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Sometimes There Are Advantages To Growing Up

"Go on up," I urged Alexis. Her dance teacher was calling her class to the stage, but Alexis was swimming in her usual nonstop stream of chatter and didn't hear the words. Once she realized it was her turn to rehearse one last time before The Big Show, she quickly ran to the front of the auditorium and plopped down on the floor, just as she had been instructed.

No hesitation.

No second thoughts.

She just did as she was told to do.

It took me a second to realize the gravity of the situation.

Three years ago I enrolled Alexis in a "Mommy and Me" gymnastics class because she was terribly shy. She was so frequently crippled by her shyness that the issue couldn't be ignored. It didn't seem like the sort of thing she would just outgrow, so we opted to try to slowly help her gain some confidence by putting her in uncomfortable, but safe, situations.

First it was the "Mommy and Me" class, and then a year later she asked to take a regular gymnastics and dance class. That class was with the same teacher, the same students, and in the same room, so it was all very familiar. Baby steps towards independence. There were bumps along the way, but slowly she learned to go into the classroom by herself. Slowly she learned to be confident in her fun. Slowly she figured out how to take that shyness and shove it in her pocket.

And now she's at a "real" dance studio, taking "real" lessons, and preparing to perform in her first "real" recital.

And she's completely confident going into it.


The March of Dimes March for Babies is important to me, but there is absolutely no way I'm going to miss that first real recital this weekend. The two events happen to be scheduled at the same time, so I've graciously bowed out of the March for Babies this year.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't matter.

If you're one of those people who believe in giving babies a chance to dance with confidence, perhaps you'll consider donating a buck or two to my friend Doug's team? It would mean a lot to everyone who has met his two little men as they are only here today because of the amazing work of the March of Dimes.

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Reader Comments (12)

I don't know why I'm all weepy when it isn't even my darn kid. But I feel so freaking proud. Of her. Of you. Of BB. Maybe even of me. They're growing. And there will be more bumps. But yeah. They're awesome.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFireMom

@firemom--I very nearly starting bawling watching her dance, especially when I realized she was looking at the crowd and not her teach. WTH? HOW DARE SHE BE SO GROWN UP! AND CONFIDENT!

Isn't it amazing how fast they grow? I really think participating in activities such as dance helps them build confidence. I've watched my fairly shy 10 year old shine with confidence whenever she is on the stage. Try to get her to talk in front of people she doesn't know and she is so quiet and nervous, yet she thinks nothing of dancing on a stage in front of 300 people. I see many other shy girls do the same thing. Bravo, Alexis!! And way to go, Mom, for giving her all of the support she needs along the way.

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMomexperience

What a little ham. Great picture!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkim

LOVE the picture! You really should pat yourself on the back, because you gave her the opportunities to gain confidence, with acceptance, not pushing but gently guiding her along the way. Bravo to you both!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Oh how cute is that! You and your hunny are doing such a great job as parents. :)

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFlea

How awesome (and scary and sad) is it to see your baby in her first dance recital?! Please post a pic or two of her in her costumes! I'm sure she'll be hamming it up on stage!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterelysianfantasy

LOVE her sass. :)

(P.S. - Looking at that pic, I am *still* mad at her pediatrician. Hmph.)

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie in MA

@Jen/Flea--Considering the hissy fit wrought with disrespect and rudeness she threw this morning because I dared ask her to go brush her teeth, I'd say we batting .500 these days. Maybe a little below that.

Thank you for posting. FireGirl is incredibly shy in new situations & around new people. She's a fan-tabulous performer... for us. Dances, sings, poses for pics, and will even "fake" things (ie. act). But I've long wondered whatever will come of it if she never overcomes her shyness. Thank you.

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkyfirewife

i was about to write exactly the same first three lines as firemom. must mean you are one hell of a good mom and an amazingly talented writer!

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

She looks so confident and happy up there.

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristi
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