Despite the fact that Julian hasn’t had much luck over the years with friends, he’s a very social creature. Being a dancer, has made it hard for him to fit in socially, however. Most young male dancers experience this.
For a really social kid like Julian, being accepted anywhere makes him very excited. And when he’s excited, he wants to express himself. In other words, he wants to talk. In his new dance company, he is not only accepted, the 22 kids are like a little family, chatting and texting and hugging all the time.
They have to tone things down when they get into class or when a choreographer arrives. Well…they try. Yesterday, I guess Julian didn’t try hard enough. Ehud Kraus was telling them from the first minute he entered the studio to be quiet.
Yesterday, Ehud was there to work on his piece of choreography. I thought Ehud liked Julian quite well. He jokes with him, even asked the last time he came to TDC how come Julian had never shown up in his studio and offered him a card and told him to come take a class some time. They have a Jewish connection; they talk about Jewish holidays and he calls him a “nudnik,” (we thought affectionately…).
Afterwards, Ehud told me, seriously, “You know Julian is a nudnik (someone irritating or a pain in the rear).”
I replied, “I know.” I thought he was joking again. Then I asked, “Is he a nudnik in a bad way?”
“He talks all the time,” he said. “To himself…to others.”
“Should I chastise him?” I asked jokingly.
He said, “You should discipline him.”
Oh, oh…time to get serious. After class I told Julian, “I don’t know what you were doing in there, but it’s time to stop joking around with Ehud and take him seriously and to stop talking when you are in a session with him.”
Well, Julian got upset (I won’t say how upset…) and said, “I’m not talking that much.” Okay…this mom doesn’t believe everything her son tells her. Julian tends to always tell the same story. He’s pretty good at denial. He went on: “Some of the other kids kept asking for help, and my group would go over to help, and then Ehud would look over at us and yell, ‘Julian, stop talking! Be quiet!'”
So, who’s story is correct? My sensitive little son believes he was wronged. Ehud believes my kid was a disruption.
I know that he can get overly excited…by a teacher who seems friendly and fun…by kids who are accepting and desiring of his attention and help…by simply dancing with other kids.
I also know that his feelings were hurt. (Actually, it’s pretty amazing how our sons, who appear to have such hard shells on the outside, are such softies on the inside. Well, I’ve always known this about Julian, who is as sensitive a kid as they come.) He felt singled out when he wasn’t the only one doing something wrong. Could it be that in this case a boy stands out as a trouble maker? Are the girls seen as the “good” ones and the boys as “bad” ones? Are the girls the well-behaved students who are quiet, proper and subdued and the boys the overly active, rambunctious and loud students — and, therefore, the ones assumed to be causing a problem?
Or could it be that because Julian has a relationship with Ehud…because of the connection he formed with Ehud, he was singled out…expected to behave differently?
Or, dare I say it, could my son – yes, my lovely, well-behaved son – have simply spent more time goofing off and talking during the choreography session than working hard? (It wouldn’t be the first time.) I wouldn’t doubt it for a minute. (Does that make me a bad mom?)
In any case, our discussion escalated into Julian complaining about only being told what he does wrong rather than what he does right when he is at TDC…Ah, you can see where this is going. It wasn’t pretty or pleasant.
Another long drive home with a sniffling, upset kid, and me wondering why I spend my time driving back and forth to the studio and paying tons of hard-earned money for “this.”