We have survived! The marathon of endurance and strength is over after four long days. It was all very stressful for the Mommies, and for the Daddies and family who sat through multiple 4 hour shows as well. I must admit though that Little A thought it was the greatest thing ever. She enjoyed every second of it and is ready to run back onstage and perform again. I also must admit that once we got into the groove in the dressing room it wasn’t as difficult as it was the first night. Keeping 3, 4 and 5 year olds occupied during the long wait between their performances was the most difficult part, but I learned a few lessons to use next year (if she still wants to take dance by then).
Lesson number one- all children would rather play with toys that other Mothers brought instead of the arsenal that you schlepped in. New and interesting or not, if it belongs to someone else it is much more exciting. (Also- portable DVD players are a gift from God. See photo below for proof.)
Lesson two- other children will run around the room to occupy themselves during the long wait times. This will entice your child, who will be deeply offended that you do not allow her to rip around the room like a scalded cat. She honestly does not care if she ruins her $50 costume at that moment, but she would when it was time to go onstage. Take a walk, go outside, pace the hallways to hear tiny tap shoes make cool clicking noises. Do anything to get the romping children out of your line of sight.
Lesson three- bring ice for the soreness that will come from biting your tongue. The Mom part of me wanted to correct kids who were running wild. The teacher part of me wanted to correct kids who were running wild. I think I literally bit through my tongue over the course of the recital weekend.
Lesson four- you can never have too many bottles of spray glitter, because not every Mom will bring it but ALL little girls will beg for spray glitter. The whole point of recital is to play dress up and put on sparkly things, correct? Also- even if you feel a little “Toddlers and Tiaras” about it, put some light makeup on her. A little mascara and lip gloss for a few hours is part of the fun- Little A kept saying “I wook wike Mommy!”. (Just don’t go full on Tammy Faye Baker- all things in moderation, remember!)
Lesson five- by the third and final day of recital be prepared to be exhausted. Be pleasantly surprised that even without a nap all weekend, your three year old will have behaved much better than you expected. Thank the Lord in Heaven that your family has survived all weekend with no major temper tantrums, no meltdowns, no anxiety attacks, and no screaming arguments (among adults for that last part).
Lastly, lesson six- be prepared to be amazed. A three year old who loves to dance and wear sparkly things will forget all shyness when they walk backstage and away from you with the teenager assigned to the task of getting her class on stage. She will grin and hop up and down excitedly, giddy with the prospect of dancing. Somehow my child found a way to be first on stage of her group every time they performed. She radiated happiness, and could have carried less about the audience. She was spinning and dancing and sparkling- and it was the greatest thing in the world to her.
For all these lessons learned, nothing could prepare me for the unbelievable cuteness of those little dancers, joyful to be dancing in the spotlight and loving every second of it. She wiggled, danced, hopped, and was completely adorable. She has asked to watch the video at least 500 times and it was less than 48 hours ago. She is already asking when she can do recital again. For a mother who never danced as a child, this is all very foreign to me. Handsome Husband still hopes that someday she drops dancing to play his beloved soccer, and part of me hopes she will become a world renowned violinist and pianist. For now, she is overjoyed at being a dancer and I am happy to give that to her. It was a lot of work for the parents, and the time commitment and expense was great. Yet through the exhaustion I can see that for her joy, I would gladly do it again if she asks. For now though, all she asks is to be called “Ballerina”.