By Diane Ako
Olivia is in jazz. She has a pretty spotty history of sticking with anything, and historically she has started to get tired of activities right around the three month mark.
We have tried gymnastics, swim team, hula, ballet, and now this. Previously, I've excused her short attention span as a function of age, and let it go.
Now, however, she is six, therefore aware enough to be able to strike deals with us, and old enough to have a longer attention span.
We only started this in October, so I'm still holding my breath that she won't get tired of it soon. However, so far, so good.
She has not complained about it yet, and has even had her first dance recital. Yes, though she was a late starter, she was included in the recital program, and had to try to keep up with the class.
Firstly, she is no child prodigy. She is across the board a normal, average kid on all counts. I do think she's a smart kid, but even at that, she's not some Adragon, child genius.
Secondly, she is not naturally outgoing. I see some of the children who smile brightly and shine on stage. She is not that person. She seems to shrink from too much attention, and will not perform well because she's so self-conscious.
Still, she is telling me she "loves" dance class so we'll go with that happily.
Every week, we take her to dance class and watch the routine. I video it. Once, I worked with her at home on a few steps, but I am no dancer myself.
The day of the recital, we arrived five hours early as requested for more rehearsals, took a break, then came back for costuming and slight makeup. Wow, am I ever on the mommy-track now. My entire Saturday day, consumed by Olivia's activity.
Dozens of people showed up for the show. The ratio of recording devices to bodies was 1:2. Claus and I both recorded the show when her segment came on.
She did better than we expected, maybe because the reality of it sank in and inspired her to want to do better. Maybe it's the pretty dress and lipstick that made it more exciting. She said she had fun, and that's all that matters.
We liked it too, and then all the families shared a potluck lunch. It was really nice.
Might I have a budding dancer? Maybe, and that's a fun thought. I would just like her to find a hobby she can develop a passion for, that will give her happiness for life.
If she starts complaining about this, what do I do? Do I force her to stick through a certain short period of time (like the rest of the semester's paid lessons), or do I insist she go for a full year to give it a fair chance?