Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Your Future Dance Superstar

When the Usurper was born, we received a package from my Uncle Ed who lives now in Pennsylvania. I was very happy to receive a gift from them. Since they live in another state, we don't ever hardly see them. Thankfully there are things like Facebook and I'm kind of sort of in touch with his daughter (my cousin) Heidi. So, word gets around.

In the package was this adorable little outfit that became Lilah's absolute favorite for a while. She called it her "Fancy Dance" outfit, and wore it every chance she got. It came in February, while it was still cold. Long sleeves and leggings did not dissuade her from wearing it in the Summer, though, if she could get away from it.

Around this time, we were also watching a lot of Sesame Street. One episode I remember had a segment on ballet, and Lilah was very interested in it. I asked her, "Lilah, would you like to do ballet? Do you think that's something you'd liked to do?" And she enthusiastically said, "Ye~eah!" She has this really cute, drawn out way of saying "yeah" that I'm going to have to get on video one of these days, but I digress.

My girls were early walkers. Lilah was up on her feet by 10 months old, and she transitioned pretty quickly from toddling to running circles around the coffee table. Singing her ABCs.

Apparently this is video day. I know you're not complaining. There will be a bunch of pictures, too. Where was I?

Ah yes. Dancing. Lilah has always loved to move. She's a mover and a shaker. I even tried to get her on Yo Gabba Gabba when she was a baby, because honestly she was dancing before she was even walking! Here. I have a video of that, too.

As luck would have it, when we moved into our house, we discovered that not only are our neighbors super nice people, but their children are enrolled in a dance studio. We got to talking one day. I don't even remember how it came up, precisely, but I do remember saying, "Oh really?" Perking up. "I've been thinking about putting Lilah in ballet! She really loves to dance!" Next thing I know, a couple days later, my neighbor Lisa was bringing me a brochure from the studio with information on their summer camp.

This is where I'm going to take a minute to do a little free advertising. If you're looking for a school of dance, I highly recommend I'hDe Rather Be Dancing. Looks like they just updated their webpage, too. Not only are the prices very reasonable, but the studio staff is super pleasant and absolutely wonderful with children. Lilah loves it, and can't wait to go back this year. She's super excited about doing tap, which is a new option available to her this fall, too.

ps: It looks like there's an open house August 16th that I'm really going to have to figure out how to get us to, because face painting! That's something Lilah watched a segment on recently and she's been begging to get her face pained. So. Anyone want to check out the studio? I'll be your special tour guide!

Anyway. Lilah loved ballet. There was one month there in which she didn't want to go, but we figured out that it was because she was having embarrassment issues regarding her potty training. One day she watched as all the girls in her class all took a potty break before class started. She stood around toeing the floor, like, "Aw, shucks." Once we got her fully potty trained, wearing panties and not diapers anymore, she took right back to dancing like she was born to it. Maybe she was.

Ready for her first day of ballet class.
I learned a lot of things during our year of ballet. Things I never bothered with when I was a child, such as hair styling and make-up! When I was a little girl, I wore my hair in a short bob or wild and tangled and free. It wasn't until high school that I started pulling it back in a ponytail, when it started bothering me if it was in my face, as far as I can remember.

Up-do's, curling irons, hair spray, bobby pins, barrettes, high ponies, buns, pigtails, braids... All of that? I didn't know the first thing about until I had my daughter enrolled in a dance class. The studio handbook says her hair has to be pinned up during class, and the best I could do was a couple of pigtails in the beginning. But I got a lot of practice in, until I was an expert by the day of her big recital.

First flowers from Grandma Morgan.
Make-up on a three-year-old drives me crazy, but I can deal with it for the sake of recitals, because having worked as the Stage Manager my Junior and Senior years of our high school productions, I understand the importance of cosmetics. As the studio owner and director, Elisabeth Cavallaro, said, "Otherwise they look washed out on stage." I get it. Half the other moms kept insisting they weren't going to do it and cheat the system so their little girls didn't look like... I don't know. They were very adamant against it.

I'm very anti-make-up myself. I don't wear it. As we've already determined, I am just not a girly-girl. That cruel mistress Fate decided that I should give birth to one, though, because ever since the recital Lilah has been asking me for her make-up. I use the eyebrow pencils to paint whiskers and a nose on her sometimes for fun, but . . . child? No. I am not letting you get in the habit of wearing make-up every day just because you want to. That shit's not good for you, and I don't know how to explain it to a three-year-old why!

All of this, for a three-year-old, for one night.
The make-up's sitting in a Dollar Store bag in the linen closet right now, way up high where she can't get to it, yet. I felt gross having to buy it in the first place, but kept reminding myself that at least I wasn't putting her in a stupid beauty pageant. These cosmetics served a real practical purpose, and the Capricorn in me was satisfied with that. The first time I put it on her, I was amazed with how much it made her eyes pop, and how pretty she looked. Not the kind of enticing pretty that sickos and perverts imagine, but a real doll-like beauty that made me just want to cuddle her to pieces. I realized... 

My girl could be a movie star. And I started entertaining dreams of putting together an acting portfolio for her and actively searching for roles to audition her for. Those notions still crawl up to the surface of my thoughts sometimes, but I just don't have the kind of work-motivated energy to get that ball rolling. But I suppose I'm giving her a good start with a background in dance. Who knows? Maybe some day she'll be on Broadway.

Professional photo by Tuesday Photography.

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