Sunday, November 19, 2017

How To Cheer Up A Fifth Grader

I could tell she was upset. Her shoulders slumped a bit. She chewed on her lower lip. So I went over to see. And then I saw.



She didn't get a speaking part in the play she had auditioned for. She was in the choir. I could see her staring hard at the paper with the parts listed. Her friend beside her got a speaking part and squealed.

"Congratulations," my daughter said tightly. Her voice sounded a little wobbly.

Another friend also got a speaking part. I could see Natalie teeter a bit.

"Congratulations," my daughter repeated. "You'll do great." She looked at me. "I'm ready to go."

I nodded. My heart squeezed for her. I knew it was tough. As we walked to the car, I could hear another girl burst into tears behind us. "I got nothing!" I heard her wail.

"It's okay if you want to cry," I said. At least that other girl was owning her feelings.

"I know," Natalie answered tightly.

We got into the car. It was silent. Normally my daughter chatters about her day. ("And then Dominic told Stacy that he had enough and Stacy said, no, SHE had enough and stomped away.") It's amusing, really. But now it was quiet.

"There's nothing wrong with being in the choir," I tried again. "I auditioned for so many things. One time I was a tree. I just stood there."

Natalie sighed. "You know, you don't always have to try and be funny. It doesn't work anymore. I'm ten now."

I gripped the stirring wheel. In the past I could get her to giggle with a joke. Or with fart noises. But now. Now. She's ten. She's growing up. The things I could do before aren't always going to work. I'm going to have to adjust how to I speak with her when she's hurt.



"I know," I whispered, and then drove us home in silence.

When we got home I asked if she wanted to talk. She shook her head. A tear slipped down her cheek and she brushed it away.

"You were brave," I told her. "Getting up there and singing in front of all those people for the audition is not easy. Don't ever doubt that. Sometimes you don't always get what you try out for. You know I'm a blogger and I've applied for many jobs and have been declined. You might not feel like you're good enough, but you are."

My words didn't seem to move her. "I just want to be alone for a bit." And I watched as she climbed up the stairs, head down.

I know this is part of growing up. She's going to be hurt a lot. She's not always going to get the part she wants. Things won't always go her way. Middle school is coming. Middle school will get complicated. Middle school frightens me.

I didn't know what to do. Let her stay upstairs?

I was still wondering this when Tommy got home from school. I told him what happened.

"Do you think you could give your sister a hug?" I asked.

Tommy gave me a Look. "Why?"

"Well, she wanted a speaking part and didn't get one."

Tommy blinked. He could not relate. He would hate to have a speaking part in a play.

"Natalie!" I called out.

"Yeah?"

"Do you want to come down? Your brother is home."

Natalie came down the stairs, head still down.

Tommy said, "Next time do better." He has autism, and doesn't always understand what to say in social situations.

He read my expression, which is win for him, and quickly added, "You did your best. Good for you."




A tiny smile played on Natalie's lips. "Thank you, Tommy."

I wanted to keep that tiny smile going so I asked if she wanted to eat at Panera Bread, one of her favorite places.

The smile widened. "Yes!"

I asked Tommy if he wanted to go and he went, "No thank you. The salad you get looks like snot."

(I think it's the avocado that freaks him out. It's slimy.)

So we went to Panera Bread. And Natalie became Natalie again.



“Beth is using Nahara for her speaker so Nahara said she’s not her friend anymore. Beth says I have to choose between her and Nahara and I said I’ll be friends with whomever I want, thank you very much. Gosh, the drama is only going to get worse in middle school, isn’t it?”

(And she meant a mini bluetooth speaker. I was picturing Beth having Nahara doing the speaking FOR her and Natalie was all, "No silly, it's an actual SPEAKER for your PHONE so you can hear the music better.")

Natalie said, "You know, JoJo didn't always win in her dances, and now she has her own company."

I raised an eyebrow.

"JoJo. From Dance Moms. Hello?"

"Ooooo," I answered. "JoJo's Bows!"




"And JoJo's clothes. And JoJo's jewelry. JoJo EVERYTHING."

We giggled together.

"Thank you for cheering me up," Natalie said, placing her hand over mine. I looked down. It was still small, but it wouldn't always be. "I remember that you told me if I just got the choir that I should rock it."



"And that's what I'm going to do." 

50 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh....I know how hard that is. Tell Natalie that Miss Sam competed in so many pageants, and she definitely did not win them all. The losses made the wins mean so much more to me. All she has to do is keep trying, keep auditioning, keep smiling! Be awesome in the choir and put her heart into it.
    I fully expect her to keep auditioning and trying out for things in the future. Her time to shine is coming!! I think she has an incredible voice. You should check around and see if there is a children's theater program in town that she can get involved in or a place to try out some vocal lessons. I started taking voice when I was around middle school age and I loved it! I also did children's theater. Sometimes those things at school can be so political (who knows who/whos mom is active in the PTA/ya know..).
    BIG HUGS Natalie!!! My pugs are sending her kisses!!

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    1. She says thank you and she loves the pug kisses! I'll have to see if there's a children's theater around here or voice lessons. She still enjoys singing and says she'll probably try out for the play if they do one in middle school.

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  2. Such a touching moment told in a way that only a Mom could. Natalie is quite mature for her age. I love how she was able to express her disappointment without being offensive to others. Poor girl was hurt. But I can tell she is resilient - which is a quality that so many young ones lack these days. Great job Mom for the loving way that you also handled a tough situation.

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  3. I have to agree that kids need to be comforted through hug and kisses. Especially if it comes from your family members. It helps them and it boosts their confidence.

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  4. Ohh so she didnt get the part but the choir is so much better than being a tree in a play!😂 Jokes a side, I am a mum of a two years old girl and I guess all mum feel the same! I dont want to let her out into the world!!! I want to protect her because she is my baby! But thats is not healthy for anyone of us so I have to let her make her own mistakes, experiences ups and downs,ect...all I can do is to be there for her.

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  5. I'm sorry she didn't get her desired part. Good job letting her know she'll do her best no matter what!

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  6. Being a mother one has to be a psychologist too. We have to know when to give our kids their space when to intervene to offer our suggestions as well as how to do so. It is very delicate going sometimes. Always we endeavor to act in our children's best interest.

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  7. It's so hard to see our kids upset, hurt, feeling rejected, etc. We want to take the pain away but like you said, it's all part of growing up. I know she'll rock the heck out of her role in the choir.

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  8. My oldest is 18 now and my youngest is 12. Growing up is so hard. I hate seeing my girls upset, and I relish in the thoughts of how easy it used to be to cheer them up.

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  9. Kids can really be competitive. It's nice to let them learn their lesson and move on. Cheer them to do their best and support them throughout.

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  10. Must have been such a disappointment for her. But that's good that you and her brother were her to cheer her up. And she is right, she has to rock what she got so that she can ask for me later!

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  11. Kids getting cut from try outs at school just cuts me to the bottom of my heart. I am glad that you were able to make her happy. It is hard not to take their pulling away and their attitudes personally but understanding that it is normal can help us as parents to meet them where they are.

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  12. Aw, it is so heartbreaking as a parent when they don't get what they really want. But she has a great attitude about it. She will rock being in the choir.

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  13. Bless her heart, its always feels good when our parent are always there to cheer us up whenever we feel down. Kudos for you for handling it well.

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  14. It's so hard seeing our kids get sad over something that happened (or didn't happen) in school. We try to help them get over it but sometimes it takes time and it's part of the process of growing up.

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  15. Things are starting to hit my son harder these days too. He's 9 so not far behind your daughter. It's only going to get harder from here and I don't even know what to do. It's tough to navigate.

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    1. Childhood and the teen years really can be so hard can't they, you wish you could sometimes just take away the pain.

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  16. Hooray for you all! What a functionally healthy way to deal with not getting a part. Your presence and attention is a model that she will embody for her children, and the love you show - it goes on, passing on to your grand babies to be. I'm so happy to read the post today because it shows that in a world full of EVERYTHING, there is at the bottom, a mothers love. <3

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  17. Aww bless her, I am glad you got to cheer her up in the end, she did so well saying congratulations to her friends as well even when she was hurting so much inside.

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  18. Kudos to you! You are a great mom and you gave her the space she needed to be in touch with her emotions. She is going to be a great and with you constantly supporting and encouraging her, she'll do really awesome things.

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  19. Glad you we able to cheer her up at Panera Bread! She's like me, mention my favourite restaurant and I'm all better!

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  20. Kids grow up way to fast. It is so hard to see our kids get let down. Middle school was tough for my Son. Once he got into high school he excelled.

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  21. Your daughter looks so adorable with a sweet smile on her face. Loved reading bit of your personal experiences here :) Wish she gets to play her fav part in next school show

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  22. This was super sweet! It's too bad your daughter didn't get the part she wanted. I'm glad she's going to do her best in the choir!

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  23. You're such a wonderful mom. Sorry to hear that Natalie didn't get a speaking part. Middle school is just so rough... Glad to hear that all is well again...Panera was a wonderful choice.

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  24. Looks like you handled it perfectly. She's a sweetheart. Food can always make me feel better :)

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  25. You handled her disappointment and discouragement so well! I remember what that felt like as a kid and how much it meant to me that my mom was still so supportive.

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  26. Sorry she didn't get the part but I hope she will try and audition again and again and again and can't wait to hear that she gets the part the next time.

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  27. Ughhhh it’s definitely hard to not get what we want!!!! At least she gets to be part of the show! Glad she gets to at least sing in the choir! She will still have a blast :)

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  28. Aw bless her she was so brave but its true rejection or not getting something that you have worked so hard for can hurt but she took it very well. And it was so nice of you to cheer her up. She will rock the choir part I am sure x

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  29. Oh, how sweet. I have three grown kids each were all in sports, very competitive. They had wins and losses they had to get through.

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  30. Fifth grade is hard because it is such a transitional time with SO MANY EMOTIONS. Here's to hoping she finds her way through her family's wonderful support.

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  31. Ah bless, what a sweetheart - chin up, Natalie, there'll be lots more parts to get in the future!

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  32. Sorry your daughter didnt get a speaking role. I feel its harsh to put elementary school kids through that kind of rejection but I guess it is life. You are right it is to prepare her for middle school because that is truly next level...

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  33. I have a fifth grader too and yes, the drama is super intense this year. Some dram mamas are even involved, sigh. Tell Natalie there would be a much bigger role waiting for her next time.

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  34. I think the toughest past of the pre-teen stage is holding back when they suddenly prefer silence. My daughter is in 7th grade and it’s like learning to be a mother all over again now that she’s started keeping things to herself. I really miss when she told me everything!

    Have fun with rocking the choir! A lot of times that’s better anyway - way less stress.

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  35. I know a lot of friends who are parents that will appreciate this post. Thanks for sharing! ~Suzanne

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  36. Awww my heart! This was bittersweet, brings back some memories. I was trying out for volleyball in grade 8 after making the basketball the season before and got through the selection process but not for volleyball. There will be times where doors close on us but others will always open soon after. As long as she knows how to handle being disappointed and facing hardships at a young age, it will help her with bigger and harder situations.

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  37. I'm right there with you, a 10 year old 5th grade daughter although she is in middle school this year. It's so hard to see them disappointed and not know how to fix it. She's lucky to have you!

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  38. Ah your kids are so adorable. Your family bonds are so tight and supportive. Kudos for cultivating them well :)

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  39. What a poignant and tender moment. Loved reading this. Memories of my own childhood and my mother came flooding back and the eyes became moist.

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  40. i can't imagine how heartbreaking that is when your kid hurts. I am glad she got back to herself - there will be so many opportunities growing up.

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  41. I never wanted choir parts as I can't sing. I might do some things really well, but singing isn't one of them. She will be the best choir member there is.

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  42. You are a great mama, keep up the good work on raising that beautiful family! Thank you for sharing this story.

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  43. WOW! This is fabulous. Keep up the great work and thank you so much for sharing your story!

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  44. I'm so touched by Tommy! And by you! And by Panera making Natalie be Natalie again, because.. yeah. Panera!
    Also, I get declined for blog posts daily! It still hurts each time! Don't tell her that, though. Just tell her to rock that choir. (like you already did)

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  45. This is some awesome advice! You are really great with children.

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  46. First of all, you're an awesome mom! Sorry to hear that she doesn't get the speaking part but it's comforting to know that she's going to rock on the choir part.

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  47. This can totally be tough when they don't get what they were aiming for! This is some really great advice.

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  48. Awww, I'm sorry to hear that she didn't get a speaking part. But girl, you totally handled this awesomely! I hope she gets the courage to keep trying despite this!! Big hugs to her!

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