Having your first child is quite an eye-opener. You don’t know what to expect, and, in your inexperience, you don’t realize that some of the more challenging stages are only temporary. Thank the good Lord! Being the mom of a little girl has its own set of challenges. Every little phase or whim comes with a bit of a learning curve. “When life deals you lemons, make lemonade!” Below, I have listed a few of those “sour” lessons pertaining to dance.
Lesson 1: Make sure to have an extra pair of tights.
The first recital my daughter ever danced in was traumatic, to say the least. My husband was out of town coaching his son’s baseball team, so i was flying solo. I had planned to drop her off at the theatre early, run to the store to buy her flowers, and be seated for the beginning of the performance. Like I said, I had PLANNED it that way. I got her dressed in her first costume and fixed her hair and make up. “Okay,” I told her, “Mommy has to get dressed now. It won’t take me long.” As she headed out of my bedroom, it occurred to me that I needed to go potty before I got dressed. As I was lowering myself to the toilet, I heard the door chime beep, and it quickly occurred to me that my daughter was going outside to show our neighbor “Miss Kelly”, who had been working in her garden, her beautiful self, all dolled up in costume and makeup. There was only one problem…she had no shoes on over her tights! It felt like one of those movies when a scene moves in slow motion. “NOOoooOOOooOOOooo!” It was too late! As I rounded the corner, I saw her do a pirouette while she was watching her reflection in the glass door. Nylon tights are not meant to hold up to twirling on exposed-aggregate concrete! Just sayin’! There she was with two toes poking out of her brand new tights! Deep breath!!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!
Lesson 2: Keep Costumes, Accessories, and Shoes Close.
When there are twelve excited, squealing little girls trying on their much-awaited recital costumes for the first time, check to make sure you get all of the costume pieces back in your bag ensuring another mother hasn’t mistakenly taken half of YOUR child’s costume home with her. Shortly after witnessing her putting her little piggies through her tights, I checked the costume for her second performance to make sure that all the pieces were together. Half of her costume was missing! Breathe!!!!!! Of course, my bottom being still puckered after the tights incident, I wasn’t the most tolerant version of my self. I called the studio in the rare chance that they were picking up stage props, and got ahold of her teacher. She hadn’t heard of anything being turned in. Time to panic!!! Of course, I thought my child was the culprit! “Grace, what did you do with your costume? I told you not to play with either of your costumes until after the recital!” I am sure I was looking just short of demonic at this point! “Mommy, I promise I didn’t play with them!” Like I believed her! I remember saying I didn’t hang on the towel rack and pull it out of the wall, even after the third time! What was I to do??? If I kept looking for the missing piece, she might not make her first performance. Because my husband was out of town, I couldn’t send him ahead with our daughter so that I could keep looking in her room. I was certain that she had played with it and stuck it somewhere obscure. Ultimately, I decided to take her to the theatre and leave her with her dance team while I went back to look for the missing piece. I was rattled!!! When I got to the theatre, I told my friend the situation and she said she would stay with the girls and call me if someone came with an extra costume piece. I raced home and looked frantically through her drawers, under her bed and in her closet. Nothing. My phone rang and, lo, the missing piece was found! One of the moms said she sent an email to the team when she realized that she had an extra piece. Funny, no one else had received the heads-up. Regardless, it was my fault for not being more careful. I can assure you, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!! EVER!!!!
Lesson 3: Invest in a Laundry Basket to Carry to All Performances.
My daughter has started performing with her school’s Competitive Dance Team. It isn’t hard core at this stage, but I know if she continues, it will become more intense. After my earlier debacles, I am very open to anything that will alleviate stress on “game day”. My daughter’s coach recommended a laundry basket to keep all items necessary for her performance. BEST ADVICE EVER!!! It holds a kaboodle (like a tackle box for girls) with her makeup and application instructions, makeup remover cloths, hairspray, bobby pins , brush, etc. It also keeps her costume, shoes, poms, mitts, tights (of course there are two pairs…see Lesson 1), leggings, and team jacket. I also keep a laminated checklist in the basket to look over so I don’t forget anything.
Lesson 4: Do NOT Go to a Wine Dinner on the Eve before a Performance!
The night before last year’s Jamfest Competition, we were invited to a wine dinner. The next morning, we had to leave the house fully dressed including makeup and hair at 4:30 a.m., drive 35 minutes, and check-in with the team at 6:00 a.m. Putting eyeliner and lip pencil on sleepy, miniature lips and eyes with an unsteady hand…let’s just say it can get a little dicey!
When it is all said and done, you find your seat, take a last deep breath, and sit back. As you begin to relax, you watch your little wonder, remembering a simpler time when you were up on that stage with your own parents watching, and think, “MOM, HOW THE HECK DID YOU DO IT???”