For Kaylee’s last birthday we decided that rather than throwing her a birthday party we would buy her tickets to the Disney Live show that was in town. We figured she would love that since there would be singing, and dancing, and of course lots and lots of princesses. And at first it seemed that we had made the right choice. She got to get all dressed up in one of her princess dresses, she had new shoes and new tights for the occasion, everything to make her feel like a princess herself.
What we didn’t count on was near the end of the show Mickey Mouse called for all of the princesses to come up on the stage. Now, he meant all of the princesses who had been in the show. Kaylee, feeling like a princess herself, thought that he meant her as well. And boy was she mad as hornets when we wouldn’t let her go up on stage and dance with the other princesses.
At the time we didn’t think too much of it. After all we could understand her point of view. Here she was dressed up like a princess, and they were calling for all the princesses on stage. To her 4 year old mind it made all the sense in the world that that should include her.
Months later we took the kids to the circus. The last place in the universe that I would have expected to run into a very similar situation again, but that is exactly what happened. We’d gotten to the circus somewhat early to ensure that we could get the seats that we wanted because we only had general admission tickets. To help pass the time we’d bought the kids a small snack, but the snacks were long gone and the kids were getting somewhat restless waiting for the show to begin. Kaylee, who had been sitting in her own seat, was now ranging back and forth between sitting on my lap and trying to climb over me into the aisle.
Finally the lights dimmed and the Ringmaster came into the center ring. That thankfully got the kids attention. Things were going fine for a little while, Kaylee was sitting nicely on my lap watching the show without too much fidgeting. Then the ringmaster said something, and I can’t remember exactly how it goes, but its something to the effect of the circus welcomes boys and girls, and children of all ages. It’s the same line I’ve heard at every circus my entire life. Basically summarizing that the circus is the oldest form of entertainment still around today.
Kaylee, however, chose to hear something very different. I’m not sure what she thought she heard but she insisted that those words meant that she was being called down onto the circus floor to perform. I tried to tell her that no, that was NOT what they meant, and she turned to look at me like I was a complete moron. She says, “but mommy, I am a girl and 4 is an age, so they are calling for me.” Finally I had to be firm with her that she could not go down and perform with the circus. She was crabby and miserable through the rest of the performance. She absolutely could not understand why in the world I never let her go on stage.
It has become crystal clear that this child is meant to be a performer. We had not intended to enroll her into any activities at this age because we had been burned before by both boys. Brendan did soccer at 4 and it was a joke. A fight to go, a fight to play, and a fight to leave. Cameron took ice skating lessons at 3 and he spent over half of the sessions sitting on the benches instead of out on the ice. We swore we wouldn’t enroll Kaylee into any activities until she was a minimum of 5 years old. There seemed to be no point in wasting money on an activity that obviously she was too young to handle. Why it took us until our third child to realize that is beyond me.
But now here we are with a 4 year old again, and while I wouldn’t run out and enroll her in soccer or ice skating tomorrow I do think she, unlike the boys, is ready for an activity at this age. The first thing that clued me in to that was the fact that she’s so eager and anxious to go and perform on stage. The boys were much more content to sit around at home. Second, we enrolled her in swimming lessons recently and she took to it like a fish to water. Her smile was so big that I could see it from clear across the pool deck, and she giggled loud enough for the entire complex to hear. I don’t think we will have any issues getting her to participate in swimming. Last, she’s constantly singing, dancing, and climbing on everything like a monkey at home. And I mean non-stop. We’ve been debating for a while whether to enroll her into dance or into gymnastics. I think she’d do well in either one. But she has her heart set on doing ballet.
I finally broke down about a month ago and started looking into different dance studios. I got recommendations from a friend of mine who danced herself for years, and from Matt’s sister who recently went through a dance company with my niece. Both places had their merits but we hadn’t really settled on going to one over the other. Then a few days ago Matt’s sister contacted me again and told me about a deal where Kaylee can try out 5 ballet lessons for $20. I jumped right on it. Part of the reason we had not committed to anything yet is because the cost of dance for girls is outrageous, and we were really concerned about paying all that money to have her pull the same stunt the boys did and not participate after the first couple lessons. At least this way I know if she is really into after 5 lessons that there is a good chance she might just stick with it for a little while.
Any way you look at it, the time has come to get this little girl onto center stage.