08 May, 2007

Raising a Diva

Diva: "It isn't fair"
"What isn't fair" We are walking to a coffee house after her performance (dance)
"L got a decorated shoe and I didn't"
"You wanted an old smelling dance shoe that they had decorated?"
"And she got three bouquets of flowers while I only got two!"
And now we have hit the issue itself... she didn't get the same amount of bouquets.

After months of taking her to rehersals and a weekend of performances, I was exhausted and was ready to go to bed and forget about dance for a few days. The last thing I wanted to hear was whining about only receiving 2 bouquets of flowers. Poor girl!

When she started dancing, she was good. Then she entered a phase in which she found her comfort zone in the middle of the class. She was good, but in her mind, she was comfortable being in the middle. Then a mom told her that yes, she is really good. Sigh, that was about 2 months ago and life has not been the same. For the most part, the changes have been good in that she has a new sense of confidence - she wants to dance; loves to dance; and now she believes she can (once again).

Now she must learn to dance for the love of dancing and not for the gifts that she may or may not receive from her adoring audience!

I have a feeling that this will be a difficult lesson from time to time. She is not a selfish kid. She is an only child and yet, she shares to the point that she will give another what she wants rather than being selfish. She doesn't go to stores and say "I want" but rather looks for me or for others. This is changing a bit but not that much.

Watching her around other kids has always been interesting. She is confident in who she is and what she can do, but she will do what she can to make others feel as if they are doing amazing things too (whether they are or not... and whether she is or not). And this was carried into her dance class; comfortable being in the middle; not comfortable in the spotlight because she is "better" than anyone else.

I relayed the conversation to X. He laughed to himself. You were worried about her confidence and that she didn't recognize or believe that she was good even though she is. And now - she is acting like a diva.

It is kind of funny. In an attempt to encourage and help develop her confidence, I assisted in the creation of a monster! (total exaggeration)

Back to the walk - As we walked we talked. I explained that if she wants to dance and dance well, she needs to dance because she loves it. Her focus and her heart need to be about the dancing not the gifts. The reward is the feeling that she has when she hears the music and becomes a part of it.

It is a challenging concept, and one that adults often need to remember as well, but I think, for now, she gets it. After all, she isn't a selfish kid at heart anyway.

But, as good parents, X and I are going to further this idea by doing a single bouquet in future and something else as a "job well done" pat on the back - like a gift certificate to her favorite rock climbing gym.

Ten years ago I never would have believed that I am potentially the mother of a upcoming diva, sigh. Just goes to show that you never know what turns life will take.


Eric said...

Just goes to show that you never know what turns life will take.

Very, very true...

Have the T-Shirt said...

She sounds precious and it sounds like you'll knock that tiny bit of diva right out of her :)

cathouse teri said...

I once read this great truism:

"Before I had children, I had six theories about raising children. Now I have six children and no theories."

I believe that mothers are like Dr. Frankenstein. (That's Fronkenshteen!) We start out trying to make the perfect human, and wind up making a monster!

Anonymous said...

This totally reminded me of my formative ballet years... there were five of them. Very, very ungraceful years for me. Whatever skills I picked up though translated very well into my martial arts career a decade later :)

I have a half-brother who's just turning 11 this year. I think this is the age when kids pick up vanity. (All the sudden he's very concerned about his hair-do!)

The Exception said...

Teri - I love that quote and can relate 100%!

T-Shirt - Once a diva always a diva. Her instructor was a prima... and still is!

KitLiz - Dance is so good for so many different things. It is a great foundation. The flower thing surprised me as this is a kid who doesn't care how she looks, about combing her hair, and more than one gift at Christmas (all of this will probably change). When she dances, she glows. It is truly "her" thing!