Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Tonight was Luca's first ever dance class, and in my usual fashion I was running late and we made it into class when it started at 5 p.m. on the dot. I had planned on having 15 extra minutes between getting her at home and dropping her off for class so I could stop at a shoe store to get the required tap shoes I hadn't yet purchased even though I'd signed her up almost 2 months ago. :::deep breath::: Instead, my kid was eating pieces of warmed up steak and chicken and some mashed potatoes her Dad had packed into an Ikea neon pink bowl for her while I desperately waged an internal war of morals vs convenience with myself and then decided to just park in the spot labeled "Senior Center" even though I was actually going to the Community Center next door. And then I was holding her hand and tugging her along while trying to keep my Nice Mommy Voice on and urging her to "Hurry, please!".

Her teacher looked at her pink glitter Minnie Mouse shoes with some level of disdain, asking, "Does she have the required tap shoes?". I chewed my lip nervously. A quick search of the registration page for this class earlier in the day had told me there were 3 little girls on the waiting list. Could I lose Luca's spot for not having the 'required tap shoes'???

"Um, no. I mean...I didn't find them." (Lie. Truth is, I hadn't looked for them.)

"Hm. Well if those stay on, I guess she can wear them. It would have been better if she had tap shoes, though."

Stellar, stellar start if I say so myself.

Parents aren't allowed in the dance room during class, so I waved from outside the window and then snuck away to the nearest Payless for a pair of tap shoes ($27 after tax?!?!) in Size 8. I was back before she noticed I'd left, joining the other moms as we laughed at the adorable tutu'd girls on the other side of the glass. I snapped as many pictures as I could, which was a bit of a challenge since my camera decided just this weekend that it wasn't going to work anymore. Do you have any idea how hard it is for a photo-obsessed mom such as me to send my only daughter to her first ever dance class and not even be able to take 87 photos? I almost cried.

But then I was sucked into watching my girl and all the other girls in class. I was proud of her for jumping right in and not acting scared. I watched her as she watched the teacher, mimicking her moves and always lifting her right or left arm when the teacher called them out rather than mixing them up. I smiled when she was one of the only girls who could somersault on her own, and laughed with Mama pride when she stood stoically by herself, arms clasped behind her back as she watched the other little girls giggle and act silly.

"Mommy," she would tell me later, "some of those girls didn't listen to the teacher. I didn't know all the things she was telling us, but I listened."

She's totally a suck-up goody two-shoes, but she's my suck-up goody two-shoes.

"Spider Walk" 
"Frog Hop"

When she spotted me through the window.

"The Mermaid" ("Mom," she said later, "some of those girls didn't listen and used their legs. Mermaids don't have legs!")

When class was over, she posed for a picture for me, showing off her pink ballerina outfit and almost cracking a real smile. She was proud of herself, for sure, and the butterfly stamp the teacher gave her on her hand for a job well done certainly helped.

She was feeling so brave, in fact, that she agreed to sitting on a ledge 1 floor up so I could try to snap a few pictures of her. Granted, she held my hand the whole time, and as soon as I was done she grabbed around my neck tightly and asked me to carry her to the car.

"Mama," her face leaning into my shoulder, her words kissing my ear, "did you see me? I went right in there and danced, and I didn't even cry for you. I did it all by myself!"

"I saw it, sweetiebird."


"Mommy, a boy in school told me something today."
"What's that, Luca?"
"He said his Daddy told him that boys are strong and girls are fragile."
"Oh? And what do you think about that?"
"I think boys are strong. But girls are strong and fragile. Which means, we're strongest. Right?"
"Sounds sort of right to me, Luca."

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