Now, don't hate on me, but if a Momma comes in saying Little Darling is taking dance and wants to do gymnastics too, I assume the worst. Most of the little darlings around here that take dance are not very flexible, don't work very hard, and freak out when things hurt a little (especially stretches).
This new one was no different. She talked so much while stretching that I had to enforce that rule that no one was allowed to talk unless they were all the way down in their stretch- of course this little darling wasn't all the way down in any stretches, so she was (mostly) quiet from there on out.
As the lesson continued, she was excited/nervous about learning new things, and freaked out quickly whenever she didn't know how to do something.
At one point, we were doing handstands against the wall. I had been spotting her on several in a row while watching the other girls in the class and giving them pointers as well. A couple of them were excelling so I asked them to go stand on a line on the floor and do their handstands away from the wall. All of the sudden, I looked at new Little Darling and she's crumpled in a ball on the floor, head between her knees, crying.
I gently lifted her head, looked into her tear-filled eyes, and asked "What's wrong, sweetie? Why are you crying?"
To which she replied, "I can't do it by myseeeeeelllllllffff!" and let out a small, teary wail.
"Oh, girl. You don't have to do it by yourself! I'll be here to help you. I don't expect you to get it perfect on your first day! I just want you to keep trying. Besides, you're actually doing an awesome job for your first time, and I'm really proud of the work you're doing."
Her attitude suddenly shifted.
She stood proudly, pulled her arms up tight to her ears, and pointed her little right foot in front to show me she was ready for handstands again.
The rest of the class, she was often uncomfortable and made statements about how hard something was, or that the conditioning hurt, but she kept plugging along. She didn't cry any more, she didn't fall apart when she realized she was the only one in her class that couldn't do a specific skill. She just waited for me to come alongside her and gave it her best effort.
As I left work, listening to Taylor Swift (of course), "Innocent" came on. The words, mingled with the memory of this new Little Darling, suddenly struck me.
"Wasn't it beautiful when you believed in everything
And everybody believed in you?
It's alright, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you've been.
You're still an innocent…
When everything out of reach, someone bigger brought down to you
Wasn't it beautiful runnin' wild 'til you fell asleep
Before the monsters caught up to you?…
You'll have new Septembers
Every one of us has messed up too
Minds change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never too late to be brand new."