Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New beginnings

This last week marked the start of a new school year for Claire! In the weeks leading up to it she told me she was a little excited, but also a little nervous. When I asked her about what made her nervous she said singing the songs in front of everyone. I don't blame the gal, I hate singing in front of people too.

However, the first day of school she confidently walked into the familiar building, went straight to the toys, and acted like she was right at home. It did a mother's heart good.

After a little orientation the kids sang a few songs, and it was the moment of truth. At the beginning of the year they always do the "Name Song", where the teacher goes around singing "Whose name is ____?" and then the kid repeats back "My name is _____", and every few names everyone claps and sings "How do you do? How do you do?"

Last year Claire didn't sing her little solo part once. Not ever through the whole year. You couldn't bribe her to do it, and I think she was the only one that wouldn't. I didn't really worry about it though, because who wants to sing in front of other people all alone? Not me!

I knew they would sing the song again this year, but I didn't say a word about it to Claire because I didn't want her to feel pressured to give it a try. If singing made her too nervous, then so be it.

But as they went around the circle and the teacher pointed to Claire, for the first time ever she chirped out very quietly "My name is Claire!" and both the teachers cheered. In my heightened hormonal state, I nearly burst into tears. I was so proud of my tiny girl getting up the courage to try something that she admitted made her nervous. It was also a great lesson to me as a mother to remember sometimes to just take a step back and let my kids figure things out on their own and when they are ready. She didn't need me to encourage her or even say anything. She was willing to be brave all on her own. 

Just like last year, she loves preschool and is doing great. I think it will be a good year.

Also last week, Claire started taking a little dance class! I danced for 15 years and it was the joy of my life, so I may have been more excited than she was...But I was adamant about finding a class that was simple and low-key. Nothing high-pressure. I wanted one recital a year, no competitions, no crazy dance moms standing to the side wearing matching t-shirts. Just a place where she could have fun, get some exercise, and learn a little something about dance. Down the road, if she still loves it and has a talent for it then maybe we'll do something more intensive, but for the next few years I think an hour a week is plenty. I found the perfect little studio with a sweet teacher that is close to home, and I am thrilled.

Claire was a little more nervous for her dance class than she was for preschool, since it was a foreign environment. In fact, I couldn't even get her to turn around and face the camera for a picture.

However, she went in and participated a bit. Her teacher said she didn't cry, but Claire told me after that she "had tears that came out of her eyes for a minute". Either way, she did better than I did when I started dancing at that age. It was probably a good 3 weeks before my mom could even leave the room. She had to stand right next to me or I'd melt down into a ball of tearful anxiety. I wonder where Claire gets her nerves...?

This week though, she marched right in, took her shoes off, and went and sat on her little tape "x" on the floor, ready to go. Her teacher said she danced and was one of only two girls who were good listeners the whole hour.

This really is one of the best parts about parenting so far- seeing your little one overcome fears and anxieties on their own and learning and growing in the process. I've realized that as she takes those steps, that I'm overcoming my anxieties as a parent as well. I couldn't be more proud of my little girl who teaches me almost daily how to be brave.


Kateka said...

This is so darling. I absolutely adore that picture of her back. Completely precious.

Carina said...

So sweet! She is just a little you, Rachel!! :) Claire is so lucky to have such an understanding and loving mother. It is heartbreaking as a parent to see your child so nervous and uptight, but definitely rewarding when you see them trying their best in a difficult situation. What a sweetheart!!