DD2 will be performing in her very first ballet recital in two weeks. This is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it reminds me that she clearly did not get her coordination from moi. I don't *do* dancing, people. I shake and shimmy my boobies and butt around but that's about it. Rhythm? Fuggedabouddit. She, on the other hand, is pretty close to being one of the best students in her class. This kid has style, she's got grace and she really has got those damn light-as-a-feather arms which ballerinas are supposed to have. Her mother has arms which are as light as a small vehicle. Secondly, as the one who demands and needs the most separation from her siblings, this is a real declaration of her independence. She is the only one enrolled in ballet, and this performance is all about HER. Nobody else. To that end she has invited her family and various friends to watch the performance, and has declared that she wants to be in EVERY dance (never mind that her class is only doing one, she wants to do them all.) This is her moment to shine and she is milking it for everything it's worth.
So on Sunday was the dress rehearsal for the show. Here I was thinking I would be the calm, level headed, "yeah so my kid is Barishnikov but so what" self. I could not have been more wrong. First, I was totally stressed out about her hair and make-up. Kids in her ballet class (being no older than 6) are not required or allowed to wear make up, but dammit, my kid was going to have lipstick. AND baby pink eye shadow. AND sparkly lip gloss. AND I was going to re-apply it at the slightest hint of it being crooked or wiped away or - heaven forbid - not sparkly enough. Then the hair. DD2's hair falls between her ears and shoulders, so it's not really long enough for a traditional ballerina bun. However, the costume (and Oh.My.GOD. are they cute) includes a red satin ribbon. So I had to get that ribbon into her hair if it killed me - and mind you, DD2 is the kind of kid who HATES her hair being messed with. She considers tucking her hair behind her ears a travesty. I managed to get the bow in (with a half ponytail). She only got peeved when I straightened the bow for the 3,000th time that morning.
So she was all dressed and ready to go, and we're waiting for her rehearsal to start, and she says, "Mummy, my tummy REALLY HURTS and I want to GO HOME." Now normally, laid back me would have gladly whisked her away to the comfort of home. I'm not a psycho-beauty-contest Mom. I feel no need to pressure kids into activities they don't want to do. I knew, though, that this was DD2's first case of stage fright - all the excitement of the costume, hair, make-up, etc just kinda stressed her out. I get it. But there was NO WAY IN HELL I was leaving that dance studio. DD2 was going to get into that room and she was going to plie and feather-arms and prance around like a freakin' ballerina IF IT KILLED HER. I consoled her with stories of my own stage fright..."You know, sweetie, when Mummy was 16 and she had the worst part in the high school play..." After all, this Mummy didn't do dancing as a kid. In part because I had (and have) 12 left feet and small vehicle arms, and in part because my parents just didn't bother. DD2 begged, pleaded, cried (not real tears) to go home. My crappy "I had stage fright too" consolation stories weren't helping in the slightest bit. She failed to realise that if we'd made it this far, she had no chance of backing out. I didn't re-apply that sparkly lip gloss 14 times to have her GO HOME. I didn't brush, re-brush, and re-re-brush her hair and straighten, re-straighten, and re-re-straighten that damn bow....only to GO HOME. I finally got a girly girl through whom I could live vicariously, and I wasn't going to give up that easily.
It took 10 seconds of her friends realising that their costumes were slippery - and thus enabled them to spin around on the shiny studio floor on their bottoms with their feet in the air - for DD to forget her nerves. She looked at them, looked at me, asked if she could have another application of shiny lip gloss...and took off to spin.
Shortly thereafter her rehearsal started. I stood behind the one-way mirror and watched my beautiful, graceful little girl dance her heart out. I cried tears of pride. Not only were her arms floaty as can be, but her hair and make-up were perfect, and she had a grin which stretched from ear to ear. When she eventually came out of the room, I dried my tears, snatched her up and gave her the biggest, most enormous hug ever, and told her just how proud I was of her. "Mummy?" she asked, "What does immensely mean? You said you are immensely proud of me but I don't know what immensely means." "It means, sweetie, that I'm so proud of you that my heart feels like it will burst."
She did what any self-respecting diva in the making would do. She wiggled out of my arms and said, "Hey! Don't squeeze me so tight! You'll ruin my lipstick!"
Monday, November 13, 2006
posted at 2:55 PM