O's anxiety and her desire not to stand out from the crowd meant that she was always hesitant at dance lessons. We persevered with the lessons because O had a made a few friends at the studio that she attended. The problem with dance lessons and O was that there was always an underlying pressure to be the best and O doesn't have a competitive bone in her body. At the present moment, there isn't an ounce of competitiveness in her!
Dance also required O to step way outside of her comfort zone and this feat often caused O to be crippled by her anxiety. O would often become incredibly despondent when she saw her dance friends progressing through the stages and she would be stuck at the beginner level.
We figured that the Scouting movement would be a great social activity for O as there would not be any pressure to keep up with her friends. If O wanted to earn badges she could and she could progress as fast or as slow as she liked.
O thrived in the Joey Scout group that she attended but the day that she turned 8 she told us "I'm not going back to Joey's, I'm old enough to go to cubs now!" This kid is a stickler for rules!!
The first term of this year was a bit of a write off for O and Cubs, her anxiety got the better of her and we only went a few times. We're nearing the end of term 2 and I can happily report that O has not only been going to the weekly Cub meetings but she has also been invested as a fully fledged Cub.
Both Daddy Superhero and I went along to her investment ceremony and immediately afterwards she came over to me and said "well I'm invested now so you can go!" Thanks child!! Really felt the love that night!!
A few weeks ago O was told about an upcoming sleep over that the Cubs were having at the hall and of course O wanted to go. Now O has only ever had sleep over with her grandparents and when we mentioned that it would only be the cubs and her leaders, you can imagine the level of anxiety that she started exhibiting. We had tears and tantrums and eventually we came to an agreement that if either myself of Daddy superhero were able to go, O would be able to attend.
After speaking with her leaders, I ended up volunteering as one of the adult helpers. What had I got myself in for!! Five adults and sixteen 8 to 10 year olds sleeping in tents in a Scout hall with no heating on a cold night!!
O initially wasn't particularly happy that I wasn't able to sleep in the tent with her but she overcame her anxiety and accepted that if she was going to stay for the sleep over, that was going to be the sleeping arrangements. Her mind was put at ease when she realised that she would be in the same tent as one of her friends.
O's anxiety raised its head a few times but I was incredibly proud of her as she recognised the early warning signs and took herself away from the noise and busyness and had some quiet time to compose herself before rejoining the group.
Prior to lights out for the night, O made several trips over to where I was "just so that I remember where you are." I also warned her leaders that they may have a torch light shone in their eyes during the middle of the night if O forgot where to find me!
I can happily report that O slept through the night in her tent and only came to me at just after 6 in the morning. She was one of the few cubs who didn't get up through the night to brave the cold to visit the outdoor toilet. She was also one of the few cubs who didn't yell at the passing freight trains to be quiet! She didn't ask to go home at 3.30 in the morning. She also didn't go and raid the kitchen for a packet of biscuits at 4 o'clock in the morning!
The sleep over made O step out of her comfort zone and she survived! She's already talking about the next one!
And me? Well I also survived the Cub sleep over, although we need to invest in a swag of some description. Soft fall gym mats are not as comfortable as they appear to be! I not only managed to get some sleep but I also wowed the cubs with a science experiment during the science demonstration. I also learnt a new trick on how to convince 16 children that they stayed up later than they actually did! We turned the clocks forward an hour!!
And on the badges front, O earned her very first achievement badge this weekend. O's swimming instructor signed off on the swimming badge. Needless to say O is very proud of herself and rightly so.