I love being the mother of little girls and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Don’t get me wrong, boys are wonderful and I adore the little dudes that are in my life, but I get the innate impression that my psyche is more programmed to deal with sugar, spice, everything nice (and even the ever present drama) over snakes, snails and puppy dog tails. Boys seem to charge full-out everywhere they go and I’m willing to take a few extra tears and tantrums over broken furniture and shattered glass. No, I’m much better prepared for princesses instead of Power Rangers.
Of course, there’s one annual occasion that makes me a little wistful for the tee-ball and soccer games: Dance recitals. Let me clarify: The recitals themselves are adorable and entertaining and I honestly think I could sit and watch them for days on end, but let me tell you right now that all of the peripheral recital hullabaloo is a little too much for my very short temper to take. A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into those recitals and it quite frankly doesn’t all belong to the dancers.
So what’s my problem? Well, during the intermission of our most recent command performance, I took a moment between holding roses, children, tutus and various plastic bags with accessories shoved haphazardly inside to ponder my biggest peeves. There were three breakaway winners: Glitter, toes and pageant mamas.
Glitter. Good Lord, before I had girls, I knew that the stuff got all over the place, but I still thought that you could eventually get rid of the mess with a good scrub. Nope. The stuff sticks like radiation particles. I can only imagine what it would be like if I was a girl in this day and age. I know I’d probably go hog wild. There’s glitter lotion, glitter nail polish, glitter makeup and glitter hairspray.
Now, a wary parent, fully realizing that all of the aforementioned glitterliciousness will stick around for the next thousand years quite understandably eschews all of the body bling in the interest of caution. It’s a crying shame that such care and concern doesn’t do one itty bitty bit of good. First of all, not everyone’s parents are as bling aware, so when little dancers hug and smoosh all up against each other, the sparklies do not stay exclusively on the wearer. Second of all, those fancy dance costumes that cost an arm and a leg were slapped together in outer Ulaanbataar and all of that razzmatazz on your princess’s Tutti Frutti tap costume comes off almost as bad as the body spray.
Now, I’m not going to go so far as to suggest that glitter kills (although I wonder sometimes), but it hurts. I get glitter in my eyes every single year and, although I’m sure that it is dazzling to behold, I simply can’t pull it off with the tears pouring from my eyes. Furthermore—even though I can personally attest that it is rather a magnificent sight—sneezing glitter is not something to which I aspire. I also feel particularly sorry for my husband who, in addition to suffering the burden of being the only man in the house, inadvertently sports sparkles along with the “silver” that is already in his hair.
Now, on to my poor widdle toes. I am curmudgeonly and there are some things I simply am not going to change. I wear my sensible Stuart Weitzmans to work, but when I get home at night and when I piddle around on the weekend, my tootsies are in flip-flops. It doesn’t matter if it is June or December: Ashley has on her comfy flops. Ashley is going to keep wearing her flip-flops and the rest of the world is simply going to have to adapt to her ways.
That being said...
Every single year at dance dress rehearsal my toes fall victim to a pair of graceless, stomping tap shoes. Every year. I know that the kids are all excited to be in their pretty outfits in the great big auditorium, but it’s like the mothers make the girls shotgun Costco-sized Pixie Sticks. They turn into little Tasmanian Devils with metal shoes. I’ll innocently walk out into the aisle minding my own darned business, when a streak of sequins, satin and nylon shoots by without warning. I’m left with searing pain in my phalanges.
Trust me, it’s bad enough that it hurts like @#$!er, but then—to top it all off—I can’t even cuss about it! Little ears, you know. Although I have no doubt that many of the little precious princesses are well versed in the cussing arts (see pageant moms below), I must endeavor to set a @#&$ing example.
That brings me to the largest trigger on my Had-It-Up-To-Here Meter: Pageant Mamas. Lord have mercy on my soul. These “ladies” either treat dance as a beauty pageant because they are unable to enter their child in an actual pageant for one reason or another or dance is merely a diamond to add in the tiara of the talent portion for Little Miss Shrimparoo when juggling flaming batons while singing Carrie Underwood’s latest tune just isn’t enough. Regardless of the reason, it is painfully obvious that these chicks live vicariously through their progeny.
If you have ever listened dubiously to those crazy news stories about cheerleading moms taking out hits on their daughters’ biggest competition, all doubts are cast to the wind when you lay eyes on these rabid women. There have been occasions where I wondered if some of them were packing shanks. The really sad thing is that they are just as mean (if not more so) to their own children as they are to the “competition.” Even in their “quiet voices” THEY TALK LIKE THIS and it’s always the worst Southern twang or Yankee nasal tone you can imagine.
I’ll never forget picture day during the first year of dance. It really wasn’t that big a deal: The girls were supposed to put on their costumes and take one picture as a class and one solo shot. It really didn’t matter exactly what the girls looked like because the end result was going to be adorable regardless—how could it not be?
One girl came in with her mama and the poor baby was sprayed and glued and pasted and painted and stuffed and just as miserable as you could imagine. It was pandemonium at the studio with folks filing in and out in costume and I think they might actually have been snorting Pixie Sticks that day instead of shooting them. Anyway, the poor little dear committed a cardinal sin: She blinked.
“CAITLIN BRITTANY I TOLD YOU A THOUSAND TIMES THAT THOSE FALSE EYELASHES ARE GOING TO FALL OFF IF YOU BLINK! DO YOU WANT YOUR PICTURES WITH THE SORRY LITTLE EYELASHES THAT YOU HAVE? I SWEAR I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOU!”
As you can imagine, after that loving motherly lecture, little Caitlin Brittany really started to tear up which caused a considerable amount of blinking. Baby Belle 1 looked up at me in horrified confusion. I looked into my daughter’s eyes and realized that this wasn’t a moment I was going to be able to gloss over. No, I was going to have to go head first into the fray.
I forced a light laugh, waived a hand and said, “Thank God they’re little and it’s not that big a deal.”
Can’t wait to see what happens next year...