sabina's first ballet class
today was sabina's first ballet class in her six week, one hour a week ballet camp. she has been eagerly anticipating this day since she began watching the movie leap! i have been anticipating it too, but with mild anxiety. in an attempt to support her love of dancing, i signed her up for this camp months ago. back then it seemed like no big deal for her to be potty trained in time. as the weeks crept closer and we had not yet met this goal, i began to get more and more anxious even though the website and registration mentioned nothing about potty training being required. we have graduated to pull ups and sabina is now able to mostly take care of her own changing. one step closer to using that potty. but we are not potty trained. and that is ok. naturally, i still worried that kids would be jerks and make comments about it. of all the things.
last week we went shopping for her ballet outfit and shoes. she picked a fuchsia leotard and we purchased the required light pink tights and ballet shoes. the store did not have the required brand of ballet shoes. i figured close enough. it's just a six week camp. there is not a recital at the end or anything. but my enneagram one-ness had me stressed over this point. what if all the other kids have the required shoes and my bina stands out like a sore thumb with her wrong shoes and her pull up? what if my failure to find the "right" shoes ruins her ballet experience and she never wants to go back? what if, what if, what if. oh brittain. it's going to be okay, sweet mama. they are two and a half to four years old. cut yourself some slack.
i signed up sabina for a fall class at the studio hosting the summer camp. but it was on saturday mornings and the more i thought about it the more i realized i did not want to have a weekly saturday commitment. so i called and cancelled the fall registration weeks ago. the fall class would have been from 10:15-11:15am on saturday mornings. the summer camp is from 11am-noon on tuesdays for six weeks. i got the times mixed up in my head. this morning i made sure we arrived by 10 so as not to be late. i woke the baby early from her nap. i got sabina all dressed in her ballet outfit and unicorn slip on shoes and told her we had to wait until we got to the dance studio to put on the ballet shoes so they wouldn't get dirty. i waited until the last minute to change her pull up and told her that if she needed to go poop to tell the teacher and i would come help her get on the potty. whatever you do, sabina, do NOT poop in the pull up during ballet class. "ok, mama. i no poop." oh my darling girl.
donning her fuchsia leotard, pink ballet tights, and white unicorn slip ons, sabina kneeled next to the baby to play on the living room floor. i have not vacuumed in over 24 hours so naturally the rug she kneeled on acted like velcro to her tights and when she stood up her shins were covered in black dog hair. ugh. we are a mess. i hastily tried to pick off the dog hair while scooping up the baby. it's time to go! we hurried to the car and bina climbed into her car seat and strapped herself in. i buckled in the baby and then went to bina's side to tighten her straps. all of our stuff packed up and ready to go. i jumped in the driver's seat and headed to the studio. google maps told me it was not open until 4pm. i knew that was not right so i ignored it. google maps told me i would arrive by 10am. perfect. i would have time to spare so we could get in the studio and change bina's shoes, giving her some time to warm up to the new space before class began.
when i pulled up to the studio, i noticed everything was dark. oh no. my adrenaline coursed. is it possible i have the wrong location? i checked my email and verified the address. i checked the time. then i realized the email i was looking at was for the saturday class i canceled. oh no. sabina is going to kill me. she is so stoked for this class. i am going to have to make up a class somehow if i messed this up. i find the correct email and realize my mistake. i arrived an hour early. oh thank god. at least i am not an hour late. we can live with an hour early. sabina started whining, impatient for this long awaited class to begin. it was raining. there was a covered walkway in front of the building with a couple benches. i weighed my options. we could go back home. no. we could find someplace to get out and walk around for a bit. no. or we could just park and sit on one of the benches and wait it out here. i chose option three.
we get out of the car with all our things. i had packed my nook lily pad play mat for the baby. that thing is a lifesaver. i grab the diaper bag with all the things. snacks. water. we cross the parking lot and sit on the bench. i give bina a snack. snacks save moments like these. bina asks where her friends are. i tell her we are early and they will be arriving soon. she pulls one foot up and sticks it under her other leg. i remember the unicorn slip on shoes are dirty on the bottom. oh bina, keep your feet down, please. i do not want your tights getting dirty. but it was too late. dirt smudges on her light pink tights. both legs. a brown mark on her fuchsia leotard. probably from the snack bar i fed her to pacify her. sigh. now she's the dirty kid, the kid with the wrong shoes, and the kid in a pull up. i am a failure at life. and i am soo very early. sitting outside in the rain. i guess we will just have to be the ridiculously early welcoming committee, smudged tights and all.
a half hour passes and someone with a dance studio sticker on the back of their car pulls up and a woman gets out and crosses the parking lot to open the studio. i feel stupid for being so early so i just continue to wait on the bench. forty minutes have passed. a mom pulls up with two kiddos in tow, a baby and a toddler. she brings her kids to the bench next to mine and i ask if the studio is open. maybe the woman who walked in before did not unlock the studio yet. but she did. thankfully all this time juniper is a happy little bug. that baby. i cannot even. i follow the other mom into the studio and come into a very small lobby area. two ikea chairs and some benches. two small square coffee tables with toys and books. we wait as the other moms and kids, and one dad with his daughters, make their way in. a group of the moms catches up with each other and i assume they must have done this before. so far sabina is the only one who followed the dress code closely. one of the moms declares she just bought shoes 15 minutes ago because she couldn't find her daughter's old pair. another mom describes how she saw the reminder email yesterday and couldn't even remember if it was for her daughter or someone else in the family. i've been planning for this for months and picked up the outfit and shoes last week. i thought i was cutting it close. ha. hearing the other moms and seeing how their daughters were dressed put me at ease. we were doing just fine.
eventually the instructor arrives and gathers all the little girls to go to the classroom. there are two rooms at the end of a hallway. neither has windows to see in the room from the hall. the group of two and a half to four year olds timidly walks into the room and sit down on purple spider web stickers arranged in a large circle. the moms hover just outside the door with cell phones in hand, trying to snap photos of their precious tiny humans in their first class. i get my photo of bina and then walk back down the hallway to the small lobby.
i see the lone dad sitting on a bench and ask him how he is doing. he says that his four and five year old daughters are in there and they have tried classes before but each time one or the other would come out crying after 15 minutes. this makes me feel at ease too. sabina is rather timid in new situations. if she is not completely comfortable, she is chewing on her hands and licking her arms. not saying a word. i was also concerned this would be the case. that maybe she would not respond when her name was called. that she would not follow directions. that i would be judged as a parent. that my failure to raise her well would hinder her experience. again. oh brittain. so so so much grace. mama, you are doing just fine.
i find the chair where i left my belongings. i place juniper on the orange nook lily pad mat. she plays happily on the floor for a bit.
i listen to the conversations of the other group of moms. one of them turns out to be a member of my bible study fellowship class. we end up talking adoption because she and her husband are at the beginning of the process submitting their application to the same agency we are working with. i realize i love this part of being a parent. taking my children to different activities with different people and networking with other parents, usually mothers. we moms, we are a lot alike. we are all winging it. trying our best. loving our littles and trying to involve them in things to give them opportunities to express themselves and make new friends. the class passes quickly as i care for juniper and make conversation with the mamas around me.
soon the instructor's aid comes out and asks the parents to come to the classroom. all of the little girls made it! a full hour. the parents get up and walk down the hallway to the classroom. we walk into the room as our little girls are coloring a page on the ground. on the paper is a picture of ballet pointe shoes with ribbons. bina chose to color in purple, brown, green, and yellow. she catches my eye and i smile at her. the instructor asks the girls to line up by the wall so she can take a picture. she helps assemble them and then steps back with her phone to capture the picture. asks the girls to smile. all of them give some sort of smile. except for one. my sweet bina. she pulls her arms up over her face, sticks her hand in her mouth. licks her fingers. oh well. small wins. she made it through the entire class and did not poop. that was really all i had hoped for. and she was comfortable coloring when i walked in. after the photo is done the instructor declares that the class went great, no one cried! ha. she asked if the class description said they would be making tutus. i responded with an emphatic yes. apparently the only one who read the description. ha. of course. the instructor states that they will make them during the fourth class and they will give a little show for the parents on the last class. david had said he hoped to make it to that. i cannot wait to see what they do. even if bina is sucking on her hands the whole time it will be adorable.
i share this story because it shows how incredibly hard i am on myself as a mother. how much i am worried about what others think. and then how much i realize how normal i am when i get around other mamas with littles and see that even when i think i am failing at life, i am probably killing it. ha. on the way home from class bina asks if we can go back again tomorrow. she likes her new ballet friends, she says. not tomorrow, sweetheart, but we will go again next tuesday. at 11am. not at 10am. oh brittain. you goofball.
when we got home i unloaded all our things and put baby down for a nap. got bina started with her eye sticker time. pulled up the laptop to start this post. then i looked up another dance studio a friend had recommended. during the class i searched for dance classes for kids in detroit thinking i wanted to have a more diverse experience. but none of the times would work well. driving at rush hour or at bedtime. no thank you. i will have to figure out another way to diversify our relationships! but the studio my friend had recommended has a class on tuesdays from 4:45-5:30pm in the fall, ballet and tap combo. this would be after juniper's last nap and before daddy gets home from work. it might be just right for us. so i looked up this class on the laptop and decided to sign up bina. i may cancel again in a few weeks but for now i am excited for my little ballerina. and i am always willing to search and find opportunities for her to pursue the things she is interested in. if ballet is it, i will find a way to make it work.
my kid may not have the right brand shoes. she may have light pink tights with brown smudges of dirt and black dog hair. she may be in pull ups. her hair may not fit into a slick bun. but she showed up. she walked into that room by herself. she danced. she colored. she made some new friends. and she wants to go back. and that is really all i can ask for. i am so proud of her. and i am cutting myself a little more slack. this is motherhood, y'all. and we are doing okay.
'til next week!