Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Toddlers and Tutus

My daughter takes dance.  She loves it and I think it is fun, simple activity for her.  That is, until recital.   First it was the costume with matching accessories, then it was the "site fee", then it was the special tights, then the photography session, then the extra practices, the dress rehearsal, the stage decorating, the actual recital, and the reception afterwords in which parents are supposed to bring snacks.  And, from polling my mommy friends, this is a pretty "simple" recital, no multiple costume changes, no super-late performances, etc.  Still, I can't help but think, isn't this all a bit much for three year-olds?  Can't we just put them on the stage at the church where they take their lessons, invite family, and watch them dance their little blessed hearts out? 

Trust me when I say that on recital night, I will be there, tears in my eyes, blissfully thrilled to see her get up and dance...if she does, I mean, she's THREE, anything could trigger an urge to not cooperate.  I just think that as parents we sometimes make our kid's activities a bigger deal than they need to be.  They have years to stress about proms and cheer leading tryouts and things like that. 

Sometimes I just think we have lost our balance as parents.  There are the moms who are "un-schooling" and letting their children roam the planet without a shoe to their name (I mean, we wouldn't want to conform by protecting our children from tetanus), and then there are the moms who are treating every t-ball game and play date like its a measuring stick for life (win, learn, shine, make me the envy of every suburban housewife within hearing distance). 

So, I will go and watch this dance recital with my husband and my family.  I will cheer and clap (if that's allowed) and hug her proudly when she's finished, regardless of her "performance."  And, I will even sign her up for next year because I do think it's a good program.  But, I will also think "We could have had a cute recital in the church basement."  That's just how I roll, call me the "free range mama!"

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