Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stage Mothering

As longtime, loyal readers of this blog know (Ok, maybe longtime and loyal are slightly exaggerated expressions of the dedication of my audience. Let's go with anyone who has read a couple of my posts.), I have a love-hate relationship with the girly-girl princess culture. I love it, but I hate that I feel guilty for loving it. Stupid psychologists and child-development "experts" with books to sell.

Anyway, this past weekend, I put all that guilt and hate into a tiny little box, locked it up tight and threw the key into Potter Lake. On Saturday, we participated in the epitome of all girly-girl culture - the dance recital.

Now, here's where everything gets a little tangled. Because, as uncomfortable as I was with the prospect of putting stage make-up on my little 4-year-old's face, I used to do it myself. Here's a secret for you all: I was a dancer.

Well, maybe "dancer" is again too much of an overstatement, but I used to dance. When I was younger. Much younger. Much, much younger. I was in dance recitals. I had the costumes. I had the make-up. I had the pointe shoes. I had it all. So, as much as it weirded me out to put lipstick on Molly, I was also excited that she was getting to do something that I had loved doing as a child. And, just to prove my former life to you, here are some embarrassing pictures of me from my dancing period.

Although embarrassing, I did purposely leave out the pictures of me dancing with my giant glasses. Ah, early 90s eye-wear is oh, so stylish. But, luckily for both me and you, you will never see mine! 
Life came full circle, and last Saturday, I was on the other side of the stage. More technically, I was not on the stage at all. I had become the (dun, dun, dun) Stage Mother. Let's clarify: not the negative connotation of the term, a la Dina Lohan, but instead, just the mother of one of the dancers. The youngest dancers (Molly) need help changing costumes, so the mothers of said dancers were allowed backstage to help. Thus: Stage Mothers. It's not as if I was enacting my own episode of Toddlers and Tiaras by pushing my sick child onstage while she was crying about wanting to go home or something ...

Ok, well, maybe something like that did happen. Again, let me clarify (I feel there's a lot of that going on in this post.). Molly has been sick. She had thrown up a couple times and occasionally had a fever. But, when the ibuprofen kicked in - she was perfectly fine. We've been working for this recital for months. We've been going to rehearsal after dress rehearsal after rehearsal. We've tailored the costume. We've bought the tickets. Hell or high water, Molly was going to go to this recital. Well, that really does make me sound like a "Stage Mother." Yeesh.

The thing was, we had to get the timing just right on the dosing of the ibuprofen. If we did it too early, the effects would run out before Molly had to be on stage. If we did it too late, the effects wouldn't kick in until after she was off stage. It was a risky game of chance. There was a chance it could all go wrong.

It definitely started off headed in the wrong direction. Molly woke up from her nap and was not doing so well. Cory's sister, Amber, had come up from Ft. Worth to watch Molly's recital. She was over to help get her ready. We started curling her hair and putting on the aforementioned make-up. Molly started whining that she was cold. That darn fever was rearing its ugly head. Then she started whining that she wanted daddy to hold her. Yikes, this was going to be a long day.
We tried to double-team it in order to get her ready as quickly as possible and minimize the whining.
Trying to coax a smile out of Sicky McGee.
It did not work. Is that not a pitiful-looking girl?
Ok, so, I know you are all ready to vilify me for forcing Molly to participate when she looked like this. But, keep in mind, when the medicine kicked in, she was perfectly fine. So, off to Lawrence we headed. Yes, the recital was 45 minutes away in my college town. Not sure why they have it up there, but the auditorium and stage were huge, so maybe that's why. We decided to give her medicine on the way up there.

First up was the dress rehearsal. It's the only time we could take pictures or videos of the performance. We got there just in time to change Molly backstage. We saw the performance, then I went backstage again to change her into her next costume. When I got back there, she was crying. Apparently, the dark of the backstage area scared her. Long night. 

When the dress rehearsal was over, Molly was convinced that she was finished. When I explained that we still had to go through with the actual recital, she looked at me like I was crazy. She wanted nothing to do with this "second performance." It took a bribe of ice cream and two TV shows to cajole her to go back for the recital. And, no, I'm not above bribery.

And, finally, FINALLY, the ibuprofen kicked in. Just in time for the performance. Check out my little star! Whoops, that didn't sound too Stage Mother-y, did it?

Seriously, the cutest costumes ever.
Look at those angelic faces.
Charlotte was a good sport throughout the whole ordeal.
Ballet performance.
We did it!
So, after the "second performance" was finished. Molly was completely perked up. She was thrilled to see her adoring fans come to greet her after the show.

Delighted by all the flowers she received.
The whole gang came out to cheer Molly on.
Amber, my partner in crime in the whole make-up/hair debacle earlier in the day.
Me with my girls in front of a Jayhawk.
A star and her proud Daddy.
So, all in all, the recital was a success. She didn't cry onstage and was happy when she was finished. She even did a couple of the actual dance moves while onstage. And, when the little girl in front of her fell face-down, Molly told me that she stopped to make sure the little girl was ok. For some reason, of everything that happened at the recital, the fact that Molly was concerned about the other little girl made me the proudest. Maybe I'm not such a Stage Mother after all.


  1. No you are not! AND....those are not embarrassing pictures of you....You were, are, and will always be beautiful!!!!! I am so proud of you for raising such wonderful little and Cory are GREAT parents!!! I love you all!!!

  2. I think there's a fine line between bribery and working. She can say she was a professional ballerina at age 4, paid by her mommy with TV and ice cream :) I hope she is feeling better!