Straight to the point.. Kai has an audition on May 4th to get into a performing Arts school, and I am super nervous. 1. she is not even close to prepared and 2. she has a super degree of stage fright.
She was going to a vocal coach that a friend of mine, Liz, recommended. The first time she went, she appeared less than enthused and less than halfway through the class she literally passed out. That crazy girl had let her anxiety build up so badly that she just fell out right in front of the coach. Of course, we decided to leave and return again next week. We did go back, and my sweet little Kai was not her sweet little self and got kicked out of the session. I'm sure the lady was completely frustrated with Kai's lack of interest and asked her if she even wanted to do this. To which Kai gave a simple shrug. The vocal coach's response.. "well when you're sure, you call me and we can try again." We left that day, about a month ago and have not been back. I don't blame her at all, she was doing us a favor and Kai was wasting her time. Thanks Liz, for the favor!
After that day, I have been periodically asking Kai, "well, what's your plan?" I get the same response the vocal coach got... a simple shrug. (11yr old's have not mastered successful communication skills yet). Sometimes I just shake my head and let it go, other days I am just so frustrated I go on a seemingly endless redundant rant about the importance of this for her education and future. about how she has to make decisions for herself and they're not always going to be the easy ones, but they'll be worth it. I'm tired of hearing myself.. go figure. Up until last week, I'd had in my mind that eventually she'd grasp the importance of this and come around. No haps!
Last week, her music teacher called me "What's going on with our Kai?" I have no idea! "I can sense a lack of disinterest in her, she's lost her spark!" And here I was thinking this was special reaction just for me, oh no. She's behaving this way in school too? *SIGHS* It's one thing for her not to give me any hope, but for her music teacher (who loves and raves about her) to also begin to start losing hope... something has to be done. I had been allowing Kai to make this decision for herself, I can't make her get up on that stage and audition. But after the call from her teacher, I realized I'm gonna have to go about this a different way. I needed to become "enforcer mom" for her own good. "Ikaia, I can't make you sing. But this is not about you singing, this is about your future, your education. What I can do is make your life not as sweet though. What you're saying to me is that you are choosing to accept mediocre for your life. You aren't willing to put into the work to invest in yourself, so why should I feel so obligated to invest in you? Those new shoes you want, forget them. That tv in your room, you're going to miss it. You don't need that cell phone and you don't need a radio (you don't like singing anyway, right?" I felt I had to make her feel some consequence for not making the right choice for herself. No, she didn't do anything wrong, but sometimes not making the right choice is the wrong choice. She chose to make no choice at all, and just accept whatever happened or didn't. As her mom, I just couldn't accept that so easily. Her response: tears! "What are you crying for? I have no sympathy for your tears... I'd be crying too if I decided to not be successful in life too! Go ahead and cry but it's not going to change the outcome of anything unless you're willing to put in the work to make it better." I seriously don't feel like I was reaching her at all. I let her walk away from this tirade of mine and sent her to her room, phoneless!
I wasn't satisfied with this outcome so I went upstairs with all intentions of beating her into submission (don't judge me, I tried every other option over the last two months. Sympathy, nonchalance, force, threats...) Discipline was the only option I thought I had left. I went into her room, belt in hand... the tears down her face kept me from carrying out what I thought I had come prepared to do. I'd asked her many times what was keeping her from doing this. I'd mostly always just get a shrug, or a "I just don't want to sing"... I decided it was stage fright, mixed with laziness, along with perfection issues. The fear was keeping her from thinking she could do it, laziness cause she didn't want to put in the work to be successful and perfection because she was doubting her ability and allowing that to perpetuate the fear. I knew I'd asked a MILLION times before, but this time I sat down on her bed with her, stopped trying to figure her out and simply told her. "Ikaia , I love you and I believe in you. I don't know what's keeping you from wanting to do this. I know you love to sing, it's all you ever do. I hear you sing when you think I'm not listening and it's just so beautiful... I don't know if I ever told you this before but, you're the greatest thing I've ever done. You are my single amazing accomplishment. Not to take away from my own life in any way, I turned out fine. But truth? You are at the top of my achievement list, the best thing I've ever done.You have been amazing since the day you were born. Nothing else I've ever done comes close to you. You are smart, beautiful, kind hearted, funny... as a baby, you didn't cry, you were fun, walking by 7 months, potty trained well before 2, you've always gotten straight A's. I am just proud of you. I know you're afraid. I know everything you've accomplished has always come so easily and you have to work for this, but I believe in you. And you not trying is breaking my heart. I love you, and just like Day 1, I just want what's best for you. I can't control what you do anymore. You're almost grown now, you have to decide for yourself, but I'm just scared that my greatest accomplishment is going to give up on herself before she even has a chance. I'm not done believing in you yet." Tears in my own eyes, I didn't know what else to say. Then she says, "Mommy, I'm scared I'm going to mess up, I'm scared I'm not going to make it in and I'm scared you'll be disappointed in me."
Shame on me! I am NOT the perfect parent. I felt horrible in that moment that she even felt so much pressure to perform to the point she was afraid to disappoint me. I don't know if this is something I could've changed or controlled along the way. Yes, I have a standard for her and yes I vocalize it and let her know there are consequences if she doesn't do her best. But never has she been in any kinda trouble for not being perfect. Or would I even know? She has always performed up to standards... she's had the occasional B, and there was never a punishment. Or a C grade and I'd take the phone for a weekend. But isn't that what I'm supposed to do? I didn't let my own thoughts of parental failures consume me. I felt I had an opening, my 11 yr old had finally communicated and expressed some emotion. I jumped on it!
|Kai saying pledge for Elementary Honor Society|
|Kai giving speech and reading a poem |
dedicated to her mom :) me!
|my cutie in her chorus attire|
|At the Kennedy Center for Wicked! |
Present for her acheivements
|Kai on her way to school! :)|