Libby loves to dance. I think a lot of kids do.
When she’s not dancing, she’s singing. When she’s not singing, she’s humming. But mostly, she’s just dancing.
And she loves putting on shows.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” she says. “I will now perform for you…”
So a few months ago, I thought it might be a good idea to enrol her in a weekly dance class.
It’s called ‘ballet’ but I’d describe it more as ‘jumping around the room and blowing kisses’ – the ‘ballerinas’ are only three and four years old.
I was nervous about it.
I was never a dancer myself, but I knew a few. They were girls who obsessed about their weight, wore too much make-up and came from well-off families. They walked differently – maybe it was their great posture. And they were posh. Stuck-up even.
Does it sound like I’m being unfair and stereotyping a broad group of girls undeservedly? Upon reflection I thought so too, and that’s why I decided to give Lib and ballet a go. If that’s what would make her heart sing, I didn’t want to stand in the way with my own old perceptions.
Lib is still loving dancing, but she’s not loving the classes so much. I haven’t been able to get her to explain exactly what the trouble is, so I went along to last week’s lesson a little early to speak to the teacher.
When I arrived there were two slightly older girls who had already been dropped off. Lib skipped straight up to them and what happened next broke my heart.
The girls turned their backs and told her to go away. They said they didn’t want to be her friend and… well, they hissed a few other nasty things that I won’t repeat because I don’t want to embarrass my daughter any more than this blog already will one day!
It was Lib’s first ‘mean girls’ experience and, unfortunately, I know there will be many more to come… but three and four-year-olds… isn’t that a little early for cliques?
I’ve asked Lib if she wants to keep up the ballet, but her answer changes daily. I guess we’ll be led by her from week to week and if she wants to quit, she can do so with my enthusiastic blessing.
But I do hope those little girls prove my ballerina stereotype to be wrong. They’re just babies.