Almost 2 years ago, I wrote a post called Would You Let Her Quit? I thought at the time, and I've thought a few times since then, that undoubtably a few people read that and thought, "Well, yah, that's easy to say you'd let her quit when in the end she didn't quit. What if she really had quit?"
So I wanted to share some of the quitting and near quitting that has happened in the last 2 years.
L did gymnastics for a little while right around the same time as that post. After a few months, she decided that she liked it, but didn't want to do it anymore. The class was really awfully long and structured for such young kids. So she stopped doing gymnastics.
Earlier this year, L did Taekwondo. She chose it after trying out two classes and also trying out ballet. She liked the taekwondo because the classes were only half an hour instead of an hour, and I also think the activity is more fitting to her personality than ballet. I signed her up for 8 weeks rather than doing a 6 month contract, so it would be easier on us financially if she quit. She lasted the whole 8 weeks, but she did skip a few classes just because she didn't feel like going, and then made them up later in the week. When the 8 weeks was over, she didn't want to continue, even though overall she said she'd enjoyed the classes.
Then in November, both girls performed in the Nutcracker ballet with professional dancers from another city doing an outreach program. The dance company was strict about no parents being in the rehearsals or backstage. So they did the rehearsals with me in the building, but not in the room, and they had lots of fun. When it came time to do the show, however, L was nervous. I packed her a bag with things to do, made sure she knew the adult in the room she could ask to call me if she needed me, and dropped her off at the last possible minute.
They called me after half an hour or so during the first show because she was crying. So I picked her up and took her home. Before the next show, I told her it was ok if she didn't want to do the show at all. At first she said that she didn't, and that was ok. Then as I got E ready to go, L decided she did want to do it after all. So I spent the half an hour doing her hair and make up again, knowing she might not really do it, but wanting to support her either way.
They called me again after not too long, saying that she had hid under a table and cried that she wanted to go home. So I picked her up and took her home again.
Before the last show, I told her that this was the last chance to do this show, but that if she didn't want to it was ok. There would be other shows when she was older. When we were getting ready to go, we realized her tights had a hole in them. I dropped E off and told the dance company volunteers that I had to run to the store to get L tights. I took her with me and got her back just in time for her part of the performance. I think that helped a lot, that she didn't have to wait in a strange, noisy place with strange people until it was time for her to go on stage. And she did it!
But if she hadn't done it, that would be ok too!
It's great that E seems to have found her niche at such a young age. She loves performing and dancing. She's now done Best of Broadway for 2 years and auditioned again for the show in March. She's done a pop concert and the Nutcracker ballet, and she is in her second year of ballet classes with several performances a year. She loves it and says she wants to dance for a professional dance company when she is older. If she stops dancing tomorrow and never dances again, that will be ok too, but for now, she seems to have found her thing.
L hasn't found her niche yet, and that's ok. I'm happy to let her try out a dozen or two dozen things until one sticks. Or maybe she'll be a woman of many talents and never pick one thing. That's ok too. She's talked about doing gymnastics and taekwondo again, so we'll see. She's going to do Best of Broadway this year, but it remains to be seen if she loves it as much as E does. She's doing entomology and cooking projects in 4H. Maybe one of those will spark a life long interest or maybe not. Maybe she'll try out some sports. Whatever she chooses to do, I will support her in trying, practicing, struggling, deciding, sticking with it or quitting.
UPDATE: Well, it's true that everything changes! Just a few days after writing this, E decided to stop ballet classes. She hadn't been as interested in practicing for the recital as she was last year. The class after the recital came up and she didn't want to go. We discussed her switching to jazz or hip hop, but ultimately she decided to just take the spring off and maybe go back in the fall. So we shall see...