Do you ever make assumptions? About your child? That they will always be clingy, head-strong, a poor sleeper, a fussy eater, too shy, or no good at maths? Come on, admit it. Don’t we all do that to some degree?
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over 15 years of parenting, it’s that children surprise us. Ok it might not always be in the way we would like (and we all know how much I love to share those moments!) but more often than not, it’s in a good way.
Recently, The Drama Queen has been surprising me. And I’ve taken to documenting it. She’s changed so much in the last couple of years, almost as though she’s been cocooned for a period of time waiting to turn into the butterfly that has been waiting in the wings. It’s definitely been a gradual process, but one that I want us both to remember forever. And hopefully it will encourage you too.
It’s easy to get bogged down as a parent, to think we are never going to get out of this rut, that our child will always be a certain way – one that will permanently hinder them in life.
If you’re a regular reader, you will know that for a long period of time, The Drama Queen suffered from separation anxiety. If she was going anywhere it had to be with me and if I went anywhere without her, we would all suffer. Over the years, we kind of adapted our lives around her and always factored any anxieties she might have, into the decisions we made.
Performing has always been a love of hers. She isn’t brash or a show off, she simply enjoys entertaining people and thrives in the limelight. From a very early age, she had all the confidence in the world. Here she is aged 3, in the nursery nativity…
But as she got older, something changed. Allowing her anxieties to get the better of her, she wouldn’t try anything new and certainly not if it would mean spending any length of time away from me.
At 14, The Drama Queen is still a natural worrier. But over the past couple of years, I’ve seen some changes in her. Huge changes. She’s gradually learnt to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ (for want of a better expression). And it’s doing her the world of good!
This year she has started private singing lessons at school. She has also chosen to stay on at her drama class, despite most of her friends deciding
they were too cool to move on. As a result, last month she had the confidence to take her grade 6 LAMDA exam (having never done one before) and today, she is taking her grade 3 Rock School singing exam.
She might not be the best. She might not have got the part she auditioned for in the school play last term. But I’m so proud of her for having the confidence to try and more importantly, overcome the things that in the past would have held her back.
It’s lovely to watch your child blossom in an environment that suits them, isn’t it? She hasn’t changed all that much from the tutu-clad 3 year old singing ‘Alice the Camel’ (minus the belly and with better counting skills!) and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me feel.