I'm going to out myself as a Tiger Mom so put on your best judgey pants and get ready for a party! I'm a German lady, so instead of the terse uber-coaching the Chinese employ, harping on my kid involves the authorities, in this case, our new ballet teacher.
Unbeknownst to me, the first ballet school we sent Bee was for professionals-in-the-making. Half of the lessons were in French and although the school was grimy and hot, it was a place where DREAMS and SWEAT and COMPETITION chewed up the new recruits, including the two-year-olds. Bee was thrust in a class of kids so intent on being the next Black Swan that their parents would pay hundos to dance them around like marionettes as soon as they could walk. It was kind of intense for us.
Then Bee's cool teacher quit and all that was left was someone who took dance more seriously than a breast lump. Adagio! Chasse-chasse-chasse! We were all, "huh?" so we left that school in pursuit of somewhere with less lofty goals for its graduates - like maybe just letting the kids twirl around and learn English. Hello, they just learned to poop.
Boom, found it. Today was our first day at the new school and five minutes into class I noticed a big difference in the parents. Now I'm the Dance Mom of the group. At the old school, the other parents were so intent to get their kid a world class, formal dance education by the age of three they'd doll them up in professional footwear in size "wee" and scrutinize their every move. I imagined the six days between class were spent reviewing foot positions and weighing their toddler snacks on a kitchen scale.
The new dance school parents? Total opposite. They're putting up with antics like toddling out of class to hang with mom and licking themselves in the mirror. At least two kids moseyed out of the lesson today and instead of doing what I would do, which is put the kid right back in with the very real threat that the next time she walks out, we're going home, these parents enter into a sticky sweet negotiation like, "Aw, you should go back in! Or you want to stay out here? Okay? Or maybe go back in? Or stay out here? Go in, stay out? In? Out? In? Okay out?"
The next tactic was to criticize the teacher. Look, at our old school, my then two-year-old was put in the corner for moving a floor marker. She wasn't paying attention because SHE DIDN'T KNOW FRENCH and she was two feet shorter than the school-aged kids she was taking with. My response was to let it ride. The teacher is a professional and it didn't appear she was taking any shit. Point taken. But the parents at this new school are really into coddling whiney toddlers and throwing hate on the teacher.
"Well if this woman were more engaging this would be going better!"
"I doubt she has any early childhood experience!"
"Clearly this teacher is not ready for a class of three-year-olds!"
Haruppphs and ughs flooded the parent section and when the class was dismissed, the little darlings were all embraced and congratulated on their awesome achievement. "You were amazing, Taylyrr! GREAT job, Kennedie! Outstanding job in class, Madysynnn!"
Well, every child was greeted like that except mine, the one child actually halfway doing what she was supposed to. "Bee. I noticed you didn't stand up with the teacher asked you to. You will stand when the teacher asks you to stand and sit when she asks you to sit and twirl when she asks you to twirl. Should we go tell the teacher we will be listening better next week?" Bee nodded yes and I felt the eyes of eight other parents pop out of their heads like cartoon coyotes.
Yes, that's right. I didn't praise my child for doing a mediocre job in class. I pointed out that she wasn't listening to the teacher and unless she gets her act together, we won't go to dance any more.
Is my point to make her a professional dancer? To perfect her grasp of the arts? No. It's to make her respect her teachers and stand when they say stand. I'll be damned if I'm going to go through all the trouble of labor, breastfeeding, cutting up grapes, paying for lessons, dodging falling anvils and keeping up with the latest teen killers only to raise a child who can't tie her shoes because she was too busy licking a mirror during class.
If that makes me a Nazi Mom, well, I guess we have a new meme.