Wednesday, January 20


If you had asked me yesterday what I thought I would be posting about today, I would have guessed that it involved violent thoughts, threats, frustration, and maybe a spork or two. OK, maybe a whole box of sporks. After multiple concerts and shows and programs, I've come to expect this:

It doesn't matter how early we get there. It doesn't matter where we sit. It doesn't matter how nice we are. We ALWAYS end up sitting right behind at least one bobbleheaded gooberface who makes it impossible for us to catch even a glimpse of our kid. It's like a law, or something. (FYI--That's the BEST photo I have from Alexis' Christmas show because it's the only one where I can find so much as a strand of her hair.)

Today was Alexis' dance show, so I walked into the building ready to bore holes in the back of someone's head with my eyes.

It didn't happen, because this was the view:

Alexis sat off to the side, not participating, swimming in a puddle of self pity for the entire hour.

It sucked.

It's not a secret that she's a shy kid. She keeps her heart in her front pocket, but clenches it tightly when there is a large group of strangers. That's actually why she's in dance in the first place. I don't care if she memorizes First Position or can do a Shuffle Step or knows the difference between Tap Dancing and Square Dancing. She's there to work on her confidence and to become a little more comfortable in groups.

All semester, she's done really well. Really, really well. So well, in fact, that I had actually forgotten that it was a problem. We've gone to make-up classes comprised of nothing but total strangers, and she was fine. We've had a couple of shows, complete with parents in the room, and she was fine.

And then today she was not fine.

It was my fault.

Work was chaotic today, the kind of chaotic that makes you wish you could hit the reset button and start the day over just so you can get a few extra hours. It was also the kind of day when leaving early just wasn't a possibility. It was beyond my control when I left 15 minutes later than I would have liked. It was beyond my control when I picked Alexis up 15 minutes later than I would have liked. It was beyond my control when we walked into the dance center right on time.

I know we need to be early. I know Alexis needs those extra minutes to mentally prepare herself to deal with strangers. I know it would have been much different if we just hadn't been the last ones to come rushing in, just before the program started.

I hate that I set her up to fail.


  1. When Murphy consipres against us, there's little we can do. Totally not your fault - give yourself a break.

  2. I think you're being too hard on yourself.

    This is part of life -- and the occasional reminder to her -- and to YOU -- is what makes us all work harder, try again, realize that there are certain things we cannot control, and some that we can.

    I know she's still very, very young, but try to think of this as a life lesson for her as well.

    Alexis will be just fine, and even stronger the more adversity she faces.

    How would she have reacted if you had prepared her in the car for a few minutes and walked in late? Maybe you can talk to her and see if there's another way to handle her mojo. ;)

    hugs, honey

  3. OH sweetie, don't be so hard on yourself. My 4 year old is VERY shy, too. I didn't think he'd even GO to kindergarten this year, but he did, and he likes it, although every a.m. he asks if it is the weekend yet. Clearly, he doesn't *love* school yet, but he goes. This summer, I'm also putting him in soccer and a day camp so he can get used to more socializing and to help him become less shy. I'm shy too, though, so I think maybe there is only so much I can do - only so much WE can do as parents, right? But yes, I know what you mean, though, that if you had arrived earlier, things might have gone differently for her... that sucks. I'm sorry. But hey. You did get a cute picture of her, right? Sigh. It's not your fault, though. Oh, HUGS. I've been there. SIGH.

  4. VDog said it so well! I'll just add that when we truly do the very best we can and things still go awry there's a reason for it. Both you and Alexis have learned from this experience. That is definitley NOT a failure.


  5. Anonymous10:19 PM

    What a cutie first of all!!! Secondly, our 4yo is the same way which is why she is doing gymnastics...and loves her class....but I know she would be the same way in a competition. Hopefully the more they are exposed the easier it will get. As the line in Top Gun goes: "keep sending him up!". Don't be hard on yourself...we're ALL learning in our own time!! Hang in there!!

  6. Oh my goodness, you are too rough on yourself, but, this is what moms do to themselves. It's so, so hard when the small person can't articulate what's really bothering them. My son was very shy (and sometimes still is), and doesn't have the greatest crisis coping skills. But he's not the same kid he was when he was 3, or even 4, and I'm betting 6 is going to look a lot different, too.
    I'm going to go out on a limb and say Alexis probably wouldn't blame you for her crappy day. Kids have 'em too, and sometimes, it's nobody's fault, just a crappy old day.
    Hang in there :)

  7. It's not your fault. I know it FEELS like it is, but it's not. It's just Life. Things out of your control (which, unfortunately, as Moms, we're going to deal with a lot from here on out. ARGH.)

    I don't think Alexis blames you. And that's the most important part.

  8. I was painfully shy in my younger years. I didn't start out that way, but by the time I entered 8th grade, something just clicked wrong and I thought it better if I hid in a corner. That said, I really don't think her meltdown was your fault in any way. It's a hard situation, definitely.

  9. Nanners16:11 AM

    You are being way too hard on yourself..some days are rougher than others. She is so stinkin cute! I love that her lil shoes are on the wrong feet...And Hey! At least ou got a good seat this time..see a Positive!!

  10. I agree with everyone else. Maybe if you got there 5, 10, 20 minutes early, she still would have had the same reaction. You can't beat yourself up about it.

    All you can try and do is the best you can. It's all we can ever do.

    That feeling sucks though, feeling like you let your kid down. I'm not sure we parents ever figure this out.

  11. Awww...poor thing. But Oh My God - sad or not, that photo is beautiful.

  12. Anonymous8:34 AM

    No advice, just a *HUG*.

  13. She's a cutie! Things quite often don't go as planned, but I think you're being too hard on yourself.

  14. Poor, sweet little thing. My heart is breaking because I just know that I'm going to be in the same position in May when it's time for Caroline's performance. Don't beat yourself up too much. We all do the best we can.

  15. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Oh, BB. You have NOT set her up to fail. In fact, you've done quite the opposite. Yes, today didn't work out quite as planned, but in the long run you probably won't remember this blip in the road. In the long run she will succeed because of the things you have done for her.

  16. Anonymous9:44 AM

    I won't minimize your feelings--I've been there myself. I WILL tell you to NOT be so hard on yourself. Completely not your fault; nothing you had control over. Even if you had been there earlier, she may still have been like that.

    It's okay. Really.

  17. Ah, the guilt of the working mother. Glad I'm not the only one!

  18. And that second picture is heartbreaking, by the way.

  19. Aw, sweetie! Don't be too hard on yourself. I know how hard it is to watch your little one struggle, but she'll bounce back and she'll find her confidence. A girl with that much personality... she won't be able to help herself!

  20. Oh my, that picture is rough. Just remember years from now, you will look at that picture and laugh.

    As for getting there early and never being able to see, when my kids were growing up, it never failed,we would get there way, way early to get first row. When performance would start people that were sitting in back would run up front with their camera's and video's. THey would stand right in front of everyone. It infuriated me. It got so out of hand that they banned camera's from certain events becuase it just took away from the whole experience. THey hired a photographer/videographer and you could buy the pictures if you wanted them.
    Worked much better and everyone just relaxed and watched the kids enjoying themselves.

  21. I think its wonderful that you recognize her hesitation around large unfamiliar groups and make an effort to give her the extra time she needs.

    I have been painfully shy since childhood and it didn't start to occur to me until I was an adult how to deal with these situations. I commend you for taking the time to foster self confidence in your daughter.

    Your love and support will go a long way.

  22. Whoa mama. Put down the blame! You didn't set her up to fail. You had a bad day and so did Alexis. It's no more your fault than it is hers. And what if she had been fine? She might have grown more than you thought. I know it sucked that it happened and no one wanted it that way, it wasn't on purpose. What matters, though, and what she'll remember is that her mommy was supportive and was there for her afterwards no matter what.

    And next time? Will be even better and you'll both feel all the more awesome when she rocks it!

  23. My heart aches right now, because I know EXACTLY how much this hurts us. The guilt, oh that freaking guilt.

    But here's the thing. We're super moms. We juggle 50 million things, and we do it with a freaking smile on our faces. And ever so often, we actually manage to wear matching bra and underwear and look sexy for our husbands.

    We are bound to have situations like this come up.

    And the thing is? Rather than feel crappy about it, I say we make a pact RIGHT NOW that says that we pat ourselves on the back the other 49,999,999 times that this DOESN'T happen.

  24. Anonymous2:09 PM

    I have to agree with everyone else in saying that you should cut yourself some slack, but I know that you won't . . . in having children we make the commitment to be there for them and to do everything in our power to help them succeed - and it is so hard to not feel awful when we fall short. Chances are that you will remember this much, much longer than Alexis will, and that maybe this experience will help her develop her coping skills just a little bit more (a lesson my own children sadly need!)

  25. I don't know anything about this type stuff, but I know you did your best. I am sure Alexis knows that too. Don't beat yourself up.

  26. Aww. You are such a good mama. She is just so lucky to have a mama that understands her so well. Seriously, you rock. I think you both need a good cuddle session on the couch after that. It was not your fault. Life happens. And you are an awesome mama. :)

  27. The fact that you allow her to be the shy person that she is, and don't constantly push, push, push her to change is a great thing. I'm guessing she already forgot about the dance recital, right? Next one will be better.

    Hey, I was getting way too much spam at my blog email, so I changed it. Can you email me at

  28. Awww ((HUGS)) mom. My oldest son used to be like that, but thankfully he's outgrown it.

  29. Awwww....that picture is just heartbreaking:( I'm sorry it didn't work out. I agree with Kat, "life happens" try not to be so hard on yourself:)

  30. I'm with everyone else who says you're being too hard on yourself. But we all do it. Everyone who said that would feel just like you do. I'm sorry!

    You know though, that she'll bounce back. She'll bounce back and be her happy little self again and so will you.

    P.S. Sad moment aside, that's a beauty of a shot. Really.

  31. eeerrrggh!
    I hate this post. HATE IT.
    I hate that you had a crappy day.
    I hate that your little sweetie had a bad day, too.
    But I really hate how we all DO THIS TO OURSELVES! I think this is all too familiar to most moms. What say we all take a moment to remember that we don't control the UNIVERSE. (And it's not our FAULT that we don't control said universe, either.)
    Also, how about the things you're teaching your daughter - like being responsible and not cutting out of work early when it was inappropriate to do so? YEAH. Take that guilt!

  32. I've missed reading about Alexis, even when she (and you) have a bad day. The beauty of it is, you have a sweet little girl to watch grow up. Never doubt the beauty of it.

    So sorry that the Caps are beating up on the Pens tonight. Ok....NOT!

    Hugs - D

  33. Ack! Stop beating yourself up! You sound like me and that's not good! Do you want to be known as neurotic?! Like I am in my family?! No. You do not.

    It's going to be OK. It was one night and other nights will get better. I'm sure of it!

  34. My DD/5 is the same way, and even arriving early to soccer practice (where DH was the coach) was tough to battle her shyness with the other kids. The team members aren't in her class at school so it was pretty tough. We are going to try dance next so hopefully that will help ease her into groups with other kids.

    Don't beat yourself up. Your daughter is beautiful and most of all amazingly resilliant.