I've never been so mortified by one of my children's behavior in all of my 11 years as a parent. My kids have misbehaved sure, but never so badly that I almost started crying right there in the middle of the situation - until yesterday. To be honest, I wrote this yesterday and debated on sharing, because I don't want to dedicate an entire post to this incident, but I woke up this morning and yesterday felt like a bad dream; from beginning to end it was one of my more challenging days as a mother, and that's worth documenting. I want to preface this by saying that Anna is a wonderful little human, with many impressive traits. She had an 'off' day.
In an effort take the pressure off of finding a good pre-school fit, I decided to enroll Anna in a ballet class. She loves to dance, is theatrical, and I thought she was mature enough for the environment, despite her high energy level. I found a studio close by and set up an appointment to meet the instructor. Our morning went well; Margo napped, Anna ate and got dressed easily, and we left to meet our Ballerina. She's graceful, sweet, generous, and a damn Saint for not throwing us out after what she witnessed.
I was so excited when we walked in and saw a picturesque room with large windows and hardwood floors, and a pretty young woman standing in front of us with a big smile on her face. And it went downhill immediately. She introduced herself to Anna, who put a puss on her face and folded her arms. She does this when she pretends to be a vampire. I don't know where she even heard about vampires, or why she pretends to be one, and based on her impression all she knows about vampires is that they're stoic and rude. I assumed she was being shy, got a little nervous and apologized (apologizing becomes a theme in a minute). We walked into the studio from the lobby. On the way, I asked Anna if she'd like to take her coat off, to which she replied "ugh, FINE!". She removed her coat and threw it on the ground three feet away, refusing to pick it up. I wasn't nervous now. I knew we had just walked through the gates of hell, and this was only going to get worse. Everything in that space belonged to Anna. She had to grab everything. She had to own everything. There wasn't even that much shit in there. I tried to carry on a conversation about class, while taking things out of her hands, apologizing, and attempting to ignore her whines. In my earlier day dreams about this experience, Anna was twirling gracefully in front of the mirror while Ballerina and I talked about pink tights and admired her obvious raw talent. What the f*ck?
We decided to go into Ballerina's office, the idea being that Anna would sit quietly while we talked details. After Anna told Ballerina to "STOP TOUCHING ME" when she rest her hand on Anna's back to lead us out of the studio, my little princess sat down and let out the largest fart I've ever heard. I don't use that word, always opting for 'tootie' instead, but this wasn't a 'tootie'. It went on forever. It sounded like something my husband would actually be embarrassed about doing in front of me. I apologized and crawled under the chair and died. I told Anna to say "excuse me", which she normally does, but not today. She told me to pack sand, and started picking her nose.
Next we would tour the rest of the building, don't ask me why, maybe she thought walking would allow us to talk. Walking will keep her busy. How the hell do you misbehave while walking? We made it back towards the dance studio and Anna started in again, "I want to wear my ballerina dress. I want to stay here. I want to put those ballerina shoes on." She started stomping her feet and crying. It was time to leave. I apologized, assured her that this is Anna's evil alter ego, and that I can't imagine she'll do this during class on Saturday. Really though, everything I thought I knew about parenting evaporated. Every horn toot, pat on the back, proud mothering moment just went up in smoke, and I felt like a failure in that moment. I felt like we were desecrating this sacred, elegant space. All that was missing was a bag of cheese puffs and a Virginia Slim hanging out of my mouth.
As we walked towards the door, Ballerina said that she was going to give me a registration form to bring back on Saturday in case it goes well and we want to sign up. Then Anna farted again, this time on a metal chair. Ballerina is either a great actress, or has a lot more faith in redemption than I do. She should've told us to go away and never return. You'd think Anna would be ready to leave after such a display, I mean...why would you act that way somewhere you hoped to be invited back? She wasn't ready to leave. I had to drag her ass out of the studio, down a flight of stairs, and into the car kicking and screaming, all while carrying Margo, my purse, Anna's coat, and the baby doll that had to come in for the meeting.
Now Anna is asleep in bed, which is where she's been since we came home. I'm going to take her to class on Saturday. I'm bringing one of my older girls as moral support while The Sailor stays home with the baby. I'm going to pray and fast for 24 hrs beforehand, threaten Anna with a childhood void of dessert and zoo visits (kidding), and hope to God we redeem ourselves.
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