A little over a year ago, my redhead was "invited" - in quotes because it wasn't exactly a request - to participate in his class's Poetry Day. He had to find a poem, memorize it, and then recite it in front of a classroom full of children and parents.
So he found a poem from his favorite book: Sandra Boynton's Snoozers.
The Big Yawn
Will show off its yawn
Anytime you request it.
Both you and your chair
Could fit inside there.
Though I wouldn't suggest it.
He recited it over and over and over again, until he could recite it in his sleep.
In his sleep. Bedtime poem. Get it? Ha ha.
And because this is how these things go, Poetry Day was scheduled on a day when I had to be away on business. And his dad couldn't go. So our amazing Belgian au pair filled in and went in my stead.
And this is what happened.
The teacher called on the redhead. He stood up in front of the class - all his friends, and his teacher, and his friends' parents. And then he turned bright red and demanded that everyone leave. The teacher said no, they had to stay, but maybe everyone could close their eyes. He said okay. So the whole classroom full of people closed their eyes. He recited his poem.
And then he burst into tears.
Because I wasn't there. And because he has stage fright, in a big big way.
In first grade there's no Poetry Day. But there is a Variety Show. Entirely voluntary. My diva, a born show-woman, has been in the Variety Show each of the past three years. So the redhead knows all about it. He had no interest in performing, though. Not until we got an email from a good friend of mine, the mom of another redhead in my redhead's class, suggesting the boys perform together with another friend. I told my little guy, and he got all excited. Why? Because they were going to "Do the Mario." Literally. Two boys in Mario costumes, one in a Luigi costume, dancing for 45 seconds. In front of well over 100 loving parents, grandparents and siblings. In a spotlight, no less.
I figured he'd panic. I figured he'd cry. I figured he'd run off the stage in fear.
He didn't. He totally rocked it. He rocked it right through the dress rehearsal and two nights of performances. He rocked it in front of his brother, his mother, two of his au pairs, and the 100s of theatergoers assembled in the audience.
He's still a little afraid of zombies. And a lot afraid of the dark, though if you tell him I said that, I'll totally deny it. But he's not afraid of getting on stage and pretending to be an Italian plumber in a mustache.
Dance your heart out, kid. You make your mama proud.