Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dancing Dream Delayed

One of the crappiest things about our move to Fayetteville, NC is that even after nine years of being here, we pretty much live in a vacuum. We have no friends or family nearby; our big outing is going to church (nearly) every Sunday.

And the crappiest part about that, is our daughter, Mariel, is growing up in this vacuum. She does OK in the nursery on Sundays, but there are no play dates, no friends and no cousins nearby.

We had been thinking about enrolling her in a three-day-a-week preschool, so she could be around other children and have some variety to her daily activities. Michelle had a real promising program all lined up, but then the car repair expenses dealt a mortal blow to the ol' budget for such things.

Michelle put forth the proposition, "Well, if preschool three times a week is out of the question, then how about enrolling her in a weekly preschool dance class?"

Mariel's godmother "Aunt Denise" insisted on paying for the dance class stuff. It turns out that Denise's godmother had paid for her dance classes 'way back when, and she was anxious to carry on the tradition.

Sounded reasonable to me.

Mommy went about checking out the local dance studios to see which ones offered a preschool-age appropriate class. After much calling around and a few visitations, she settled on a local dance academy and went about enrolling the wee one in their program. Mariel would be in a small group of about eight other tots.

Then came the shopping expedition to buy the requisite tights, leotards, tu-tus, ballet slippers and tap shoes. As much as my wife dislikes shopping, she was able to score everything but the tap shoes prior to Mariel's first class. The errant tappers were back-ordered from the local dance supply house.

Mariel's first class rolled around amid great expectations from both Mother and student.

Things, unfortunately, did not go well at the first session.

Mommy had to wait outside of the classroom during the lesson.

Mariel didn't quite "get" that she was supposed to pay attention to the teacher. Apparently she was more mesmerized by the wall of mirrors.

When it came time to change into her tap shoes she was SOL. Michelle had told the teacher about the back-order and suggested that Mariel should keep her ballet slippers on for the whole class. Didn't happen.

Mariel was at a loss as to how to change into shoes that she didn't have. Mind you, at her age, she's not much on changing shoes anyway. She ended up doing the last half of the session without any shoes on. The feet of her new, white leotards became very, very dirty.

The icing on the cake came when someone walked off with her ballet slippers!

"Oh, I'm sure whoever did it will return them once they realize their mistake," the teacher reassured Mommy.

Mommy was not happy with the way the first class went. Not only did Mariel not listen to the instructor, but she ruined her tights and her only pair of dance shoes went missing.

This past weekend the back-ordered tap shoes came in and Michelle and Mariel went to the dance supply store to pick them up. They also bought a zippered bag to tote the shoes around in.

Class #2 was held this morning.

The errant ballet slippers were not returned.

Mariel was even less receptive to instruction than she was the week before. In fact, I understand she was downright disruptive. She's been screaming lately when she gets frustrated and we're trying to break her of this proclivity. (Any suggestions?)

The instructor took Michelle aside after class and suggested that perhaps Mariel just wasn't ready for dance class. Maybe in a year or two, she'll be able to listen better and work better in a group.

I guess I'd have to agree with her assessment.

But I look at it this way; for the price of some dancing supplies and two lessons we bought us a million dollars worth of aggravation!
OOPS! I probably should have mentioned that none of the children pictured, above, are my daughter!
(Though some bear a strinking resemblance!)Here is Mariel, in happier times!


Blogger Gale said...

I had a screamer and pretty much ended up missing out on Sunday get togethers, parades. You name a gathering we left it midway through. No advice sorry.

September 18, 2007 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As U an the aforementioned aunt who paid for Denise's dance lessons for a year, you know what my suggestion is. Get your A...s back home, PRONTO!

September 18, 2007 4:01 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Oh Craig, that's sounds so frustrating! Are there any library run programs for your daughter to attend? (Ours has some evening programmes for families to attend.) Maybe a dance program at a community centre in lieu of a "dance studio?"

We keep our offspring's things labeled with Mabel's Labels so that people will at least be aware they've thefted a little girl of her things. Of course, I sell them too, so we always have some around!

Better luck next time!

September 18, 2007 6:43 PM  
Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

I'm so sorry Craig. It's sad enough that you feel like you and your wife live in a vacuum, but Mariel too...

I have no kids but might have some advice. It's what my Mom did to me to get me to stop my temper tantrums. It may or may not work in your situation.

One day I threw myself on the floor to pitch my screaming fit. My Mom walked out of the room so as not to give pay any attention to my behavior. I of course would not be ignored and followed her to the next room and promptly re-pitched my fit. My Mother then threw herself on the floor and starting behaving exactly like I was. According to her I sat up, looked at her like she was nuts, and never did it again. She used the same technique on my sister but it took a few times with her.

September 18, 2007 11:03 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

gale: No advice? That's OK, misery loves company.

anonymous: What are you trying to say, here?

lee: Oh, Mariel's name was inside the shoes, Michelle saw to that! Have I ever mentioned I'm currently working for a label manufacturer?

Whim: I've done both of the things your Mom did, after a fashion.

I tune out her tantrums, so she'll learn that they're ineffective with Daddy.

One time, after she pitched a screaming fit at a store's parking lot, I screamed the same sound right back at her. She was upset, and got teary-eyed, but she seemed to understand that having someone screaming at you was a bad thing. She actually sobbed out, "I'm sorry, Daddy." (I felt kinda bad about it, truth be told...)

Of course, none of this works in the situation Michelle found herself in.

We'll keep trying stuff, though...

September 19, 2007 9:17 AM  
Blogger furiousBall said...

#1 Mariel is so beautiful, what a great smile.

#2 I did the same with my tut tu.

September 19, 2007 10:23 AM  
Blogger Allan said...

Sorry to hear about the vacuum, slipper-stealing and screaming. Wish I had some advice- I think my parents blew dope smoke on us and/or slipped us 'Mickey Finns'...I don't recommend that at all.

September 19, 2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Fayetteville? Really? Why didn't I notice before that you live in Fayetteville? Excellent. I like North Carolina.

And sorry the dance class didn't quite work out. So that means she'll wind up a world famous dancer when she grows up.

September 20, 2007 1:10 AM  
Blogger DirkStar said...

I'd say this is a super sized order of cute with a side order of adorable.

Sweet photos...

September 20, 2007 11:09 AM  
Blogger DirkStar said...

Uh, have you tried either the gypsy thing or Inspector Gadget?

McGruff the Crime dog?

September 20, 2007 11:11 AM  
Blogger Craig D said...

dirk: What does Micah think about dating "older women?"

dorky dad: I visited Mpls about 20 years ago. I liked what I saw. I'm 50% Norse, on my Mother's side.

allan: Bong hits! I think I'd wait until the kid was in bed, though. Yeah, Daddy's a bogart!

all: We're looking into the local kindermusik program. Looks to be a little more Mariel-friendly. I've downloaded their "one free preview class" coupon and 4 sample mp3s. We'll see if anything comes of it.

September 20, 2007 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have to first know the intent of the action of the child. if the tantrum is planned by the child to get his/her way having a tantrum yourself will take the tantrums power from the child-if the child is truly frustrated then this is one of many opportunities to help your child learn to deal with anger."be angry, and sin not"i found with my son placing my hand on his shoulder,taking a deep breath and thinking happy thoughts seemed to somehow transfer to him.in time his frustration improved.Mariel might like softball better.

September 20, 2007 9:18 PM  
Blogger AngelConradie said...

aaawww, poor baby! i'm sorry it didn't go too well... i hate parents who don't return things that don't belong to their kidlets!

September 24, 2007 3:19 PM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

whoo-eee, that brings back memories. Well, for what it's worth, her independent handling of dance class will probably turn out to be some of you all's best memories. Get lots of pics. Screaming and all. Seriously.

I (and my mom) did Whim's suggestion of the screaming with them. My mom also threw cold water on me once, with no warning. Not saying I condone that, but apparently it was the last time my stubborn behind pulled the screaming thing on my mom. I think I blocked it out.

I'd be glad about her not Stepford Wifing it into the dance class deal. Teen Demon was like that as a young one (although she did happen to love dance class), and she is one hell of a young lady at 18.

September 30, 2007 4:43 AM  
Blogger JM Dobies said...

I relate only too well to "we pretty much live in a vacuum. We have no friends or family nearby; our big outing is going to church (nearly) every Sunday."

That sounds so much like our St. Augustine experience, minus th friendship of my producer and his colonic-givin' wife.

Enjoying the blog...

October 02, 2007 5:54 PM  

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