Spending as much time as I do with the boys, I feel like I know them pretty well. So when we get into a new situation where I see reactions and bits of their personality that I haven't seen before, it's kind of a shock. Who is this person? Where did this come from?
Last night we had the second practice for German Dance. I thought it was going to go smoother this time. They have been talking about it since last week, they were eager to see their new friends, and, of course, pop was involved. When we were having dinner Ben informed me he wasn't going to dance. He said this last week, so I didn't think much of it.
When we arrived, the boys' good friend Gloria was there for her first practice and I thought she'd be enough to get them motivated. However, all her cousins were there and she was thrilled be joining them in the dance group and ran around with them.
Dave the director called the kids together and we walked over, Charlie on my arm, Ben gripping my jeans, and Lou holding my hand. Dave called Louie over first and partnered him up with this very sweet girl who did a great job of showing him the ropes. What I'm noticing with Lou is that he has these things he does when he gets nervous. He bites the inside of his mouth and then sticks his neck out, like a giraffe reaching for leaves, or maybe a turtle trying desperately to get out of his shell. Regardless, although it's kind of weird, he did hold his partner's hand and go through with the dance without reluctance.
Dave then called Benny and he was hesitant, but I said to go on over behind Louie. Dave wanted him in front of Lou and, looking back, I wonder if this is where it went wrong. Would he have done better if Louie was ahead of him and he could see him doing all the moves?
They went through the first dance and I could tell that Benny's partner wasn't into having him by her side. She is almost twice his age and has been doing this for a while, so maybe she'd rather be with someone she didn't have to instruct. I don't know. Ben wasn't doing any of the spins, but the good news is that Louie was, which is a huge improvement from last week! What I do know is that by the end of the first dance Ben was ready to stop. I gently suggested that he try again.
After one revolution of the next dance Dave took over as Benny's partner and that's when the tears began to fall. He wasn't sobbing, no noises, and he kept up with it, but you could tell he was miserable. Ben kept wanting to spin inward and Dave was having him spin out. Tears, tears, tears. My heart was breaking. He reminded me of me when I was a kid. I detested (still do!) being the center of attention. I really didn't like when I didn't "get things" right away. I would cry a silent cry and wish that I was in bed under my covers.
I'm not sure if this is the way Benny was feeling, but it sure seemed like it. He was not happy to be on that dance floor and that was the end of his dancing career, at least until next year. I think he'll be better off going on 5-years-old, rather than going on 4. They recommend being 5, but I thought Lou wouldn't do it without Ben.
Lou has been surprising me with his (quiet) outgoing-ness and his being OK with doing something new and not that easy. I'm hoping that Ben sees this and decides that it's all right if you're not great at something you try, and wants to practice with him. If not, that's OK, too.
Of course, Charlie wants to join right in and I have a feeling next year it will be he, not Ben, who takes up the dance. Ben is just content sitting on the sidelines, playing with his cars in a world of his own. But he still wanted his pop. I guess it wasn't enough of a motivating factor. Half dance practice or whole dance practice = whole pop.