There was an article recently in The Wall Street Journal that described how to help children remember momentous events from their lives. The key was to retell the story over and over and as they get older, relate it to current events. It was a day that I didn’t want big girl to forget, so I planned on making it grand and talking about it often.

It was big girls first ballet recital.

Big girl fell in love with ballet on her own. I don’t even recall how it happened. So at 2 ½ , I signed her up for her first ballet class. On Mondays for the past year, we have been taking ballet at a nearby studio. She loves ballet! There are many mornings that she gets up and the first thing she asks is “I have ballet today?”. To round her out, big girl plays soccer and takes swim class in addition to going to preschool. But her true love is ballet class.

With that comes a lot of ballet clothes. We have leotards, shoes, and tutus, of course. I thought it was cute to get her rain boots that look like tie-up pointe shoes – they immediately became her imaginary pointe shoes and have never left the house let alone get wet.

There are many mornings that big girl dresses herself and puts on a ballet outfit even though she does not have ballet. We finally had to draw the line and declare no more leotards at school when she couldn’t get it off fast enough one day and had a potty accident. But now, she wears them around the house on any given day and wears ballet inspired dresses outside the house.

Her favorite thing to do is reenact a scene from one of the many of her ballet books where the main character dances down the frozen food aisles. So, when we go grocery shopping, you can find big girl twirling down the aisles in her tutu. During these outings, we usually get asked at least once by a stranger if today is ballet day. We then have to explain that no, she just likes to dress this way all the time.

So, I was very excited when we signed up for the winter/spring ballet session to hear that the children would be working towards a recital at the end of the season. And the big day is here.

Getting out the door to the recital was half the battle.

Costume, tights, ballet slippers, hair ties – check.

In all the books we read, the performers receive flowers.

Flowers – check.

Snacks to keep little girl quiet – check.

Since we were out of town during the dress rehearsal, I had no idea whether or not big girl would have stage fright. We have read so many books about ballet and ballet recitals that I simply told her during breakfast that now it was her turn to go up on stage.

We arrived at the auditorium with plenty of time. We made some last minute changes to her monkey costume. I then sat her with her class and took my seat. If you have never seen 2 ½ – 3 year olds do ballet, it is a very sweet experience no matter what they end up actually doing on stage. At that age, their teacher is in front guiding them through their performance. As they get older, the teacher gets further away.

Big girl did a really nice job – she followed along and did her monkey dance the best that she could.

I was so proud of her for going up on stage and dancing that it brought a tear to my eye. It also really made me feel like a mom. I have been proud of big girl for life skills accomplishments – like walking and talking. Those are things that every child will do. But today, she got up on stage on her own accord. The curtains slid open, she did her dance and took a bow. I was a proud mother and it felt a little strange inside.

Little girl also did a nice job. Because each performance was short – she sat still and quiet and watched intently. The colorful costumes, lights, and music really caught her attention. What was curious was that although my husband and I clapped enthusiastically for each group, little girl was very subjective about which group got her applause ☺.

At the end of it all, we gave big girl her flowers, had a few cookies with her ballet friends, came home and took a long afternoon nap.

I have no idea how long big girl will continue to take ballet. But, this is a day I plan on talking about often in hopes that when she is grown, she can still remember the first time she stepped on the stage.

What things have you witnessed your child choose to do on their own accord?  

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by A. Roselyn of California, USA.

Photo credit to the author.

Angela Y (USA)

Angela Y. is in her mid-thirties and attempting to raise her two daughters (big girl, R, 3 years; little girl, M, 1 year) with her husband in San Francisco, CA. After spending ten years climbing the corporate ladder, she traded it all in to be a stay-at-home mom! Her perspective of raising a child in the city is definitely different from those who have been city dwellers all their lives, as she grew up in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) surrounded by her extended family. Angela Y. and her husband are on their own on the west coast of the United States — the only family help they receive is when someone comes for a visit. But, the lifestyle in San Francisco is like no other for them, so there, they stay! This exercise conscious mom is easily recognized, especially when she is riding around her husband-built bike with two seats on the back. And, when she’s not hanging out with the girls, you can find Angela Y. in the kitchen. She loves to cook for her family, especially dessert, and then eats some herself when no one is looking! Sneaky, mom!

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