This evening was Tristen's first dance class. I'd been stressing it all week long, the "opposite of optimistic" as I'd been explaining it to everyone else. I did my best to conceal my concerns from Tristen; I didn't want to set him up for failure because of my own reservations. But I was worried about how he'd handle it... IF he'd be able to handle it. After all, there are approximately 25 kids in that class, and Tristen has issues with social anxiety, especially when it concerns his peers. I even called Cathy (his dance teacher) the other night and talked with her for a bit, explaining my concerns and trying both to get the information I needed to prepare Tristen for what class was going to be like and preparing her for what Tristen is like.
So I'd spent the last few days reminding Tristen that he would have to listen to Ms. Cathy. That he had to do as he was told. That he couldn't get mad and throw a fit. That he had to keep control of himself and not act out. That he needed to keep his hands and feet to himself. That he wasn't to touch anything that didn't belong to him. Oh goodness, the list goes on and on. When you are dealing with a child who has behavioral issues and is completely blind when it comes to social cues, you "leave no stone unturned." I spent hours upon hours dreaming up all sorts of possible things that might happen, and talking him through how to deal with each one. I prepared him the best I could.
And he did fabulous!
His class is broken up into three half-hour sessions: ballet, tap, and jazz. He made it through all three today, but Cathy suggested that we just start with ballet and tap this year. She said that he seemed to be getting tired after the first two. I think he was getting a bit overwhelmed too, and that's completely understandable. Shoot, I didn't figure he'd make it through the first half hour, let alone the whole thing! So we'll stick to an hour of dance once a week.
To say I am proud of him doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. This was his idea, not mine. He expressed an interest and a desire to dance all on his own. He knew that it was up to him to show me he could do it. All I did was make the decision to let him try, and I finally got one right.
I'll be calling tomorrow to price his dance shoes so he'll have them for class next week. He's earned them. I prayed that God would help him succeed at this. Now I'm praying for his success to continue.