Thank you, Mom Central and General Mills, for sponsoring this post.
Lila’s nature is to perform. If life were a drama class, she’d get an A+ and a personal recommendation written by the instructor:
“Amazing ability to turn on tears at the drop of a hat. Can project her voice farther than anyone else….”
But this incredibly dramatic and bold part of Lila is not one that others often see. In fact, acquaintances and strangers would think that she is a quiet and shy girl.
Until our recent party line.
Lila – 18 months old
Lila is in her second year of preschool. On the very last day of every month, the class puts on a mini-concert. They sing all of the songs that they’ve learned that month, they respond to the prompts of their teachers (“What sound does THIS letter make, boys and girls?!?!”), and they show how adorable and precocious they are to their enamoured parents.
They do this while standing on the party line.
It’s a long piece of tape on the floor at the front of the room – a line where every classmate stands, and faces their audience.
Except for Lila.
Lila has not once stood on the party line. In fact – except for one very short song in the middle of last year – she has not even stood near the front of the class.
We would sit near the party line, while Lila clutched my arm, and I did my best to mimic the actions of the teachers and children. See?!? Mommy’s doing it! It’s so much fun! Do you want to try?
Every month I tried. Every month I would frantically flap my hands around and sing the words, to make up for the fact that Lila would. not. do. it. Not even if you paid her. Not even if you bought her a pony.
Desperation, thy name is Mother.
Then a funny thing happened.
September ended, and a party line was waiting for us. I was ready for the One Woman Show to re-open her act.
Instead, Lila woke up that day and announced, “Mommy, I don’t need you today. I can stand on the party line by myself.”
I smiled, and said, “Of course you can.” I was encouraged, but fully expected to be wiping tears by the end of class.
And then she dropped my hand and took her place in line.
She beamed as she walked out with her classmates. She pinky-waved at me from the front of the class. She sang the songs, waved her arms, and answered questions posed by her teacher. She stood there – for the very first time – without anyone but herself and her classmates.
My mouth hung open, I’m sure.
A mom put her hand on my shoulder during the performance and whispered, “Go Lila!”
The mom next to me said, “Who IS that kid!?!?”
And after the class had ended, parent after parent came over to congratulate Lila. She had done it. Her very first party line. All by herself.
I wasn’t the only one proud of her. It seemed as though every parent who knew Lila – who had seen her sit with me month after month – was thrilled for her. It was a collective burst of excitement. This was a first. And it was big.
And how did I feel? It was like the very first time that Lila counted from 1-10 all by herself. The reaction you hear is the one that I had in my head on Party Line day:
Yes, that’s how I react to counting to 1-10. I’m not exactly a quiet person…
We’ve had many firsts in our house. And the funny thing with firsts is that they keep happening. There will be more moments where my kids knock my socks off. Where their abilities suddenly surpass all of my expectations.
And yet that burst of pride is still the same: That’s my kid up there. And she’s amazing.
Cheerios wants to be a part of your child’s “firsts”.
They’ve launched the First Cheerios Mosaic – a collection of pictures of kiddos enjoying their first snack of Cheerios (often a first food for wee ones). What’s crazy awesome is that the mosaic is published on a limited edition Cheerios box!
The 2013 First Cheerios Mosaic box is in stores right now – look for it the next time you shop!
Upload a picture of your child’s First Cheerio moments to the Cheerios Mosaic, and your child will be on the 2014 box!
And while you’re at it, visit Life Made Delicious for a $1 off coupon. Why not save a buck!?!
Disclosure – I am participating in the FirstCheerios blogger campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Kelly @ A Swell Place to Dwell
Oh man I love this…what a cute story. You crack me up and make me laugh almost every post. and YAY LILA!!!! I am not quiet either so I will cheer for her too.
Oh good – two loud ladies to “woot woot!” together! 🙂
And the admiration is mutual, ma’am! 🙂
I’m a grown woman and I still probably wouldn’t have the nerve to stand on the party line b/c I am terrified of public speaking. So kudos to Lila!! 🙂
Oh, I’m sure that I would be the same way. I can speak in front of an audience of teenagers (i.e. teaching), but speaking in front of my peers makes me feel queasy. It’s the strangest thing!
Shannah @ Just Us Four
This is such a great story! Isn’t it amazing how one day something just clicks and they decide to do something all by themselves that previously they needed you for?! It is both heart warming and heart breaking at the same time because you realize they are growing up.
It was completely amazing! I was amazed at her determination to do it all by herself. Like you said, it’s like something “clicks” in their brains – suddenly, they’re a brand new person!
amy @ one artsy mama
How cool would that to have LC’s pic on a Cheerios box?! Awesome!
Oh, I know! It’s such an awesome idea! (and a keepsake!)
Wow, what a beautiful story, Tara. Tell Lila that she has a proud fan all the way in Ohio! 🙂
Oh, I will, Marilyn! Suddenly this child enjoys the limelight… who knew?!?!?
Awwwww…I LOVE that! Not only is a great moment for you to witness the idea that’s it’s called ‘standing on a party line’ – well that’s just awesome! What a cool way for a kid to find independance and confidence 🙂
Parenting high five to you Tara!
Thanks, Becky! Yes, it’s a great way to help kids find their voices and their confidence at a young age.
(Though I will admit – I DETESTED the party line all last year. Mainly because I was anticipating my own “performance” and not really enjoying it the way I was supposed to. What a difference a year makes!)
Way to go Lila! So proud of you!
I’ll tell her that you say that! She’ll be thrilled to hear it from Aunty Shari! 🙂
Lauren @ The Thinking Closet
Such a beautiful story, Tara. Seriously I could read your writing for days. (Yes, indeed I do foresee an eBook in your future….) And my favorite part was definitely hearing your scream at the end of that video. No wonder Lila has the courage to take on these firsts…she has such a supportive, cheerleader of a Mama!
Loved learning about Cheerios celebrating “firsts!”
Oh, thank you, Lauren! I so appreciate your encouragement about my writing. Maybe one day it will become something a bit bigger than this! 😉
Yes, I’m a “whoop!” er. I can’t help myself. I would make an excellent Hockey Mom.
And yes, the Cheerios box is such a cool idea!
This made me cry. What a great story. I’m sure that your performances were fabulous, but what a thrill to hear that Lila did her own this month. Awesome.
Thank you, Terry. I admit, I was puffed up like a peacock when we left preschool that day. “My kid kicked party line ass!”
Lila’s incredible performance aside, I think I’m a pretty good party-liner. I’m one of the loudest singers! 🙂
Oh Tara! What an amzing story! How proud you must ahve been of your little Lila! And what an amazing storytelling talent you have!!! Wow, you had me right there sitting next to the party line with you, clapping my hands and signing along, haha!
Go Lila Go!
I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, Nat! I’m a chatty gal, so I love to tell stories.
I am quite proud of my little chickadee. It took a year, but it was worth the wait!
Oh I love your video!! What a great day for your little one! AND how much fun to be on the box of Cheerios!
Oh, I know – how awesome would it be to be on a box of Cheerios! It’s so much fun for kids (and grown-ups)!
The video isn’t long ,but it says a lot about Lila and me! 🙂
Clydia @ Three Mango Seeds
All of the “firsts” are so special aren’t they?! Just wait for the “teenager firsts!” Tara you have such an adorable daughter, I loved your post! Sharing via G+. xoxo
Oh, those teenager firsts are going to be doozies for me, Clydia! I don’t know how I’m going to handle them all!
Thank you so much for sharing! I appreciate it so much! 🙂
awww, I love it, so cute
Thank you so much, Terri!
Dani @ lifeovereasy
Love that story! Funny how they somehow figure it out when the time is right. She sounds adorable, and I’m sure she felt amazing that first time.
It’s so true – oftentimes, they figure it out on their own! She is adorable (and loud, and dramatic, and sweet, and stubborn…) But yes, she was so proud of herself standing up there on the line. It was such a great day.
Aww how cute! Madeleine is the same outside she’s like a mouse at home she’s the boss 🙂
Isn’t it funny? They’re so “themselves” at home… and out in the world, you’re like, “Who ARE you!?!?”
Meredith @ Wait Til Your Father Gets Home
What a sweet story and a brave little gal :o)
I’m so proud of her! Now… let’s see if this bravery shows up in other areas! (Fingers crossed!)
Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life…
I love this story!
Thanks for taking me back to all those “firsts” It was awhile ago for me but reading about Lila brought it all back!!
Smiling for her… and for you mom!!
Awww… thanks, Cynthia! These firsts are still blowing me away! These kids have a way of surprising us when we least expect it!
What a fun post to read and your video made me smile! Go Lila!
Thank you, Danni! I’m glad you liked the video! It’s short, but strangely, it’s one of my favourites!
What a sweet story!
Oh, thank you, Melanie!
Such a great story Tara! Your little one is one darling and brave pumpkin! It’s so sweet how supportive you are!
Thank you, Shanna! I’m so thrilled that this year is going to be so much easier for her. It makes those months of Crazy Pageant Mother worth it! 😉
Big round of applause for your little Lila!
Thank you Virginia! She’s getting a lot of support here on the blog, too. I’ve been telling her about it!
Tara, what a beautiful post!! I just love reading here!!
Oh, thank you, Adrianne! 🙂
What a great story! That sounds so much like my youngest, who’s now 13 and is still a little afraid of being in front of others. But she joined the church choir last year and I ‘m so proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone!
How awesome that your daughter is slowly coming out of her shell. I wasn’t a very boisterous kidlet (in fact, my face turned deep red every time a teacher called on me… until university!), but now I’m teetering on the loud side of life. A lot can change over that awkward decade of adolescence! 🙂
Shauna @ Satori Design for Living
Adorable story. Now that my son is away at college all of this stuff makes me cry like a baby!
I still can’t believe that you have a college-aged son, lady! I want to know your Fountain of Youth secrets! 🙂
danielle @ 2 Little Superheroes
Yay for Lila! That is such a cute story.
Thank you so much, Danielle!
Amazing what they do in their own way, in their own time! Thanks for sharing.
You’re so right, Karen – they just need to do it on their own! 🙂
Inspire Me Heather
Aw, what a wonderful story Tara!!!
Thank you so much, Heather!
I loved this post….I could picture everything….both as a teacher and a mom. I saw you singing and waving your arms around…I could hear Lila singing from the party line. What a great story and a great first! I’m proud of Lila too!!
Thank you, Sharon! I was quite the sight – and maybe it’s the teacher in me that was just trying so very hard to get Lila to join in. It was almost encouragement to a fault!
We’re all so thrilled with how Lila has become so much more confident this school year. It’s amazing how one summer can change a child!
Great story! Good for Lila. She just needed to be ready.
You’re right, Bronwyn. Trouble is, sometimes the Helicopter Mother in me wants to drag up that “ready” date! 🙂 I’m learning that sometimes, I just need to let it be.