Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ballet Shoes

A couple of weeks after we moved here to New England, my husband was working on a Saturday, so I took the boys to a local school to check out their PTA's annual rummage sale. You'd think, having two boys, we'd be all set in the children's clothing department. But, alas, they are April and December kids, thus opposite seasons in clothes. Anyway. I found a couple of things for AL and BC found a pair of pink ballet shoes. After realizing I would buy them for him, and that they would match his pink hat at home, he announced he was going to find a "ballet dress" to go with them. The search began. After about 15 minutes he delightedly settled on a purple skirt (we were later told it was a "Princess Sofia" costume skirt. Still not sure what that means...).  After we paid for our items BC wanted to don his new treasures immediately. You'd never seen a happier boy walking out of that building in his ballet shoes and ballet dress.

Before we went in I had promised BC we could stop at the school playground for a few minutes on our way out. So we did. The playground, by this time, was pretty busy. I have to admit, I felt some trepidation allowing BC to go play with the other kids in all his finery. I wanted to protect him. Of course I did - and always do. I wasn't sure what kind of rude comments would be made about this boy in the skirt. He's a highly sensitive child, and I didn't want him crushed. But what could I do? I had already made the promise. He immediately started running, climbing, and swinging. It took about 3 minutes before a few kids came over to him. They were a bit older and had obviously just come from their soccer game. "Look!" said one girl. "Look what he's wearing!" My heart started racing. I waited to see how I could support my child and mediate, if necessary, for all parties. "Hello," said BC to the girl. "Ummmm. You can't do that," she declared. "Do what?" he asked. "You can't wear ballet shoes outside." I paused.

"Yes I can."
"Nuh uh. Ballet shoes are for inside only. I take ballet and I know."
"Well, I'm doing it. I'm wearing them."

And that was that. No retort, no argument, no comment whatsoever on the skirt. Nobody cared. The only concern was for the rules of dancing shoes being for inside only. I was proud of my son for standing by his conviction to wear what he wanted to wear, even in the face of peer critique. I was also struck by the fact that this exchange would have gone so very differently had we still lived in the midwest. Of course I'm generalizing, and assuming. But I'm 99% certain I'm right. Yeah, I'm right.