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A No-Show

Posted by on August 22, 2012

I was psyched. I was prepared.

  • Camcorder with charged battery? Check.
  • Camera with charged battery? Check.
  • Flexible mini tripod? Check.
  • LED spotlight? Check.

We got there on time. I got a seat up front without any hassle. I setup the camcorder and spotlight on the tripod, which I wrapped around my left knee so I could operate the camcorder with my left hand. I had the camera ready to be operated by my right hand.

I was ready to watch my first child’s first preschool performance and record it for posterity.

But it didn’t happen as I imagined.

Things started going badly before the performance began. A lot of the kids were antsy, but none as antsy as Alex. He was everywhere but where he was supposed to be, touching everything he wasn’t supposed to touch. His teacher had a hard time keeping him under control during the opening performance he wasn’t part of. He was the only one she had to give special attention to like that.

When it came time for the first of two dance numbers, Alex wouldn’t stand still, let alone where he was supposed be. I’d have to watch the video to be sure, but I think he was removed from the performance at least once before he was remotely “in formation”. Once there, he played along – barely. He either didn’t pay much attention when the rest of the class was practicing for three months, or he was deliberately not performing well. He made it through the song, though.

The second song was much worse. He was supposed to put on a mask and wait in a certain spot in order to be part of a choreographed routine (well, as much as you can really expect to choreograph 3-5 year-olds). Intead, he was running around in circles with a couple of his classmates. The others eventually calmed down, donned their masks, and readied themselves for the performance. Not Alex. Instead, he was flopping around, looking at himself in a mirror, nearly knocking over a backdrop, and generally making a hyper nuissance of himself. He was eventually choraled “backstage” and put his mask on. That didn’t last long, though. The details are fuzzy, but I seem to recall him sufficiently disruptive to the start of the routine that he got the Vaudeville hook treatment. I don’t think he ever came back out to join the show.

So there I was, still recording, a little shell-shocked and getting depressed. I vaguely recall getting video of him wandering behind and around the performers. Hardly what I’d prepared for. What was supposed to be a happy first was anything but. As all the other parents were proudly snapping pictures, clapping, uttering “oohs”, “ahhhs”, and “awwws”, I was feeling glum, disappointed, hurt, and embarrassed. If Alex was feeling anything but defiant and triumphant, he didn’t show it.

Did I do something wrong? Was alex punishing us for something we did or said? Was he rebelling against his teachers? Is he anti-social? Does he have ADHD? Is he just a jerk?

Alex’s behavior after the performances was embarrassing, too, but this feels like a good breaking point. I’m still processing the experiences and might write a follow-up post later that picks up here.

Any advice regarding what went wrong and how to avoid a repeat in the future would be greatly appreciated.

*sigh* Man, I’m still bummed…

Addendum: Comments on Facebook made me realize that I’d left out context that might be relevant. Saturday through Monday Alex exhibited the kind of obnoxiously defiant behavior I would have expected from a rebellious teenager. The apparent contempt and disrespect were shocking. We don’t know what’s causing it, let alone how to stop. Heck, we didn’t even know preschoolers (however precocious) we capable of that kind of sophisticated behavior! Anyhow, the point of bringing it up at all is that Alex’s embarrassing non-performance was a continuation of previous behaviors (with a brief respite on Tuesday), and not an isolated incident.