Thursday, September 27, 2007

update and dance class

No, we didn't fall off the face of the planet. I've just been too overwhelmed lately with holidays and being a (temporary) single mom to deal with anything aside from e-mail. Chris was on the other coast for a week and a half - poor guy spent the week eating at nice restaurants and seeing Monty Python's Spamalot on Broadway (OK, so he had to work long hours in Joisey, too - it wasn't all fun).

Everything fell apart while C was gone. The dishwasher's motor broke, the car's battery died, Eliza took my cell phone for a bath, there were tantrums aplenty, and I broke down so many times. On Tuesday at Balboa Park, I must have been sporting a neon "kick me when I'm down" sign on my forehead because two strangers insulted my parenting. The first comment was a sneering "some people don't care about their children's health" when that mom caught me giving Eliza a few sips of root beer (the first pop I've had in many, many months). The second came an hour later when Eliza had a meltdown, her screams echoing. An old lady spat at us, "You are a brat! And you are a bad mother!" Thanks, lady, that was really helpful. I can be glib about it now, but that really hurt me last week.

Eliza tried out dance class yesterday for the first time. The vegan (polished canvas) ballet slippers were still back-ordered in pink and in size 10, so I ordered white in 10½ and dyed them myself. They turned out a rose pink, not a muted ballet pink, but I'm just happy I didn't ruin them.

The dance studio is 1½ miles from our house, very close to the library. The receptionist suggested we try the "Mommy & Me" class on Wednesday morning. Since Eliza was old enough for both "Mommy & Me" (22 mo. - 3 years) and "Creative Dance" (3 - 5 years), I was worried that after we tried "Mommy & Me," they'd tell us to do "Creative Dance" instead because the latter is without parents. When Eliza tries something new, she's far more open, but once she experiences something/somewhere once, she gets it in her head that this is the only way it should be from now on and can't deal with changes. This particular class skewed toward the older side, so Eliza didn't stick out like a sore thumb. Although E was the tallest there, I suspect two or three of the girls are older based on appearance. It's not a baby class, as I thought it might be.

The instructor is Miss Carolyn. She's very energetic and warm, and I liked her immediately. The class includes a lot of dance (some choreographed, some free dance), of course, and there are a lot of games and much silliness involved. I heartily approved. Eliza was all grins during the group dances and games, but she got mildly upset when the attention was on her. Whenever Miss Carolyn asked her a question, Eliza would bury her face against me. Once, she mumbled a response ("purple") into my shoulder, which is actually a big deal for her, because I think that was the first time she has every responded to a stranger's question. Later, when each mother and daughter pair were to chassé across the floor, Eliza became very anxious and curled up in a ball on the floor and moaned twice, "Mommy, I want to go home." I whispered to her that she didn't have to do anything she didn't want to do. I told her we could go home if she wanted, but asked if she'd like to sit in the corner with me and watch (she did).

Then when Miss Carolyn brought out a box of frilly white "Sleeping Beauty skirts," Eliza's eyes got wide. She raced across the floor without me to get one. The "Sleeping Beauty" game involved lying on the floor pretending to sleep when the music was off and free dancing around the room when the music was on (repeat, and so on). When I saw the others moms getting up and joining in, I reluctantly got up (big/clumsy and dance don't mix), but Eliza barked at me from 20 feet away, "No, Mommy. You have to sit down!" and continued to twirl about the room. Everyone laughed, and Miss Carolyn said something to Eliza about being "Miss Independent" all of a sudden when minutes earlier she asked to go home.

One of the moms came up to me after class and said not to worry, that her daughter asked to go home more than twice in her first class. Miss Carolyn said that a few kids just sit against a wall refusing to participate for a month but eventfully join in, so she thought Eliza handled it well. Miss Carolyn asked Eliza if she'd see us next week. Eliza buried her head against my leg, but I told her that I would be happy to sign up E if that's what she wants, so I'm going to wait to see if she asks to return in the next week.


veganbaby said...

That is just so mean! Sorry you had such a bad day.
Dance class sounds like so much fun! Eliza is such a vibrant girl!

nina said...

I was starting to get worried. Things do really fall apart when the dh is away. I find it grueling to be a temporary single parent. You just can't get used to it.

Sorry about all the misfortune and especially those rude thoughtless people. The only consulation is that they felt bad later in the day for saying such a nasty thing. I rarely say mean things (even if I am thinking them) because I know I will feel terrible for doing so. Really it's a karma thing.

BTW, I sent Under the Chinaberry Tree back to you. I included a book for Eliza. If she already has it, I hope you can pass it on to a friend. I know kids can spend hours looking at the book.

Stay strong. Thanks for the update. I hope all is better soon.

Kate in NJ said...

((BIG HUGS)) I hope it's better now.
I always try to remind myself that some people are just having their own bad time and some people have never had the pleasure of the "joy" a small child brings into your life *grin*,
so they have no idea they all melt down sometimes.
Maybe you can find a cd or tape at your library with kids singing "happy birthday" so she can hear other kids singing to her.

Brit said...

The same thing happens when my DH is away, I spend the week dealing with unforseen problems, my own breakdowns, and suddenly the world seems to turn on me. I am so sorry about those horrible people saying things like that to you, I am always stunned when someone says something like that. What gives them the right? Hope things get better for you, and its nice to read about what you have been up to. BTW, what did you die the ballet shoes with??