Dance Mom

July 1st, 2014

Caroline had her first ballet recital on Friday night. She’s taken 13 weeks of classes and she’s only three and half, which means about 75% of the performance was her staring into the wings to watch the teacher and 25% was her screaming the words to “Deep In The Heart Of Texas” with a giant, dramatic point at the audience for every “Texas!!!!!!!”

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That was pretty standard for the entire class, although there were a couple of girls who you can imagine on So You Think You Can Dance in 15 years (or whatever the 2030 equivalent is – So You Managed  To Not Let Technology and Common Core Ruin Your Life And Are Capable Of Expressing Emotion With Your Movement Directly Into Our Brains??). They’ll say things like “I’ve always loved being on the stage” and “I can just feel the music and connect with it naturally.”

Caroline will probably not be that girl. I mean, this is a really early prediction and far be it from me to crush her dreams in any way and if she wanted to spend the next decade in dance classes I will be NOTHING but supportive. But I do not thing dance is going to be her thing.

Dress rehearsal was…long. And a little stressful. The class is through a local town’s parks & rec department but the instructor REALLY wants the kids to do a good job so she can be capital-I Intense. There may have been some yelling because the 3 year olds didn’t have the laces on their ballet shoes tucked in. There was some public scolding about an improper hair clip. The teacher is basically a SAINT for dealing with. like, 100 kids whose parents don’t care enough to pay for fancy dance but want a recital anyway, but even saints lose their shit a little bit right before curtain.

By the end of rehearsal, when all Caroline had left to do was the Hokey Pokey with the rest of the little kid classes, she lost it. She was the kid – the only kid – who ran off stage crying that she wanted her mommy and didn’t like dance anymore. I left Evan to misbehave in the audience while I tried to coax Caroline back on stage.

When I say “coax”, I mean I tried every single thing I could think of that didn’t involve physically dragging her on stage and leaving her there. I told her she needed to be a big girl. I told her she could quit if she wanted to and we could go home. I told her she was being ridiculous. I promised her ice cream if she would JUST STOP freaking out. I told her everyone got scared before they went on stage and it was totally OK and I loved her no matter what. I told her dancing was FUN and she LOVED dancing and why didn’t she want to do some FUN DANCING on the stage?

I don’t really know what my parenting style might be called, but it is definitely not “consistent”. I have no idea what I am doing.

The next night, before the actual performance, she threw a fit again. I was supposed to drop her off with her class back stage but every time I tried to leave her eyes filled with tears. There was an incident with her hair bow (apparently it was on the wrong side and needed to be moved despite the fact that no one had EVER said ANYTHING about WHICH SIDE it needed to be on before WHATEVER I DON’T CARE) and she started crying again. I went back to comfort her (mistake!) and she started the clinging/crying/yet insisting she DID want to dance cycle all over.

I left. I sat in the audience with all my crossables crossed that she at least WENT on stage, even if she just stood there.

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And she did great! Once she was out on the stage under the lights she performed and hammed it up and blew kisses. She loved the applause and the cheering and being the center of attention. She did both routines as perfectly as I could have hoped from a 3 year old. It was adorable.

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But even though it ended well, I’m not sure how I feel about signing her for more classes. I don’t want to be the mom who pushes her kid to perform when she doesn’t want to. I didn’t like snapping at her not to mess up her hair or smush her skirt. I am embarrassed that I was embarrassed when she was upset and even though she knows I am SO proud of her I don’t want her to feel disappointed in herself if she messes up. I loved dance class when I was a kid but never really loved the recital part. To this day I have that nightmare where you show up backstage and realize you have NO idea how the routine goes.

I am probably (definitely) overthinking this. Caroline is 3. If she says she wants to take ballet again in the fall, she can take ballet again in the fall. If she DOESN’T want to do the recital next June, she doesn’t have to do the recital. I do not have to have a philosophical discussion with myself over Intro Ballet or Beginner Tap and whether or not I am turning into a crazy Dance Mom after ONE recital. If you ask Caroline right now if she liked performing she will say “YES!” and shout at you about the stars at night and their largeness and brightness. That’s really what matters. But I think I learned something about myself and my parenting I am not sure I’m totally sure I like what I learned.

Let’s ignore my poor parenting and just squee over how adorable my daughter is instead.

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Adorable cowgirl themed finale costume handmade by me…HAHAHAHAHA NO, I bought it on Etsy. I could have tried to find her some jeans and a bandanna but this was easier to do from the couch.

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June 29th, 2014

I was going to say we did “nothing” this week, but apparently I am incorrect. We did nothing besides go to the beach and the aquarium and the grocery store and got ready for/attended Caroline’s dance recital. That was more than enough.

Sunday:

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Be quite! I am working on my puter!

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Traitor cat prefers my husband and doesn’t care if that hurts my feelings.

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Footie jams in summer: sighting #1

Monday:

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Outside swim lessons are exciting

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Our collection of Wendy’s kid meal clicky things is now very impressive

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Adorable sleeping hands

Tuesday:

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Beluga watching

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Obsessed with Friendly’s, like all good New England children

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Aunt Amy sent Caroline some costume jewelry. Caroline likes ALL of it.

Wednesday:

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He told me he was sailing to New York City

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There is so. much. sand. in my car.

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Dance recital finale practice is more fun for her than me

Thursday:

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Grocery shopping is cause for fancy dress

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Two of a kind

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Dress rehearsal (The routine was to Deep In The Heart of Texas, which starts “The stars at night, are big and bright…”)

Friday:

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8:30 am, lazy baby. (Footie jams #2)

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You’d think she’s never seen grapes before.

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Falling asleep on the couch is one of the best parts of summer (Footie jams #3)

Saturday:

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Baby prep day! Now we can spy on the children without missing The World Cup…

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We have one extra place to set the baby down (beside the borrowed rock’n’play and the free basket)…

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And I have drunk so much red raspberry tea I might actually turn pink. COME ON BEBEH!

This was one of those weeks where I really love living in Connecticut. The weather was gorgeous, we enjoyed the aquarium and the beach, and I was struck by how small/friendly/nice our community is. We ran into people we knew everywhere, which is a pleasant thing to happen when I’m always thinking “What would happen right now if my water broke?” Not that I would just abandon my children at the park with a friend, but the fact that there are friends AROUND would make going into labor at Target less mortifying.

Two more weeks (and 3 days BUT WHO’S COUNTING) until my due date and if my What To Expect app asks me one more time “Have you had the baby yet?” I’m going to set it on fire.

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June 22nd, 2014

Schooooooools out for summer! Good thing schools not out forever, or I would already be going insane. For now I’m planning to enjoy as much sleeping as possible.

Sunday:

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E is baffled why ANYONE would lie in the horrible, horrible sand, let alone someone who shares his DNA

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The weirdo that made him a father, celebrating Father’s Day at Chili’s.

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Wizards in training

Monday:

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Bed head

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She insisted Baby Jesus needed to come to the post office with us

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The princess demanded a strawberry coolata. Princesses run on Dunkin.

Tuesday:

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Snacks in her chair are her new favorite.

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Next year they will BOTH be getting on buses to go to school.

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Monsters at the grocery store. MONSTERS.

Wednesday:

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Both kids wanted to give the afternoon driver a present. They’re going to miss her.

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Water slide party at Stay & Play!

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Creepy baby watches you in the bath.

Thursday:

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Morning puppet shows

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Afternoon weridos in boxes

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Evening photo assistants

Friday:

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Stroller Strides in our AWESOME Cocoon X2. They love it.

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Free Fanta Orange samples at BJ’s. You can see the crazy sugar high in her eyes.

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MOAR MAGIC SPARKLERS

Saturday:

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I went to a (sad) estate sale where everything left in the house was for sale. I wish there was a way to go back in after the new owners fix it up, it’s going to be GORGEOUS.

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I bought a stool at the estate sale. They are insisting it is a table.

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Chugging her lemonade while refusing her dinner.

Tomorrow we start summer (outside!) swim lessons with the kids in two separate classes. Evan will be with bigger kids who I hope will challenge him. He’s the kind of kid who sees someone doing something cool and immediately wants to know how soon he can do it too.

Tomorrow I also start putting the nursery together FOR REAL because I cannot have a baby when I have NOWHERE to put it. And I would really like to have a baby ASAP.  An outside baby would mean no more heartburn, which at this point is so bad I spend half the night staring at my bottle of Tums thinking “Oh, those kidney stones aren’t SO bad”. Plus after the actual getting-out part my pelvis wouldn’t hurt so much. You KNOW this is why nature makes the end of pregnancy so miserable – because it has to be BAD before you start hoping to push a watermelon out of your lady parts. I am ready for the watermelon.

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June 17th, 2014

I decided a little while ago my goal for 2015 is to apply for Pro status over at ClickinMoms. That gives me all of 2014 to improve and build a portfolio of work I love and am proud of – and because I just said it here, now I have to follow through. I’m also currently taking a class with the very talented Sallykate Photography so my camera is coming with me EVERYWHERE for the next few weeks. I’m hopeful I’ll have a newborn to practice on soon (PLEASE GOD LET ME HAVE A NEWBORN SOON) so I hope you like baby pictures.

These are all from two Sundays ago at Rocky Neck State Park, taken with my Nikon D600 and 50mm 1.4 Sigma lens. Editing in Lightroom only.

The beach was actually SUPER crowded and the water is brown because it was full of seaweed. It was also freezing. Neither kid cared. Also, Caroline loves sand. LOVES it. Rubbed her face in it. Weirdo.

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June 15th, 2014

Fun! Kidney stones! More fun! This week went by super fast, despite the break in the middle for allllllll the painkillers. It was the last full week of school too – Evan only has a few more days and then we’re all going to go work on our tans erry day.

Sunday:

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Morning at the beach…

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…afternoon in the sprinklers…

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…evening at the playground. There was also lots of ice cream.

Monday:

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Apparently this year we love the birds

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She also loves the dumb 5 minute 4D version of Rio

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Battles not worth fighting: Christmas jams in JUNE

Tuesday:

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Guilty face

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Lots of laying down because I wasn’t feeling great

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Cuddles from this weirdo helped with the pain

Wednesday:

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We have the same eyelashes

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Our kid dentist is super fun

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ALL THE DRUGS ARE BELONG TO ME

Thursday:

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When your chart says “Clear liquids” this is the only edible thing they give you for breakfast.

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There may have been a sliiiiight lack of supervision while I was in the hospital.

Friday:

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Kindergarten orientation at his new big-kid school

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She made a nest and passed out

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Everyone wants to sit on Daddy

Saturday:

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Who let this kid get so TALL? (Also pretend he’s not wearing the same clothes as yesterday. It’s another fight I’m not having.)

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MORE couch naps. I have no idea what wore her out.

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Evening walk to play with sparklers

We had a very nice Father’s Day (my husband just finished a rather large pitcher of mango margaritas) and I’m feeling much better. I have a couple of photo sessions this week that should be fun and easy and I have my fingers crossed I’ll get through the rest of this pregnancy problem-free. Technically I don’t HAVE to leave the house again until, like, September, so if I “waste” a few days lying on the couch while the kids watch Harry Potter movies we will all survive. Although like I said, the current plan is to beach it up as much as possible.

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