Beth started ballet in September of 2009, just a few months before her third birthday. My little girl was so excited to be dancing with the "big girls," and I remember that day very well. She was the tiniest and youngest girl in the class by a landslide, but she did such a good job!!! Since then, she's attended the same class at the same studio on the same day for about 3.5 years now, and danced in three full-scale productions. I have been so proud of my little ballerina!
But this little ballerina is growing up...
I've always wanted to let my kids choose what extra activities they want to be in, to support them in their choices but also make sure they're giving each activity a good effort before dropping out and moving on. Of course they're still little, but it was my goal to let them try out a lot of things while they're little so that they have a good idea of what's available to them. As we started this year of ballet, Beth was very excited because she was in class with one of her best friends, and starting class again signaled the end of a long (sort of boring) summer. Not even two weeks into it she started the familiar complaining that plagued us last year- she didn't want to go, she was bored, and it made her throat hurt (???). She'd start complaining over the weekend- every weekend- that she didn't want to go, but once we actually got there she'd have a great time. So we kept it up, partly because I thought she'd outgrow it and partly because I'd made a financial commitment! But it's been something I've been thinking about a lot, and she hasn't stopped complaining about not wanting to go, so we asked her if she wanted to stop. She said YES!
What other option do we have? We can continue to make her go against her wishes, but I don't think that's being very fair or respectful of her autonomy. As I've thought about it more, I've realized how she is driven by results- she wants to learn something new, practice it over and over again until she masters it- then move on to something new. I can't say that's an unfamiliar thing for me! Ballet is not that sort of thing for her- it's the same thing, year after year, and she just has to get better at it. While she's young, and at this studio at least, that's the way it goes. She's just bored.
It's important to us that she be involved in something physical, and since Ryan played soccer during his entire childhood, we are going to pursue a soccer team for her in January. She is INCREDIBLY excited about this, and I think she'll really enjoy it! I am a little sad to leave her ballet studio, her sweet teachers, and the friends we've made, but it's also a huge drive for us every week so I can't say I'll miss everything about it. ;-)
We're talking about other things she can be involved in next semester, and we're considering a few other things like an art class (she adores art), a science class (with her sweet friend), and/or piano lessons. We would love to do everything for her, but these things cost money!!! So we're not quite sure yet what's going to happen.
I took this video of her yesterday. She's been practicing, trying to learn how to do a headstand, for about a month now. She did it.
I'll miss watching her dance at the studio, but I know she'll continue to dance at home! I wonder what she'll think of to try next?