Ballet success did not excuse poor behaviour

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Life in our hectic household has been even more giddy than usual this week.

Last week my eldest finally got the news she had been hoping for – that she had passed her ballet exam. Not only had she passed it, but done so with flying colours – gaining a Merit award along the way. And boy was she over the moon – she and I both.

For weeks I had been nervously worrying for her, wondering how best to handle it if she got the worst possible news – that she had failed. I was in agony wondering if I had done the right thing pushing her into an activity which largely she is not really that bothered about. How would she deal with rejection, I feared.

She would much rather be tearing around the school playing fields with the boys kicking a football about. She is a definite tom boy. She prefers to wear trousers on a daily basis to school than a skirt or dress. Often her new, expensive, winter coat is shoved carelessly on the muddy ground to be used as a temporary goalpost. Last week I noticed an enormous rip – which looked suspiciously like it had been caused by a foot catching it mid kick.

Our washing machine is constantly filled with her dirty, muddy uniform and the other half has to regularly slave away cleaning mud from her new winter boots. I swear she is worse than a boy.

Her ambitions certainly don’t stretch to being a prima ballerina at Covent Garden, despite my pushy mother wheedling and coaxing. I mean, which mother doesn’t have visions of her beautiful daughter floating around on stage in pristine white leotards and tutus?

However, I have convinced her that this is a good thing to do as it is good exercise (which she loves) and she gets to run around a lot. I have also pointed out to her that professional footballers all do warm-up exercises similar to ballet moves.

But now she has passed her exam and been deemed to be more than good enough at ballet, she has taken a sudden liking for it. She even reprimanded me as I haven’t yet got round to buying the next stage skirt for her. Admittedly I had some reservations about shelling out the vast fortune that the skirt costs only to discover my child had failed and that would no doubt have been the end of her short-lived ballet career.

The only down side (well down side in the other half’s view) is the fact we did (in theory) say we would get her a cat should she pass her exam. Of course being very much like an elephant (in her brain anyway!) she has not forgotten this promise.

So far we have managed to put her off until the summer, as we may well be doing some work to the house before then, which of course would not be fair to any new pet joining the family, we told her.

Instead I thought I would reward her hard work by putting some money towards a toy unicorn castle which she has spied in the local newsagent window. So far she has managed to save half the funds for this, from Christmas money and doing good deeds.

But sadly, just a day after I had resolved to get her the toy of her dreams, she was completely out of line in an incident over the weekend (which shall remain nameless to spare her blushes) and I had to severely reprimand her.

I then told her how I had planned to get her the toy but now, as a direct consequence of her behaviour, this would not happen.

I think this message hit home as all this week she has been very well behaved – thinking twice before doing anything foolish. She has only had one fight about getting out of bed for school and has been really nice to her smaller siblings – even sharing her favourite sweets with them.

I think she may be hoping I change my mind – which I may do slowly, but only at £1 a week I think until she has properly learned her lesson! (Poor mite!)

Anyway, anyone who wants to encourage their offspring in after school activities should visit Sheffield City Council’s website on: