“I got this feeling…inside my bones…”
For a year now, The Artist has been in love with “Trolls.” She and my mom went and watched it in theaters, and since then, The Artist has no doubt seen herself as a red-headed Princess Poppy. She asked Santa for a Poppy doll and a Troll tree for Christmas (which she did get), and she loves having daily – yes, daily – dance parties to the “Trolls” soundtrack.
Back around Thanksgiving, we noticed that one particular song, “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” by Justin Timberlake, had The Artist’s touch all over it. She created her own dance to that song.
Now, let me first stop here and say that my FIVE-YEAR-OLD choreographed a song BY HERSELF. Because she certainly didn’t get her dance moves from me. We have been so proud of her creativity and memory, because every time she hears that song, she dances those particular moves that she made up on her own.
“I got that sunshine in my pocket…”
A few months ago, our fabulous library planned an end-of-the-summer reading celebration with a talent show. One of the librarians, who knows The Artist’s antics well, asked if she would be interested in performing. I mean…is the sky blue???
When I mentioned it to The Artist, she asked what she should sing. She had sang “Let It Go” to audition for a part in a community theatre play, and while she did good, Kyle and I both said we thought she should do her “Trolls” dance – especially since she choreographed it. She agreed, though she did tell me she would do better singing “This is Me.”
A new outfit was purchased, Poppy pink hair was ordered, and she was ready to go.
“I can’t take my eyes up off it, movin’ so phenomenally…”
My mom and grandmother drove more than an hour away for the performance. I was so excited. She looked adorable, she knew her moves, and it was going to be fabulous. I just knew it.
I asked her to practice for me that morning, and she did – very half-heartedly. She asked, “What if they laugh at me?”
“What are you talking about?” I asked. “No one’s going to laugh at you. You’re adorable.” I was confused. This was The Artist. She doesn’t get stage fright. Where was this coming from?
She didn’t want to perform when Mom and Granny arrived, and my nerves started to become uneasy. Why wasn’t she excited? Why didn’t she smile? Why didn’t she want to practice?
She didn’t really say much on the drive, but once we arrived at the library, The Artist tearfully announced that she didn’t want to dance. I was pretty disappointed and upset, but Kyle and I both knew it would be worse if we insisted she perform. So we told her once her decision was made, it was final, and we watched the rest of the talent show.
The Artist did not perform.
“Nothin’ I can see but you when you dance, dance, dance…”
We couldn’t figure out what scared her. She kept telling us, “I was afraid everyone was going to laugh because I was dancing. I’ve never danced that dance in front of people.” WHICH MADE NO SENSE BECAUSE THE CHILD HAS SOLO PERFORMED SINGING AND DANCED IN RECITALS. She was fearless. She loved the stage. Was this something new?
Yes. Yes, it was. In a way.
Just a couple of days later, both kids were watching “Puppy Dog Pals,” a staple in our home. I was getting ready in our bathroom, and the kids were watching TV in our bedroom. The episode was “Electric Pugaloo,” in case I have other “PDP” peeps out there. And I heard:
“He’s not dancing. He’s just shaking his quills….He looks pretty silly to me.”
“I’ve never danced in front of this many people before…I thought it was dancing.”
“Well, like I said. I know dancing. And that’s not dancing.”
“What if they laugh at us?”
WHAT THE WHAT????
I ran out of the bathroom and realized the episode was about a hedgehog who made up his own dances…and who got made fun of it (obviously, he is beloved at the end, but you get the point).
“So just dance, dance, dance, come on…”
Obviously, we had a long conversation with The Artist about how it was okay that she didn’t perform – but that no one would have laughed. Her dance is amazing. She is amazing. But, performing or not performing, we love her.
Our kids are definitely influenced by what they watch, and while this was a small example, it reminded me how important it is to be on guard. The Artist is a fabulous performer, no mama-bias necessary. And I don’t want her to lose it. So next time there’s something for her to perform and show out, I hope she remembers the end of that episode more than the beginning:
“Hedgie can dance if he wants to.”
“The most important thing is to have fun.”
“Hey, I can do that.”
Yep. So can we.