Thursday, September 6, 2012

To Dance or Not To Dance…

Really that is not the only question but it is part of it and it is sort of a run on question if you will! Missy is doing gymnastics right now. I know she was super geeked all last year to turn four so she could do ballet but she seems to have forgotten that. That is super in my book. Or in other words it makes my decision easier. Maybe I can push it off and wait until she is five, my inclination all along!

Missy loves gymnastics. She moved up the 5-6 year old class because she mastered the 3-4 year old section and frankly she was bored by it. This new section is more difficult. Low skill, high challenge will eventually lead her to high skill, low challenge and the next level of gymnastics if she is so inclined. I have a renewed passion for the theory of flow which I have tons of thoughts on and I will share later.

The good thing about our gym and the fact that I have one day off a week AND that she is not in school yet is that she can go to a class where she is one of three kids. The negative, if you will, is that there is a five year old in her class and you can see the difference between Missy and Clementine (not her real name) and their ability to master the elements being asked of them. On one hand, I am okay with that. Missy will get it eventually and it is good for her to be around kids who are of differing ages and various skill levels.

Most importantly, it does not bother her that Clementine and Jasper (not his real name) can do more than she can. She’s having fun. My gauge on activities for the kids at this or any age will always be “are they having fun?” She is. The neat thing about this new section is that they are actually learning a US Gymnastics Level II JO routine. It has stream lined things in terms of teaching new skills. It helps that Missy loves her instructor who has been her instructor since open gym when Missy was barely able to walk!

I do believe that if she decides she likes gymnastics that eventually ballet will be a good compliment to that. My hesitation at the moment is that I do not want her to be involved in too much. She loves gymnastics and she had the choice to do other things but she always asks for gymnastics. We took the summer off from activities and she literally asked me daily about when she could go back to RSG.

When M Bug was young, and I have said this before, I regret doing so much with him at such a young age. The regret comes from the sense that it was unnecessary. He would have been better served just playing and enjoying time with us. I even feel like we pushed school to early on M Bug. Missy is ahead of where M Bug was and she has done FAR less than he did school/learning wise. Heck at this age M Bug was doing part time pre-K already! I have no interest in that. I think that she will have plenty of time to learn and go to school and school is so flippin’ repetitive for these kids. M Bug was bored out of his mind after a few weeks in K. He would say ‘Mommy there are kids who do not know their colors but I do. Why do I have do colors over and over again?’ It is SO boring for him that is actually sucked all around and that had me all atwitter that he would hate school. He does not hate school and honestly he was somewhat behind socially when he got to K that I am glad he made it through more because of the social side of things than the academic side of things. The things you think you can account for as a parent. Like academically? No question, M Bug was ahead. Socially? Holy mother of earth not so much. I never even considered the social side of school.

There really is such a range amongst children between the ages of three through six. I guess we will see if holding back more with Missy is good or bad over time. I think M Bug is just fantastic in spite of the choices we made for him at an early age so I am not saying anything bad about what we did. I just do not feel that overwhelming urge to push so hard with her as I did with him.

I feel the overwhelming urge for both kids to preserve their childhood and allow them the chance to learn as best they can through the flow of childhood. Look school is school. We have been blessed with fabulous teachers from pre-k up till now.

When M Bug was little we made a lot of decision based on what others were doing around us. We felt compelled to be involved because if we were not it seemed like we were… I do not even know, being judged for not doing enough? I can see that this in new/young parents. This overwhelming sense of “we need to do it all, give our kids ALL of the benefits of education/sports/music at a young age or else….” The ‘or else’ bit is the part that I question now. Or else WHAT?

Missy’s birthday falls in August, exactly one day after the cut off for K for her age group. I work almost full time and they do not offer part time K in our district any more. Our baby sitter is pregnant with her third and we need to decide how to handle the time she will need off to care for the new baby. Do we put Missy in a pre-k class full time in January? Or do we figure out a solution for six weeks while the baby sitter is on maternity leave and hold back on full time school (pre-k) until the fall 2013? That was always the plan. No school until she is almost five and even then not K, pre-K. That way she would start K in 2014. It is a difficult decision.

She is ready to learn I know this. We practiced spelling words on the way to the babysitter this morning and she has been working on learning to read! She even does simple addition problems herself. She knows her colors and numbers.  She is ready to be a part of group and socialize in a new way with new faces.  *But the fact is to put her in the school system just because that is what all of the sheep in the herd are doing makes me uncomfortable.

Part of my struggle here overall is tempering what I/we want for the kids, what is best for the kids and what they want/need. If Missy really wants to do ballet, she will tell me. She really wants to learn, she will let me know. I know any decision we make will be okay. Missy will be okay. It is all just something I am trying to work out in my head. It is important, it feels very much like I am standing on the edge looking down into the ravine and I am not exactly sure what will happen if I jump down there, and very act of jumping down there will be for her. Not me, her. 

* The opinions written are mine. I am not judging anyone else for their decisions. I am only looking my kids/my family/my life/our situation.  I have no interest to judge others for their decisions and I think everyone has to do what is best for their family and where they are at that moment. 

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