Hands up if you remember the Harvest Festival fiasco back in October? No? Well take a moment to refresh your memory here.
Today my darling daughter did a double whammy.
It was the school Christmas program and I was buzzing with excitement. I dropped Emilie to her class and headed back home to spruce up for the program’s 10.30am start. An hour later we arrived at the school hall with bells on — only to be informed that it had started at 10am! I frantically checked my tickets and found, much to my dismay, that 10am it was indeed. We had missed almost the entire show!
Feeling particularly downtrodden and drowning in mommy guilt, we snuck into the hall nonetheless to catch a glimpse of the final song. We had spied Emilie and her class waiting in the outside corridor. She was chatting happily with her friends. I asked a fellow parent-friend how Emilie had performed in the earlier dance (which we missed) and he said that she’d been brilliant and bubbly. I was thrilled that she’d enjoyed herself, disappointed that I hadn’t seen it.
No worries, I thought. This would be our chance. The final number with the whole school singing and dancing. Surely this would make up for missing out on the first half of the show. We stood near the exit and watched as Emilie and her class filed into the hall neatly. They all lined up, with Emilie in the front row. I grabbed my camera and grinned. This was it!
But suddenly…. Emilie’s face crumpled and she retreated into the crowd of her classmates. I could see her shoulders shaking and hear the unmistakable whine. She’d seen us!
And she wasn’t happy about it.
My kid cried like someone had stolen her favorite Barbie or ate the last gummy worm. No amount of smiling, winking, cajoling, blown kisses, waving, or thumbs up could settle her. We tried to duck our heads, to make ourselves less visible, but her wails only grew louder as her classmates’ cheerful chorus rang through hall.
Eventually her teacher plucked her from the crowd and carried her to the side. That was our exit cue. We didn’t so much as leave as we just got the hell out of there. And this time instead of feeling embarrassed, I felt completely distressed and perfectly perplexed. As we approached the school gate I hesitated. I decided to wait to see if she was ok. The teacher approached, holding my distraught daughter by the hand. She shook her head and told me that Emilie had been just fine and she wasn’t sure why she was upset. She once again reassured me that “sometimes children get shy when their parents are around.”
Well I know shy. And this wasn’t it. This was 4 yr old teenage angst. This was “why-are-you-here-cramping-my-style” tears. The expression on Emilie’s face said it all. I had a mammoth OMG moment as I realised that she hadn’t wanted us there. Well imagine that…
And if you think I’m exaggerating or misreading my kid — just wait til you hear what she had to say when I picked her up from school at the end of the day.
I will leave that for tomorrow’s post. In the meantime, enjoy the one photo I was able to snap of her before we hightailed it out of there.
And yes, she’s crying.