Ralphie can dance – the two teachers at school have told me on many occasions. “Ralphie’s got it going on!” one said in front of Violet. He rolled his eyes, glancing at my daughter and said “Violet, well… she’s Violet.” Last week I got brave – I’ve written about how hard it is to manage the two when we’re out and about – and took them to a hip hop dance class at a wonderful local dance school; my mom offered to get them lessons for Christmas. They were both able to follow all the teacher’s steps, but during freestyle Ralphie pulled out some moves and Violet just jumped up and down in a silly little frenzy. She got discouraged and stormed out of the class. Ralphie stayed the hour and at the end the teacher asked “Ralphie, do you dance a lot at home?” No. “Have you had classes?” Just at school. “This one’s GOOD.” She said to me. “He’s got potential.” Violet was just outside the door but the teacher didn’t know that. It’s heartbreaking when people praise him in front of her. She has enough of a complex without the extra help.
Violet expressed an interest in ballet instead and it’s clear that they need separation from each other. A class for kids who’ve already had a year or two of training had an opening. The studio said they’d let her try it and last night was her first class. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I got up to peek through the window now and then. She was smiling. She was having fun. So much rides on this. Violet, more than any child I know, needs something to call her own. Despite the problems we have at home, she’s a lovely, generous, and caring child with an extremely sensitive and easily bruised soul. Life, thus far, hasn’t been abundantly kind to her. One of the teacher’s helpers walked out of the class and I asked how the new one, my child, was doing. “Great! She’s been dancing for a while, right?” No. “How does she know how to plie?” I have no idea. Then she said something about her being a natural. I cried. Please, please, please, let this be something that gives her a sense of worth. Please let her be good and make friends.
This morning went well. No one yelled. It’s amazing how the wind shifts, always, when I can’t take one more second. I guess it does for most of us or we wouldn’t make it through. As usual, Violet started in on “I don’t want to go to school!” but instead of leaving it at that she added “I want to practice my ballet!”