Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Don't Know My Kids (Sometimes)

This last week, Patrick's school had their Winter Program. We almost didn't go or invite anyone else to go. It wasn't that we even had anything else to do. We were just going to stay home instead.

Let me explain. Last year, Patrick had a Winter Program just like this one. Each class got to sing one song they had been practicing for a few weeks. We were super excited about it and showed up early and invited the grandparents out to see it as well. Since Patrick was in the youngest class performing, they were up first. We waited with video cameras ready in nervous anticipation for his first "performance." The curtains opened, the crowd clapped and Patrick lost it. For a kid that likes to take his time to get used to his surroundings, this was kind of a nightmare. He was immediately overwhelmed with the sound and lights and pressure and just started crying and trying to get off the stage. We rushed up to the stage, scooped him up and as soon as he stopped crying we got in the car and headed home feeling terrible for putting him through that ordeal and having the grandparents rearrange their schedule and drive out of their way to watch our kid have a breakdown on stage.

So this year when the school planned to hold the same event, we weren't sure we even wanted to try. Some of it was selfish: do we really want to rearrange our schedules, keep the kids up late and drive out of our way just to go to a 5 minute program that Patrick might not even want to do? But it was mostly about Patrick. We didn't want him to feel pressured to do it or put him through another experience like last year. The point of these things is to have fun. If he isn't having fun then why do it?

Luckily, we gave it another shot. Patrick was showing signs of enthusiasm throughout the week and it seemed like he was excited about singing his song. The night of the performance, he couldn't wait to go. Every three minutes he'd ask "Is it time for my performance yet?! Can we go now?! This is really exciting!" We even made last minute calls to all the grandparents that morning to let them know it was happening just in case they wanted to come (which, of course they did).

Patrick did awesome. Here's a video of him and his class singing "We're Just Like Snowflakes."

He had SO MUCH fun and was really proud of himself. Obviously, we were incredibly proud of him too and couldn't stop telling him that for the rest of the night (or week, really). And Madelyn had a blast as well. She loved watching all the kids up on stage singing songs. We can't wait to see her up there next year. For this year though, she was happy to pretend she didn't know us and sit on her teacher's lap for the entire night. She just makes herself at home wherever she goes and it's so funny to watch.

So, parenting lesson learned: don't assume you know everything about your kids just because you spend a lot of time with them. They will surprise you in unexpected ways and do things you maybe didn't think they could or would want to do. We NEVER want to be a limiting factor in our kids' lives and this was a good reminder that sometimes the best intentions can be limiting in needless ways.


Amanda said...

Thank you for the video! Great job Patrick! Love, Aunt Mandie

Aunt Mollie said...

WOW, that was so great Patrick! You are such a great singer and performer1 You did so well. I am so proud of you. Sorry I was not able to come see you, but I'm glad I could see you on here! Love you and miss you, sooo proud of you!