I started Lily at a local dance school when she was just 18 months old. She was still rather wobbly on her chubby little legs, and she mainly just ran around in the opposite direction to everyone else, but she loved it. The dance routine was the same every week, in fact it’s still the same now. So the children get familiar with it, and despite them doing it every week it still brings big smiles to their faces. When I first walked in to dancing I didn’t really know what to expect. None of the other mum’s really spoke to me, and Lily was a lot younger than the other children there. I worried that she would be expected to do all the moves perfectly, or wouldn’t be allowed to run free at all. But thankfully I was wrong, whilst the other girls tip toed round the room with their fairy wings, Lily plodded around in her own little world taking it all in.
One section she didn’t like was one I hated myself as a child doing dancing- a solo bit. All the girls had to do was gallop around the room on their own whilst everyone else clapped, but for a lot of the girls, Lily included, they would ask for their mum to do it with them. As the weeks went by when the other girls started galloping on their own, Lily still clung to me and wanted me to do it with her. I felt like a bit of a failure, my child was obviously too clingy as she wouldn’t do what the other girls were doing. I would try and prepare her beforehand, even bribing with chocolate buttons, but still she wanted me to hold her hand. It was the lesson before the summer break last year that she suddenly decided she would go for it. As usual it came to her turn and as usual I said “Lily’s turn, off you go” not expecting anything other than her to grab my hand. But she didn’t- she did a tiny little gallop all by herself! Typical that it was before a massive break!
Except when we returned after summer she did it again! And each week thereafter that little gallop got bigger and more confident. I was so proud! It reassured me that Lily is no different to the other girls, she was younger when she started and she would get there but it may take some more time. Still, she stayed in the baby ballet class long after most of the other girls had moved up to the next class, where parents stayed outside. She still loved her ballet but it was clear she wanted me in with her. Then around 6 months ago Lily’s now best friend Lola joined the class. The two of them hit it off, and I did too with Lola’s mum and we went for some play dates. It was so nice to become friends with another mum, and for Lily to have a proper little friend at dancing. Each week they would want to be with each other in pairs which was lovely to see. Lily’s confidence grew even more and it was clear that the girls didn’t need us mum’s in there so much anymore- something I never thought would happen for Lily!
Just before Easter Lily’s teacher suggested all the girls (5 of them) come back after Easter and do the usual class but this time with us mum’s outside and the door closed! I felt a mixture of nervous but also excited about Lily growing in confidence! Lily has only ever been looked after by me, Joe, her grandparents or her uncles. She hasn’t been to nursery or ever left with anyone else, so it was daunting trusting someone else to look after her, especially in a class environment not one to one. She’s starting nursery in September however, so I thought it was be a good way to ease her in to being left with someone other than family.
Which brings me to yesterday. Yesterday was the first day back at dancing after Easter and I was worried as it had been 2 weeks since she’d been to dancing, a long time in a 2 year old’s life! I tried my best to prepare her, explaining mummy and Lola’s mummy would be sitting outside whilst she danced, and then she would get a treat for being a good girl. She seemed fine about it, until the day before when she started to say “I want mummy to come in too!”
Once we were there I led her by the hand in to the room and told her to “Have fun!” Before the door was shut in our nervous faces! We sat right outside, which in hindsight was perhaps a mistake as quite quickly we heard one of the girls crying- it was Lily, I know her cry. All my instincts told me to go in and give her a cuddle as I knew she just wanted me, but I wanted to give it a few minutes to see if she settled. Thankfully the crying stopped quickly so I remained seated, fiddling with a toy car nervously! The half an hour lesson seemed to take forever as we chatted trying to pass the time, but all worrying if our little girls were happy and having fun! Finally 10:00 struck and the door opened. Right at the front was Lily- beaming a massive smile, clutching sweeties and pretending to be a tiger!
I felt so relieved. The teacher explained that Lily cried a little bit at the start so they sat her on a chair to watch whilst the other girls did their solo gallops, but then Lily had her turn and joined in fine afterwards. I’m so happy that apart from the hiccup at the start it went well! Lily and I had a chat about it and she told me she cried because she wanted me, but we said how mummy was right outside and she still had lots of fun. She says she’s looking forward to dancing next week and we have given her so much fuss for being a clever girl and going in to the class on her own. I’m so proud of her, and of myself for being brave and not chickening out!
Do you take your children to dance classes? I’m always wondering why more boys don’t attend as there are none in Lily’s class! It’s done wonders for her confidence and all the while she’s happy doing dancing I want her to attend.