My daughter is a little dancer. She is both naturally talented and a very hard worker. While she is feeling motivated to dance, I see no reason to stop her or hold her back, although I will never push her to do more than she wants to do.
She began slowly – with a street dance class that she started on the very day she started school. Towards the end of year 1, she started ballet at a different dance school. A year later, the original dance school started a hybrid street/ contemporary dance class – perfect for a little street dancing ballerina. Technically she was too young to join, but they let her in anyway and she only went and won a trophy She had been talking about doing tap dance for a while, so I enquired about classes at her ballet school. She did a trial few weeks at the end of last term and has just started properly.
Her dance classes were always on Mondays and Thursdays – days that were convenient to me. Not easy as such, but easier. They fitted around work – I finish in time to pick the kids up from school on a Monday and I don’t work on Thursdays. The contemporary class was on a Saturday morning, which was fine as my son’s league football season had finished (I don’t watch him play football every week, but I always like to watch his league games).
But then she grew up, moved into year 3, and her class times changed. Suddenly the ‘no pressure’ dance classes looks like an awful lot of pressure – on her and on me.
The ballet is still on Monday. Phew! That’s fine. Although it finishes rather close to my son’s Cubs time. For the past year or so, all of the kids have had microwave meals on Mondays for this reason. That’s OK, one microwave meal a week won’t kill them.
Street has moved to Tuesday – 4.30 to 5.30. I’m at work on Tuesday. My mum has the kids at her house and feeds them. When is she going to have her tea? I can cook it when I get home from work, but she won’t get it until about 6.30 – a bit late for a 7 year old who eats very slowly and is supposed to go to bed at 8pm. So last week she had a microwave meal on Tuesday too. Two microwave meals a week? That’s starting to get a bit much.
The contemporary class has moved to Wednesday – another 4.30 to 5.30. Another day when I work, another day when my mum feeds the kids. To make matters even worse, in the short-term she also has swimming lessons on Wednesday – 6 to 6.30. Now that really does make eating difficult! We discovered that chip shop after swimming followed by bed was most definitely not the answer to that one as she went to bed feeling sick.
Are you still with me? Finally we have tap. It’s on Thursday. Hooray! Again, it finishes rather close to teatime, but at least I’m looking after her on Thursday and can make her tea. She should be able to eat a proper meal at about 6pm. One out of four ain’t bad. Oh yes, actually, it is bad.
Is that too much pressure on a 7 year old? Should she be doing less classes because it’s difficult to feed her and I’m at work? How to make sure she is having healthy meals when she has so little time and she is also very fussy and a slow eater?
Please tell me this isn’t how eating disorders start in dancers…