Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pho-shizzz

waiting

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY hate the end-of-year dance class extravagance.

$400 worth of despise:

Starting with $37 a month, including months containing two or fewer classes.

A $50 recital costume.

Having to pay $65 for four tickets to attend the recital (because it was booked at a professional performance space).

A mandate that five-year-olds to wear make-up ... "the lights will wash them out."

Dinner-time performance scheduled for preschoolers.

Not to mention that every minute of every class since February being entirely focused on "getting it right for recital,"

Which often forced the cajoling my wee one to actually participate after she lost interest.

AND THEN THE INSULT TO THE INJURY .... $18 + $7 shipping and handling for one 5x7 PROFESSIONAL PORTRAIT(TM) of the class (not to mention being told by a puckered-face woman that the pictures are copyrighted so I can't snap the action, too, even after I paid their highway robbery, no-customer-service, prices.) I hate the business model that demands parents herd their kids into a room and pay gobs of money for pictures, sight unseen, to arrive in six to eight weeks.

But the real end of my rope came as I was running around like crazy person trying (and failing) to find nude-colored tights, a mandate for the dancewear that was not included WITH the $50 dancewear.

I practically broke down in tears when the husband, trying to be helpful, asked if I'd gone to WAL-MART. "I do NOT spend money at WAL-MART ... I'm NOT breaking THAT principal, too."

"OK ... Ok ...." came his soothing voice over the phone, evidence I'd gone too far; lost my moorings. I'd haplessly fallen over the edge of reason over sheer hose.

Much ado about nothing. Much ado over something that should just be fun. Something that no matter how it is presented, encourages the arts.

It wasn't the tights but my overall failure that I was lamenting.

My failure to find a class that met my desires for less consumerism. My failure to stand up and assert those values anyway. My insistence she continue when her interest waned. All the while feeling the emphasis was on the wrong place - the recital not the art.

My failure continues as I recognize that the trappings at the conclusion were the ONLY part my daughter had any interest in after all these months: Having her picture taken in the dress and the chance at being on a real stage was poking me in the chest with my inability to NOT buck trends.

Still reading?

Sorry. I have no excuse.

I knew it would be this way. I knew as they scheduled the circus, I was going to be playing an angry clown.

I'm just utterly stunned and shocked by my own rage and stubbornness when it finally came to pass.

Can't just keep my mouth shut and smile. I know when the lights go down and the girls start their performances I will be just as proud as a parent can be.

And then a friend told me something that made it all fit together.

"Let your principles be a guide, not a shackle."

So easy to forget that, isn't it?

When we enslave our "principles" we really run the risk of becoming unprincipled.

I had said that I didn't want THIS to be our experience. And it won't be if I don't let my priciples petrify. If I don't shut down and fold my arms to other possibilites.

... I just hope it's the dance that will be the reason she'll want to continue in six to eight weeks (if she chooses to continue) ... not just to see her picture on the wall.

15 comments:

Mommy Project said...

Our experience with dance class was much the same - except we had 2 daughters in class (different age groups). So, if we wanted our girls to be able to sit with us when they weren't performing (instead of, I don't know, waiting out on the street) we would have to buy each of them a "ticket" as well.

I think we are signing them up for soccer next time around.

("Professional Portrait" TM. = my laugh for the morning).

christine said...

And I thought I was the only one...
I could easily pick up where you left off, and rail about why every activity that kids do has to be such a big hairy deal, with expensive wardrobes and trophies and bouquets and banquets and professional photos (TM!)...but I won't. ;)
A parent could be excused for losing sight of the real goal in the midst of all of that. And a little girl is always going to be entranced by the fancy dress & trappings. Call it learning, or something else, but not failure!

Xdm said...

I'm sort of happy that right now, it looks like Lulu will be a pro wrestler. Oh Boy! Let's think of a name for her.. how about "The Lu-minator!" Stretchy satin masks are cheaper than tutus.

toyfoto said...

Awwww. ... Lu-minator! I LOVE it.
I have some luchadore masks, too X. Perhaps, if we do this again, I can convince the teacher to do an ode to lucha libre in tap shoes.

Virtual Memory Archive said...

Wow, that's an incredible story -- incredible because it sounds like such an expensive hassle, and because it's the norm! Glad I've saved us all the headaches. My DD loves to dance but refuses to wear tights, so no dance classes for her. She's only 3 and I don't know why she can't go in sweats, but even the more "relaxed" classes want the little girls in tights. So, no to dance class and yes to donning tutus over our jeans and dancing at home whenever the spirit moves us!

toyfoto said...

VMA, Ittybit rarely wears the "normal" clothes to dance class. Sometimes she wears a bathing suit over stretchy pants ... sometimes (lately) she's worn shorts and t-shirts.

To their credit, no one has said a peep againt her "flair."

jenB said...

I guess never say never is what we should all say. :-) I have said never, but seeing Anabelle, oh, I want too!!! I feel we should expand her horizons beyond Sponge Bob.

Kcoz said...

I use to video tape these things along with school plays..ect.

I'd go the extra mile and get some behind the scenes footage to add at the end of the tape/DVD. I distinctly remember the older dancers being more nervous than the younger ones. I guess it was more like, "Just another game", to them.

Later...

toyfoto said...

Interesting kcoz. I was a little concerned about Annabel and nerves. She's not what I would call a nervous kid, but she has had episodes that have surprised us. ... that horrible first dentist appointment for example.

A day before her preschool graduation she asked me if I would get mad if she threw up in the car. I felt her forhead and asked if she felt sick and she said no, but that she was nervous about messing up her graduation.

I told her she shouldn't worry and that I'd bring extra clothes in case something happened. I didn't know if that would help or not ... I know sometimes it's hard to believe people when they tell you it will all work out fine, but she seemed fine after that.

heather k said...

As a former dancer, I have chosen not have Tessa participate in that madness........Its crazy and not really what dance is supposed to be......if you were ever wanting to check out decent dance for kids I would check out EBA in albany ......but thats way to far for you guys......that bites big time and i would do ice skating instead.........

toyfoto said...

I did check out eba, Heather, and I LOVE the program. I have always loved Maude Baum's work in the community and in the schools. If eba had Saturday programs I would make the effort.

juliekintaiwan said...

I feel sorry for all the trouble the hassle has caused. Jaylene loves her very mellow, low key hip hop class but at the recital we saw kids dancing out gang fight killings and doing moves that no little girl should do. Jaylene's class doesn't do that - now - but who knows about the future. So we've decided no more hip hop, but Jaylene has her heart set on it next september. Perhaps she'll forget about it over the summer.

xdm said...

The Lu-minator! She'll brighten your day... with a Flying Frankensteiner!

toyfoto said...

Sounds like a great Halloween theme at one of those Earthy-cruncy-new-age-y schools.

Never That Easy said...

I'm catching up on my feedreader (hence the late comment), but as a former dancer, I just wanted to say that I never knew about any of that other stuff, when I was really little. And when I got older, I was so much in love with dancing that it didn't matter. I'd work an extra job to take an extra class or to afford that extra costume. I realize now how much my parents had to put into all those classes and pictures and performances, and I can only be grateful that they helped me find something that meant so much to me.

You'll know, she'll LET you know, if it's worth it, as time goes on. (IMHO)