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Friday, August 6, 2010

All she wants to do is dance (and sing, and kick, and flip...)!

I came across this website the other day as I was helping Miss M search YouTube for a Hannah Montana song (I know, I know.  But she loves her!).  The site is hosted by two young girls who teach dance moves, healthy and kid-friendly recipes, games and outdoor activities and also gymnastics.  I thought they were really cute and they do a good job speaking to the camera and explaining things well.  Miss M was just enthralled by them.  She watched the girls do a dance routine to Miley Cyrus's Hoedown Throwdown and she wanted to do it, too!  The girls had a step-by-step video of how to do the moves to the chorus and Miss M played it over and over, practicing the choreography in our kitchen.  Now every night this week she has asked me to go to their website so she can learn more.  She has been practicing two different Miley/Hannah dances and has also been following their tips on how to do the splits.  Miss M has always shown a love of music and singing/dancing/performing and I couldn't be happier about it.  I was like that as a child, too.  I had two albums from the Mini Pops along with Michael Jackson's Thriller that I loved to play over and over again.  I sang along to every song and used to do dance routines and "sing" into my hair brush microphone on top of the coffee table.

Her love of dance and gymnastics has me thinking a lot lately about what type of activity to sign Miss M up for this year.  She is five now and old enough to register for most of the children's programs. The fall registration book should be out next week and Miss M has already made dozens of requests.  She wants to try everything.  Her favorites (so far) are: dance (ballet), music (guitar or piano), karate (or taekwondo), girl scouts, swimming, gymnastics and indoor sports (soccer or baseball)... to name a few!  I think this is great, and although we don't exactly have the time or money for her to try all of these activities, I'm really glad that she's keen on learning new things and being active. 

What's been bothering me is that in reality there are some things that she is physically unable to do.  Because of her disability she can't point her toes, which pretty much rules out ballet.  She needs to walk in her braces for ankle support, which pretty much rules out karate.  And what about soccer?  I suppose at this age it would be okay, but will she be frustrated that she can't run as fast as the other kids?  I know there are other things that she is interested in where her condition won't be an issue, but what about the ones that are?  How do I tell my five-year-old daughter that she "can't" do something when I know she believes that she can do anything?  As her mother, isn't it my job to encourage her?  That's the way I've always looked at it, and now I'm torn about what to say if she really wants to take something like ballet or karate.

I think we'll wait for the catalog to arrive, discuss her preferences (maybe even find some new ones) and I'll go from there.  Perhaps she'll choose painting or cooking or bird watching!  Maybe the topic of her disability won't even come up, and then my anxiety will go down.  I hope.  Because my little Supergirl is determined to do anything she sets her mind to, and that's fine by me!

Miss M, Rock Star, enjoying a waffle bowl sundae


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  2. I love that Miss M, and I wish I had her tenacity! (I'd settle for that waffle bowl sundae.) => You do raise some tough questions, though ... I think your plan sounds like a good one, but if she does choose ballet, why not let her go for it? You can always have the talk mid-class if she starts having trouble and remind her that she's there to have fun and learn, the same way she does when she practices her choreography in the living room. Even if she can't point her toe, she can rock a plié, I bet. =>

  3. Thanks, Stacia.
    I was thinking of that, but I think it's still kinda the same as if I told her now. Only she will find out on her own and she might feel bad. I don't know... maybe I'm over-thinking it. It hasn't been an issue yet, but as she gets older she understand more and that's what worries me, I think. If she does choose one of the more *difficult* activities, maybe I'll let her go and just be sure to speak with the instructor first about her limits. She is a determined little girl and I don't want to hold her back from anything!

  4. Shannon, kids are amazing, aren't they? I was taught a big lesson by a little girl when I taught Karate one summer in high school. She looked different, her proportions on her right and left sides were different. One day she told me there was a reason, and I asked, 'why?' She looked up at me and said, 'because that's how God made me.'
    I don't always do well with organized religion, but seeing value in every way we are made is something I can get behind. And whenever my daugter points out a difference, I use those same words.
    Your daughter takes her lead from you. She, like all of us, will find things are harder for her. You are already teaching her the best lesson, that she is valued, loved, capable.

  5. That's sweet, Kate. Thank you. I'm starting to think that I shouldn't worry about it. I never have before now. We talk about how she has "special feet" and she's ok with that (for now at least). We are teaching her to just Go For It and I guess should just continue that way!

  6. And she is so gorgeous, and so full of life. Good for her for being willing to try. We talked about this, and I think with a little bit of creativity you can find some things that will fit just well. Keep that spark alive! Though I am sure you will because she has a good example, full of spark herself.

  7. Let that baby dance if she wants to! One thing I've learned from watching (and re-watching) So You Think You Can Dance is that someone with a passion for dance shouldn't be steered away from it because of a disability. If that's what's in her heart, you and the people in your community can make it happen for her. Will she be a professional dancer? Maybe not. But she's 5 and all she wants to do is dance. Indulge her!

  8. If Miss M wants to try so many different things, I would suggest Scouting. Through working towards different achievements and badges, children have the opportunity to try out lots of new activities before they have to commit to just one or two due to time constraints. My son has been a cub scout for years now and has experienced so many new and exciting things I can hardly believe it.