Around the same time I became a “soccer Mom,” I also dove into the girlie world of American culture. That’s right – I sent my daughter to dance class. It wasn’t originally my intention to define my kids by such gender-specific extracurricular activities but anyone who has ever met Juliana can attest to the fact that she puts the “girl” into the word “girlie.”
It’s true. My daughter loves anything pink and purple especially when it sparkles and glitters. She will try on everyone’s shoes and has something to say about whose shoes (and socks for that matter) are the prettiest and will twirl and dance whenever she has a free moment. Oh and don’t get me started on going shopping with her. She will painstakingly check out every piece of clothing AND all the accessories in a given store and comment on selected items “Mom, these things are so beautiful – can I add these to my [ever growing] wish list?”
She’s almost exactly like me as a little girl except that I was completely the opposite, a bit of a tomboy perhaps, so it’s still a mystery to me why a favorite afternoon activity can consist of trying on different outfits and checking oneself out in the mirror at the age of (almost) 4.
But that’s how she rolls so who am I to deny her to joy of becoming a budding ballerina? So off to dance class she went and to say she had a ball would be the understatement of the year. She LOVED it – every Wednesday evening, she would carefully choose her dancing attire for the next day and literally jump out of bed on Thursday morning because it was her dancing day.
I mean, look at that cute little dancer! Doesn’t that just melt your heart? (And kind of jab it at the same time for reinforcing those gender norms? Maybe just a little?)
Our ritual quickly evolved to celebrate her weekly dance classes by going to a local “café” afterwards (fine, it was Starbucks but since Thursdays was our “fancy” day, we just called it our local “café”). While we took our weekly seats at our café hang-out, we had in-depth mother-daughter discussions covering a range of topics such as why people can make the sound ‘hm,’ what coffee is and where it comes from, why popcorn is so yummy and, more importantly, Mom, can I please have more chocolate milk?
I loved these outings. They were ours – as predictable as they were (with the ever repeating order of chocolate milk and popcorn for little dancers) – but this was our special time together.
And today was the highlight of all fancy dancing days – the final day of class with a special performance for all the parents. It was the cutest thing to see her kick her little legs to “shoo fly don’t bother me,” twirl as a sugar plum fairy, and rock out to Coldplay’s “a sky full of stars.” She rocked that performance. And I especially loved the fact that she was the only dancer not dressed in pink or purple today – there she is rocking a neon green tutu and black leotard…..maybe that little part of tomboy is finally coming through?
And just like in a real fairytale, today we were so lucky to have the best seats in the house in our fancy café.
Talk about a fairytale ending to a great dancing career! And yes, I am signing her up next year again (sigh).