My grand-daughter, Sadie, is a two-and-a-half-year-old ballerina.
She has been a ballerina for about 12 months. She’s keen on the outfit, the ballet shoes, the routine and the fun of ballet lessons.
But COVID put a sudden halt to Sadie’s career expectations of being a ballerina. With a moment’s notice ballet became an online activity. Sadie persisted, sort of. She would happily dress for the occasion but very quickly she would lose interest and choose to sit out the class preferring to watch the other children dance and float around. It just wasn’t the same. It’s hard to be a virtual ballerina.
Then excitedly ballet lessons in person were back on. Sadie was up early. Dressed in all her ballet gear, and she was sure that her career was back on track.
But then only two children showed up and she and the other ballerina weren’t allowed to use the props (because you know… germs!). And they had a new teacher who wasn’t as floaty and relaxed as the previous teacher.
Sadie told me that she went to ballet but that she was sad because it wasn’t the same anymore. Apparently Sadie had needed a lot of hugs to get through her last ballet lesson.
It’s hard to manage the expectations of a toddler at the best of times. They don’t understand the nuances of coronaviruses or why something that has been so much fun can change so much in such a short period of time.
I sometimes think that adults can sometimes behave like toddlers. That when we are really stressed we can struggle to understand the nuances of things happening around us because we are so disappointed or angry or jealous. We can act out and be rude or sulk or have a bit of a meltdown if we are pushed to the edge.
That’s why clear communication is so important and why we need to, as much as possible, manage people’s expectations. So that we don’t stress people out unnecessarily; because it can be really difficult to get your head around all the changes that are going on when the messaging is flawed or inadequate.
But the good news is that next term when Sadie goes back to ballet they will be allowed to use the props again and the class will go back (a bit more) to what it used to be. Sadie’s career as a ballerina will be back on track.