Tags: amusing, introvert
We really should have known better. But when Liam’s gymnastics teacher said they were having a recital this week, and the kids would all be learning a short routine, I figured we’d give it a go. Little did I realize the scope of my folly.
We arrived – Liam, James and I – to a packed gymnasium. Several chairs, benches and bleachers were set up, and most of them were already full. Turns out this was a recital for all of the gymnastics classes at the Y. My only hope was that Liam’s group would go first and we could get the heck out of there before my two introverts lost their cool.
Each of the classes were asked to line up against the wall with their group, and already we hit a snag. There was no way Liam was going over there on his own. Fair enough. I went over with him, sat down with all the other four and five-year-olds, and waited patiently for his turn. All the while he’s pouting and telling me he’s NOT going to get up when they tell him to. Wonderful.
Finally they get this show on the road. They call up the two and three-year-olds. They totter around with the parents, so flippin’ cute. It makes me recall our days in Baby Yoga in Maryland, when Liam was that age. Ah, memories…of him whining and crying and trying to run out the door. Sigh. The teachers start the music and all of the kids get up to do the wiggle dance. Yay! Liam’s group jumped up and down to the music, giggling, spinning, freezing when the song said. I even stood up and danced along like a fool…but nothing was budging my stubborn kid. In class he thinks it’s hilarious to jump when the song says to freeze, so instead he did that. Fine. Whatever.
Then it was time. We’ve been in this class long enough for his teacher to know what kind of a head case my kid is, so she very kindly came over and grabbed his hand to walk him over while all the other kids lined up. I stayed back, and he immediately ran back over to me. There were two lines of kids, so we hung back and watched the first group go: forward roll, v-sit, knee scale, squat, forward roll, tuck. Just like we’d practiced. He did it at home just great. He’d been excited to perform it at the recital. Though I doubt he had much inkling what a “recital” was.
I coaxed him over to line up with the next group. One of the other teachers brought over the little medal each of the kids would earn to try and entice him. He just laid on the ground, refusing to get up. I grabbed his hands and pulled him up, begging him to just do a summersault. The whole group was waiting for him. The whole crowd was watching. I should be used to this by now, but in front of fifty or more parents, it was a bit hard to take, even for me. The rest of the kids did their routine. I picked Liam up and told the teacher we’d see her in class next week. They offered him a medal, but I declined. He didn’t really want it, anyway, and it bothered me to have him “earn it” while doing absolutely nothing.
I looked over at James and could tell he was ready to get out of there, too. And as embarrassed and annoyed as we were, on the way out the door we did our very best not to berate Liam. We’re coming to understand that this is just the way he’s wired, and things like recitals, school plays, and performances are not his kind of thing. Perhaps some day when he’s acquired the skills to handle himself in uncomfortable situations, like crowds and loud rooms, he’ll fair better. But for now, I think we’ve learned a valuable lesson. Let’s wait until Liam expresses an interest instead of pushing him into a situation that he’s not comfortable with. It will save us all a lot of embarrassment.
Afterward we went to Chickfila for dinner, and we could see him visibly relax. I asked him how he felt at the recital, and he said he was mad because “all that racket was hurting my ears.” It was a bit loud and echo-y in the gymnasium. I think there was more to it than that, but the noise was definitely a factor. Jill recommended I read The Highly Sensitive Person to get some insight on Liam. He’s always been an introvert, but maybe he’s also particularly sensitive to noise and stimulation.