Nothing is quite so adorable as watching your just-turned-three-year-old singing in his first school show. Unless of course your child is the one who, as the music begins and he realizes there are people watching, turns white, lurches forward and lets out a cry that sounds like he’s being stabbed before running off the stage and spending the remainder of the show on his teacher’s lap.
Okay, so he’s only three. Totally acceptable. It’s overwhelming looking out at all of those adults and performing! It’s not the same as practicing at home or in class – this was the real deal. Still, did he have to run off the stage? Couldn’t he be like his friend who turned his head 180 degrees and stared at the back wall throughout the performance? At least he stayed put!
We had a talk when Ryan came home that day and he expressed that it was scary looking at everyone and he didn’t want to cry but he did anyway. He also made a rule that next time we were not allowed to “clap or cheer” for him. He asked to see the video over and over again. After a while, he even started laughing at his own reaction.
Okay, we’ll get ‘em next time, I said.
Next time appeared a few months later during the camp show. I knew right away this wasn’t looking good when Ryan climbed the steps to the stage then immediately turned around and headed back down. A teacher had to redirect him and bring him back on stage with his bunkmates. I reminded Ryan earlier that morning that we were taking one step at a time – for this show I only wanted him to stay on the stage. If he didn’t want to dance or sing, that was okay. He could sit there and twiddle his thumbs for all I cared.
And sit he did. The entire time. He walked to the end of the stage, plopped himself down and did not move until the show ended. I’m pretty sure I laughed at the ridiculousness of it – he looked so small and so nervous, I wanted to go up there and scoop him up.
He has kind of a Jekyll and Hyde thing going – he is not a shy kid, he’s actually quite loud and talks to anyone who will listen. Forever. But when it comes to performances, he clams up. He’s like his Mommy. When I used to work in Public Relations and gave Powerpoint presentations to a room full of business owners, I had to pop a Xanax first. Ditto my first time teaching a lesson as a student teacher. The kids were 8, but I was petrified.
Anyway, so after the camp show I said to Ryan that the more he experiences these performances, the easier it will become. My friend whose son goes to the same school (her son being the one who looked at the back wall just months before) mentioned that she bribed him with a toy or a special treat for the camp show if he sang and danced a little. He pulled through great. Hmmm, maybe she had the right idea.
Today was Grandparents’/Special Person’s Day at school. Ryan was lucky to have all four of his grandparents in attendance. He had been rehearsing this adorable song for a couple of weeks and was excited to share it (and a few others) with his family:
(To be sung to the tune of B-I-N-G-O)
There is someone who I love so and Grandma is her name-o
She is my Grandma
She is my Grandma
She is my Grandma
And Grandma is her name-o
(Repeat verse, this time with Grandpa)
There is someone who I love so and that’s my special person
And that’s my special person!
At breakfast in the morning, my friend’s voice ringing in my head, I blurted out, “Ryan, if you sing and dance on stage today, I will have a lollipop waiting for you after school!”
“Wow, really? A lollipop? Oh. My. Goodness!”
“Really. But Nana and Pop Pop (my parents) and Mama and Bipa (Cory’s parents) will be making sure that you really do it since I won’t be there to see it, okay?”
“Okay, Mommy. I will do it. WOW, a lollipop!”
Of course he sang. He danced, too. He even waved to his grandparents from the stage while they beamed with pride. He came home, tore off his backpack and excitedly requested his special treat. I must thank my friend – bribery turned out to be a big win-win for everyone!
Now if only I can bribe him to let me take a nap while he does my laundry.