Today was my 4-and-a-half year old's end-of-term "show" (or "presentation") at the circus school she goes to once a week.
L just loves going to circus school. And it is pretty great - they learn pretty "simple" stuff (but the class is only for 3-5 year olds), but cool all the same. A little juggling, some plate spinning (sort of), some acrobatics, some trapeze, some general "performance" skills, some "high wire" (actually a wooden beam about 10 cm off the floor!)... you get the idea.
Anyway, L loves it. This is her second year and she still loves it just as much as last year.
So, as you can imagine, she was pretty excited this morning, particularly as she was keen for us to see her "perform" on the trapeze as she's been pretty scared of the trapeze and has only just "tamed" it, so to speak.
She went to class as usual at 9.30, and D, C and I turned up at 10 for the show. Of course, my camera batteries died, so I was already pretty cheesed off, but in the end it hardly mattered...
The kids came out from behind the curtains one by one and jumped on a mini-trampoline, getting their faces in line behind an empty picture frame and pulling some kind of stupid face. L was great, really giggling with pleasure.
Then, she went on the ball - a big ball on a mat she had to climb up on to and balance. She did this great (but she could do this last year already), though of course I didn't get a picture of it. Grrrrr.
And then she joined the line of kids waiting for the trapeze.
Oh, my dear heart. The anguish for a maman, watching her let other, bolder kids push past her! And then, finally, it was her turn. She was all smiles as she stepped on to the mat... and just at that moment, one of the two teachers turned the music off and said they had to stop what they were doing and line up in front of the audience. L held it together, but I could see she was on the verge of tears (she stood in that line for about 10 minutes, bless her).
The music came back on and they all had to wiggle and dance. L was fine again. Then, bowing to the audience, holding each others' hands, the (big, boisterous) kid to her left pulled her backwards as the (cocky, sure-of-herself) kid to her right pulled her forwards and BANG! There was my poor, sweet baby face down on the mat.
She stood up, but by now there were tears pouring down her face. The teachers tried to comfort her, but we all know that in that kind of situation (disappointment, frustration, sadness, humiliation) only a maman will do.
The others ran off to get their "post-show cake and drink" while I scooped her into my arms. I'm used to her tantrum-tears, but this was different. This time she was sobbing with sadness. My eyes welled up with the unfairness of it all.
The teacher came up and asked if she'd hurt herself - and I explained that no, not really, but that she was sad that she didn't get a chance on the trapeze, despite waiting for so long. And the teacher said "well, she should have gone on the other things instead". I tried to say that she did do the ball but that what she had really wanted was to show us how she's no longer scared of the trapeze, but Teacher-Lady was already half talking to another proud parent.
And still my poor L sobbed. She was inconsolable for a while, but then perked up a little at the thought of cake and bonbons. D was cutting up cake and grabbed the biggest bit for L, while I pushed her in front of the bolder kids in front of her. She was fine, and was fine for the rest of the day.
But me, I can't get this out of my mind. It's so unfair! And I don't know what to do to stop this from happening again. I was a pathologically shy child, myself, so I know what it's like. C is the same (lack of oral participation in class was the only negative thing in her end-of-term report), and I hate the thought of my babies suffering like I did.
But I don't know what to do to help them. We spoke to Teacher-Lady and said that we want her to help L push herself forward, help her stop being a doormat to those totally extrovert kids who just push past her. But we said the same last year, and it obviously hasn't worked.
My heart aches, and I'll never forget the tears she cried this morning, so different from what we normally get (we live with the Queen of Tantrums).
My sweet angel, I was so proud of her, despite the fact she essentially did nothing. She's my little baby, my last baby, my BABY GIRL.
And I'm going to protect her, help her, any way I can.
But oh, how hard it is to be a maman sometimes!