she scrambles into a puny ball and cries. I mean proper cries. And it’s only Sofia, no other kid in her class.
That evening, I used every convincing explanation I was equipped with (equipped, as in, like, with machinery or heavy artillery or something): from “focus on your work, ignore the screaming” to “you will get used to it with time” to “there is no damage, shouting doesn’t hurt” to “why is no one else bothered by this?” and “when you’re so lucky to have a wonderful family, why are you focusing on what you dislike?”. That last one was a stretch.
But she threw grenades of her own, no need to worry: from “I will never understand, how you can look at me and not feel sorry for what I’m going through?” to “how do you not understand that I am different from (the) others?”. Bullseye.
What. Do. I. Do.