It was concert time at Will’s preschool this morning -- to launch the school’s celebration of the Week of the Young Child . The highlight of the show was the youngest toddler group, which showcased one twirling, dancing, gleeful boy and an entourage of other bewildered kids who all stood stock still through their performance. They were too awed by the crowd to move or sing.
In many ways, Will still belongs in their ranks. I found myself getting slightly nervous as the three-year-olds’ performance approached. Would Will bolt the stage or scowl at the crowd? (Scowling is one of his most recent “I’m feeling shy” defense mechanisms – not a very endearing one of course.)
But Will chose to be politely shy. While most of the kids around him sang and did accompanying motions with varying degrees of enthusiasm, Will seemed to barely mumble the words for the first part of one song and then mostly look around. At one point he shut his eyes as if to block out the crowd. By the second song, he was trying to get comfortable and I watched as he’d almost imperceptibly do hints of the dance motions. A tiny, slow motion tilting of the head instead of the fast-paced head bobbing of his classmates, for example.
So I settled into it and enjoyed watching my little shy guy try to make the best of his stage fright.
Back at home, I asked him if he’d enjoyed the concert.
“Yeah,” he said, then quickly added: “Mom, when I’m singing to a lot of people I just sing a little
bit and then I stop. Because I’m scared of singing to a lot of people. I just like singing to two adults and a lot of kids."
Fair enough, I thought, since I prefer singing to no adults and two kids.