(Click here – My prodigy is the mannequin…2nd from the left, you cant miss her!)
They say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. I interpret that to mean our offspring are going to be a lot like us, which can be both good and bad. A blessing and a curse But at least we always know what to expect, right?
Sometimes the apple falls from the tree and rolls around a bit.
Suffice it to say, children can be weird.
Mine could be. Still can be. And yours probably can be too.
And now my children’s children are acting a little weird.
I was reading a popular contemporary author recently who was suggesting how gratifying it should be for parents when their children disappoint them. And while I do understand her greater meaning on a macro level, when you’re wallowing around in that particular moment in the trenches of parenthood with your child, this message can be awfully hard to latch onto and embrace.
Like this past Saturday at my granddaughter’s Christmas dance recital. Allow me to elucidate…
My 2 year old granddaughter participates in a toddler dance class at her daycare. Now, reasonable people that we are, we don’t take this terribly seriously. She’s simply enrolled so that she can enjoy the experience with her classmates, get a little exercise and, naturally, we get a real kick out of her enthusiasm when she comes home and demonstrates her “dance moves.”
The fact that one of her aunts danced professionally has absolutely no bearing on any of this and we are not grooming her to follow in her Auntie’s footsteps. I swear. (sort’ve) And after Saturday’s debacle, we definitely aren’t. More on that in a minute.
Thus far she’s been really excited about the class and expressing her gigantic 2 year old emotions through the art of dance. She has been jabbering on and on about the recital for weeks now. How “everyone” was going to come “watch her dance!”
This child is a serious ham. Attention-lover extraordinaire. I’m not exaggerating. At Thanksgiving we could barely get her off the table. Okay, I admit, I moved a miniature Christmas tree so she could dance on the table for our post-dining amusement, but then it proved quite difficult to get her off the table when her parents decided it was time to go home.
Fast forward a few weeks to recital day. We all met at the auditorium. Parents, siblings and grandparents en force. We had gifts and bouquets of flowers. She arrived festooned in her $90 recital ensemble encrusted with more sequins than one of The Rockettes in The Macy’s Day Parade.
You could cut the excitement and enthusiasm with a knife, so palpable it was. Everyone was jacked up on the fumes of anticipation. Except for…you guessed it…our little table-dancer. It seemed she had experienced a sudden change of heart. It seemed she had quite lost her fervor for performing, preferring instead to nestle in her mother’s arms.
At one point she climbed in my lap, inclined her head toward the stage like a tiny sparkly dictator and commanded, “I want Grandma Lay-Lay to go up there and dance!”
I knew exactly what she was thinking, ‘With a name like Lay-Lay, you’ve gotta be good!’ Of course she would envision me as a stage performer. (And trust me, I’m no stranger to the dance floor. I came of age in the Disco Era, mind you. And if they’d lay a little BeeGees down, well…GAME ON!!!). But being the good grandmother, I sweetly said, “I don’t think they’ll let Lay-Lay go up there Honey. Besides, I don’t even have a pretty costume like you do. Why don’t you do it and Lay-Lay will give you $5!” (I’m also no stranger to the art of bribery.)
So she allowed me tote her up onto the stage.
Where she stood.
I mean to say this child
I’m not exaggerating when I say she could beef up her college fund by posing in shop windows as a live mannequin. Such was her gift for stillness.
Anyway, as silly as it may sound, we were all way more bummed than I’d care to admit. Obviously we thought we were at the premier of A Star is Born. One can dream, right? She certainly bragged enough about it. I was reminded of the book I had just read and the author who advised at how overjoyed we should all be to be mislead/literally lied to for weeks by a small child who made big promises she had zero intentions of delivering.
Later that night, when my daughter asked her why she didn’t dance, she answered,
“Because my friends were dancing!” I’ve given up trying to get inside her tiny brain, but it seems like a valiant spin job to me. Was she actually implying that she didn’t wish to steal the spotlight from her classmates? Law school anyone?
By now you’re all probably wondering if I gave her the $5? Hell yeah I did. Because if that little apple rolls back under that tree like it’s starting to sound like it might, she will grow up and sue me for the $5, plus back-interest and punitive damages and I’ll owe her somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000.
So I coughed up a 5-spot and am eagerly awaiting my other daughter’s daughter’s recital…but we can barely get that little apple to break a smile for the camera. So we are discouraged and disappointed by our pretty little liars in oh-the-most-joyful-of-ways!