Friday, February 19, 2010

Little Miss Dragon

The martial arts studio was unexpectedly crammed with a larger than usual audience yesterday afternoon. It was test day for Daisy’s Little Dragon class. Violet was with me because I cut out the little bit of daycare I had left on Tuesdays and Thursdays to make room for the new $75 a month Little Dragon bill.

I was sitting next to the nice lady I talked to before . . . the one that I talked to about asthma and alternative medicine when Violet was sick. I was irritated because she had brought a friend and her kids, and they were using too many damn chairs. I wedged myself next to her and plopped Violet on my lap. Violet had zero interest in watching her sister progress through the various forms, so I handed her a Leapster with the sound turned off.

The announcement was made that every kid was going to get a chance to kick through a board. Several members of the audience could be heard murmuring something like, “But my kid doesn’t know how to do that! S/he just started!” The room was tense. I wasn’t really prepared for all the hullaballoo either but Daisy rolled with it. Luckily, I had my camera in my purse. I tried to take pics around Violet’s head but most turned out to be fuzzy, crooked or the second after something happened.

As the kids were practicing their kicks, one of the boys screamed in pain. I looked up to see that it was the boy next to Daisy. The kid ran off to his mama and the teacher, who sounds stern when addressing his students on the mat, asked Daisy, “Did you kick him in the face?” All eyes were on her as she faced the teacher, “Yes, sir. It was an accident.” The teacher replied, “Don’t you think you should go see if he’s OK?” Daisy froze and didn’t answer. She didn’t move. I could see by the side of her face that she was trying not to cry. Violet suddenly took an interest in what was happening on the mat, “What happened to Sis?”

My heart went out to Daisy. She often gets intensely anxious if she thinks she’s about to get in trouble. She can’t even watch a cartoon if a character is about to get in trouble. She’ll beg me to turn the TV off or run to her room. I know it took every ounce of her strength to not make the run of shame to her mama. The teacher could see that Daisy was mortified and softened his tone, “Are you OK?” Daisy nodded, “Yes, sir.” The mom took the crying boy out of the room and one of the teaching assistants followed her with a first aid kit. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t momentarily – and I mean JUST FOR A MOMENT – proud of my daughter’s dangerous moves.

The lady next to me kept referring to me as Mom throughout the class as she and several others giggled at Violet’s monkey behavior, “Mom, you’re getting so much love. She’s all up in your personal space.” Yeah . . . you too, Lady. Violet tried to make out with my face to get my attention off her sister. She turned on her Leapster at full volume to totally disrupt the class. She jumped off my lap to tear through the aisle of parents, trying out a few karate moves herself. She called out to her sister. She ate goldfish, scattering crumbs around the non-goldfish eating, buy local, don’t-eat-the-poison-of-the-masses audience. I thought about mentioning nonchalantly, “Of course, that’s organic, LOCAL goldfish” but the bright orange crumbs couldn’t be denied.

I started liking the lady next to me again when the splitting of the boards commenced. Three kids were brought up at a time. They were allowed to choose whatever kick they preferred and then BAM, they broke through the boards. Watching each kid go from nervous uncertainty to beaming pride when the board was broken was the best thing ever. The lady and I got teary-eyed just watching it and shared an affectionate smile, from one emotional nut case to another. I don’t know why but ever since I’ve been a mom, there are a ton of weird things that make me cry . . . like makeovers. I had to stop watching What Not to Wear after my concerned family kept finding me sobbing on the couch. It touches me because the made-over person feels so much better about themselves. And that’s what was happening with the kids who were feeling a new sense of their powerful selves.

My daughter was no exception. We went home and she completed an hour’s worth of homework like a champ . . . or should I say Little Dragon. I made some South Beach chili to celebrate. Daisy was a little suspicious of what I was calling a celebration dinner, but she really liked it. You can tell I'm not a proud mama at all. Not really bragging to anyone who will listen.

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