Monday, November 16, 2015

Ballet Stories

Raphaela, for the second year, has a ballet lesson every Sunday night for 50 minutes, during which time I put in my earphones and listen to music, and/or bring a good book; I rarely have that amount of time to myself just to read.

This week, as I sat trying to read, a little girl was there with her teenage brother. 

She wanted ice cream.

Her brother called their mother and asked if he was allowed to buy her the treat, and the answer was no.

The little girl started screeching at the top of her lungs.  I moved further down the hall, trying to find a slightly quieter place to enjoy my book, but I could not escape the horrendous noise coming out of her mouth.

The screaming went on for five minutes, and her brother thought it was funny.  The screaming went on for another five minutes and despite all my proper New England upbringing, I walked over to this spoiled child and her big brother, I went down to the floor where she was flailing and looked her straight in the eyes and said in a kind and yet forceful tone:  "Sweetheart, you are not getting the ice cream. You are NOT getting what you want just because you are throwing a tantrum."

Then I got up from the floor, looked at this teenage boy and said, "I think it is time to take her home, don't you?"  He had to physically lift her off the floor and carry her out of the doors of the dance school, as she continued to wail.

I have said before that there is a certain level of tolerable rudeness in Israel, the One-Big-Family Approach that says that a stranger feels absolutely free to tell you how to parent your child.  In the past I have resented it, and yet last night I could not help myself.  Several other parents sitting in the area thanked me afterwards.

Post script:  I have also said before that I am giving Raphaela the things that bring her joy and help her fulfill her potential, without the pressure to live up to unreasonable expectations.

At the end of her lesson, they invited the parents into the studio to watch a little dance number, and of the large group, four girls were singled out as having done better/more coordinated/more graceful work.  Raphaela was not one of them, and I must admit that it made me a little sad, though I did not express any disappointment to Raphaela.

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