The Short Person's World View (Again)

I cleared off Alexis' camera again, and as always, it was filled with photos of her favorite things.

Her Princess Jasmine doll

Darby, the dumbest thing to ever appear on-screen with Pooh

The pups

Meg's head

Cody's head (Anybody impressed I know which end that is? I kind of was.)

Daddy wearing the shirt Alexis bought him

Ze Boss

I see a Meg. I see a Cody. I see an Alexis. Yet, I have absolutely no idea what I'm looking at.

A random update on dance class: Words cannot even describe the amazing difference between Alexis one week ago and Alexis today. There was participation. There were smiles. There was chattering with the other kids in class. There was laughter. Most importantly, there was fun. So . . . uh . . . crap. Alexis really is letting her dislike for the regular teacher stop her from doing something she enjoys. C-R-A-P.


Heart-Shaped Sunglasses: Still Funny After Months of Wear


Her Owner's Manual Didn't Mention This One

About a month ago, Alexis graduated from her parent/child gymnastics class--a class she love-love-LOVED. She was never much into the actual gymnastics portion of the class, but the music and activities and running around and general chaos was something that she was really into. We had to figure out whether to continue with the same class, move her up to the next level of gymnastics (parent-free), or enroll her in a combination dance/gymnastics class (also parent-free).

The whole reason we started taking her in the first place was for her to have fun while she works on her shyness a little bit, so we knew it was time to move out of the parent/child classes. It was time for her to have some fun without a parent in the room to depend on. But then came the hard part--dance and gymnastics combo (30 mins of dance followed by 30 mins of gymnastics), or just gymnastics? I struggled with the choice for weeks, but then in a moment of brilliance, turned to Alexis and asked her what she wanted.

Dance. A very, very animated and excited vote for dance.

And so it was.

Week one went precisely as I expected--Alexis was hesitant to participate. She spent the entire first 30 minutes clinging to me and refusing to let me leave the room, but so did a couple of the other younger kids. Week two was better, and week three was even better than that. The gradual improvement was promising.

Then came week four.

That week, for some unknown reason, the teacher's assistant wasn't in the room with the class. The assistant had been Alexis' crutch--the adult in the room who occasionally reminded her to participate and distracted her from wondering where I had gone. Without her there, Alexis ended up collapsing into a pile of tears just as I broke out of my hiding place on the other side of the windows that surround the classroom. I took her out into the hall to calm her down. Between sobs, she wailed, "I wanna go hooooome."

It was heart-breaking, and so definitely not what I wanted to hear.

She continued with, "I don't like dance class" and "I wanna leave" and the tears. OMG, the tears.

Then came time for the gymnastics half of the class and she jumped right back on the train and was happy again.

I was confused. I could understood that she was more comfortable with the gymnastics half of the class because she's more accustomed to that room (they switch from a dance room to the same gym we were in last session at the halfway point), but I couldn't figure out how she could say that she doesn't like dance class. While she hasn't been the perfect little participant, she has been very carefully paying attention. The kid trounces around the house talking about ballet, doing ballet, and generally gushing about how much she loves ballet. There's much talk about first position and plies, and even though she doesn't always practice in class, she more than makes up for lost time once she gets home. The kid LOVES ballet.

It's been nearly a week since the total and complete breakdown, and I've been struggling trying to figure out what to do, if anything. I've been racking my brain trying to understand the obvious disconnect--how can a kid who loves to dance at home hate the class so much? I got my answer today, directly from the mouth of the confusing little one.

She doesn't like the teacher.

I have never heard Alexis say she doesn't like someone before.

In a way I can see why she doesn't like the teacher, but the teacher really isn't doing anything wrong. She just has a different personality from the other teachers at the place. I guess I would say that she's not as "warm." She is certainly nice, she is certainly professional, she is certainly qualified, and she certainly isn't having any problems with the other kids in the class. It's all Alexis. Alexis has apparently decided she doesn't like her, and is done giving her a chance.

The teacher is going to be gone for the next two weeks on a little vacation, so we'll be going to dance class this week as usual. I'm hoping she is more willing to participate with the not-liked teacher absent, but then what? When that teacher returns, will Alexis go back to hating the class? Should I just switch her to the all gymnastics class (with a teacher I know she likes) and be done with it? Or what?

And would moving her to a class with a different teacher just be caving to the shyness that she so badly needs to work on? Does it even matter, considering she's only three and has plenty of time to figure out that momma ain't always gonna bail her out?