Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wild Thing

...."His mother called him Wild Thing!".. .and he was sent to bed without eating anything." ***

Our 5 year old is currently spending the evening in her room, because she was just kicked out of Ballet school.

(Now, 5 year olds getting kicked out of ballet school is a little ridiculous, I know. Like how hard is it to keep 5 little kids in a straight line? Not THAT hard, I know from 15 years experience. But... anyway.)

Her spending an hour in her room isn't really teaching her anything, but it is giving me time to collect my thoughts and compose myself. Because getting told by an irate ballet instructor that your daughter can't come back is pretty much the most embarrassing thing that can happen to a Mom.  And the embarrassment - fear- shame - fury- cycle does not lead to good parenting.

I know from experience.

My daughter is having a hard time with rules and school and expectations. This is not a huge surprise.... she has always been a strong willed, energetic child. Now she's a strong willed, energetic child in Kindergarten, Afterschool, and Ballet class. And all of those places have reported this week, to various degrees,  dissatisfaction with her behavior.

"She doesn't listen!" "She's all over the place!" "I had to separate her from the group!" are common phrases from the past week's conversations with teachers, coaches and Ballet mistresses. And I, red faced with embarrassment, say, "I'm sorry. I know. I'll speak to her." because there is really nothing I can say that will assuage their anger and frustration.  Then I get in the car and compose myself yell at my daughter while trying to not run into trees.

So here is what I would say to Lily's teachers, if I could manage to remain composed and stay out of the shame spiral during these conversations.

"Our daughter is a strong willed, independent and very intelligent person. She does not follow rules because they are rules. She will obey the rules only if she sees that as the best option. She views instructions as optional, and commands as suggestions. She respects people who are consistent, smart, loving and who display special talents. She has no regard for titles. "The Principal" means nothing to her.  She values creativity, smarts and quickness over diligence and hard work. She very quickly learns which adults are not going to follow through.  She will see through your fake threats in a second. She can make herself cry real tears on command. She would win Oscars for her performances.  If there is an opportunity for mischief, she will take it, and she will take anyone around her who is willing with her. She is a leader, and loves an audience. If there is an opportunity to take the stage, she will. Even if that stage is the classroom/hallway/sidewalk. She knows she's adorable and she uses that to her advantage.

Our daughter has great capacity for empathy and kindness. She has know deep physical suffering in her little life, and she is very attuned to other's physical pain. She has a fascination with people, with the human body and with Life. She will ask the most amazing questions and come up with hilarious, imaginative stories. She can weave quite a tale. She is devoted to her family and to her closest friends. She values connection and communication above all else.

Our daughter is going to be an awesome adult. She is going to take the world (whatever corner of it she finds herself) by storm. I pray every day that she learns the value of hard work; because although her beauty and brains will take her pretty far, she will need to strive for true success.  She's going to be a leader. She's not going to let anyone get in her way or hurt her. She's going to be generous with her talents and find a spotlight to sing in. I pray every day that she learns the value of kindness. I pray every day that she will learn to live up to her namesake "Patience".

Until then, we must have patience with her, because amazing, strong-willed women start out as strong-willed, disobedient and challenging girls.

*** In an amazing coincidence, Where the Wild Things Are was in her book baggie the next night!


  1. I loved reading this. It describes my 3.5 year old daughter. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you! I sure your beautiful daughter is amazing!


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