Dreams of my twins starring in CCTV gala are on hold

By James Ritchie ( China Daily ) Updated: 2012-03-29 10:48:52
Dreams of my twins starring in CCTV gala are on hold 

Dreams of my twins starring in CCTV gala are on hold

From the time we found out we were having twin girls, my wife and I have been daydreaming about what their futures might hold.

Typical roads to success such as medicine, science and law have, of course, come to mind. But what really gets our imaginations going is show business.

Yuhong is a gifted singer who never got to pursue the arts, so there's an element of wanting to live vicariously through her daughters. She could picture a CCTV New Year's Gala crowd going wild for the twins' singing and dancing routine.

Things looked promising when, before age 2, the girls had already learned to sing nursery rhyme after nursery rhyme in both Chinese and English.

When they turned 3, it was time to get some structure in place for this venture. We enrolled them in a traditional Chinese dance class.

The teacher, who was probably in her 30s, had an impressive performance resume in China and the United States. She had a confidence and poise that said: "I can turn your kid into a dancer." I felt self-conscious about my posture when I was around her.

The first day of class, the teacher had our twins and four or five other little girls who had joined the class gather in a half-circle. She had the parents go downstairs in order not to be a distraction.

Five minutes later she appeared in the doorway: Our girls were crying and wouldn't participate. They've always been slow to warm up to new situations. They hated going to daycare at first.

The teacher led the rest of the well-behaved 3-year olds through some basic movements like touching their toes, waving their hands and turning in circles.

Our girls, however, spent the rest of the class with their heads buried at our feet, rear ends facing the teacher, looking kind of like ostriches. The next session was a little better, one participated and the other clung to us.

The third class started out well, though our girls were a little fidgety. This time our exemption from the "no hovering parents" rule ran out and the teacher sent us downstairs.

As we listened to the music, the thunks and thuds, and the squeals of delight above, we were hopeful that our twins had finally gotten into the flow.

Class concluded and the teacher took us aside. Our girls wouldn't follow her instructions, no matter how serious a tone she took. They formed their own group of two and watched everyone else dance. Then they ran around and disrupted the class.

We should probably wait until they get a little older, the teacher suggested. She handed my wife back the money we'd prepaid for the next two lessons. We left sheepishly.

I feel certain that the teacher thinks we've failed to impose adequate discipline and so have ended up with naughty kids. She might be right. "Tiger parents" we are not.

But I see another factor at work, the same one that, ironically, we thought might give them an edge on stage: twindom.

When the average person enters a new situation - a job, a cocktail party, a dance class - the inclination is to form connections and blend in. Who wants to be the odd one out?

My girls stepped onto the scene without much desire to build relationships. They each had their best friend beside them already. They didn't particularly care what anyone else thought.

We'll try again in a year or so, when they're more mature. For now, we'll focus on getting them ready for school.

After all, being doctors or lawyers wouldn't be so bad, even if doesn't get them onto the New Year's Gala.

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