motherhood photography

ballet lessons: on overcoming her fears & the power of shoe therapy


When we arrived at the ballet studio of our local YMCA this morning, my brave and spirited little princess morphed into a distraught wallflower for possibly the first time in her life. I’m not sure if it was the strange room filled with new people, the glass wall that separated the mommies from the children or the fact that every other little girl there had clearly been to ballet classes before (quite the feat considering this was a pre-ballet class for kids 3-4 years old!). Little BB seemed totally thrown by their confidence and wanted nothing to do with them. She clung to my legs and sobbed when I tried to lead her into the classroom and pleaded that she didn’t want to do ballet after all and maybe she should just have a snack instead.

She has never been this girl – in the face of new adventures, she tends to be fearless and though she’s never quite been a social butterfly, she’s always been friendly and self confident. Did she not sleep well? Was she sick? Was she really terrified of trying something new? Is this a sign of things to come? My mind raced with possible reasons for her meltdown as I tried to think of a solution and also tried not to cry as my heart broke for her. My own inner struggles growing up, trying unsuccessfully sometimes to fit in when finding myself again and again the New Girl ran through my mind and the Warrior Mother within me tried to send telepathic messages of strength and resilience to her.

I insisted that she had to stay for class and sit with the other girls unless she wanted to go home. I bribed her with the promise of a cookie afterwards if she tried. I’m not proud, sometimes you just have to do what works. For a few minutes she did sit there with the other girls, arms crossed with the surliest expression the Midwest has ever seen. But when class started, she absolutely refused to join in. The teacher tried to break the ice with an extended hand and a cheerful encouragement to join the fun, but BB scowled at her, and turned to me as if to say, “I’ll sit in this room, but you can’t make me participate.” A few minutes later, having seemingly had her fill, she got up and walked out of the classroom, giving me her best pout as she coaxed her way back into my arms.

After a few minutes of quietly talking to her, I finally found the apparent source of her angst – the shoes. Those damned shoes. All the girls had them except her and BB found herself filled with envy or perhaps just a sense of not fitting in because of her lack of footwear. Isn’t she too young for this, I wondered? I’m sure as she gets older, we’ll have our battles over owning the right jeans or what length of skirt is acceptable. But at three and a half years old, it surprises me how important fashion is to my daughter. Clearly this was the source of our problem though because when I told her firmly that I wouldn’t buy her ballet slippers unless she participated in class, she nodded calmly, found her inner confidence and marched timidly back into class.

I won’t say that suddenly she morphed into a ballet savant, she continued to be somewhat hesitant in her involvement, but slowly with each passing minute, she eased into it and by the end of class she was smiling and confident again. I rewarded her participation with a trip to the adorable ballet store at the nearby shopping center where a very kind salesperson helped her pick out her first pair of ballet slippers and a new tutu to wear as well. A lot of the other girls were rocking leotards and tights also, but I decided to be somewhat frugal and start with the basics that I knew would win over my little fashionista ballerina.

It’s been an emotional day for both of us, but we came out of it with new shoes, a cute skirt and a happy girl with high hopes for next week’s class. I am very proud of her for overcoming whatever fears she found herself faced with this morning and for giving it a shot.

my girl

Is there anything that new shoes can’t fix?

family fun

What I’m Into Lately: April 29, 2013


You know how people say that beauty is all around us in tiny details and that we only need to look closely to find it? I was reminded of this again over the weekend when we were outside grilling dinner on Sunday and the kids were running around the yard playing with nothing in particular but having a blast and suddenly MM stops in front of a tree and says, “There is a heart on this tree!” He is filled with excitement at his discovery and I’ll admit, I didn’t even get up at first, thinking it would probably be a very loose interpretation of a heart and my dinner was delicious.

But hubby got up to check it out and when he also seemed impressed by the tree, I got up and lo and behold – there is a heart on our tree. It’s probably been there the whole entire time we’ve lived here and none of us ever noticed, never bothered to look. It was so beautiful, I of course had to photograph it pretty much immediately. MM decided he had to try to climb the tree pretty much immediately, using the heart as a hand hold ; and suddenly he and Dan were both climbing or pretending to climb trees and even BB wanted to get in on the action.

What’s that? Did I climb a tree, too? Don’t be ridiculous. But it was a beautiful moment, found by looking close enough to see it.

What I’m reading:

Pretty in Plaid by Jen LancasterPretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster, one of my fave authors and always sure to deliver when I need a good laugh kind of read.

“In Pretty in Plaid, Jen Lancaster reveals how she developed the hubris that perpetually gets her into trouble. Using fashion icons of her youth to tell her hilarious and insightful stories, readers will meet the girl she used to be.”

TV show worth watching:

Is anyone else watching Mr. Selfridge on Masterpiece? I found it recording on my DVR because apparently my DVR is planning to record anything “Masterpiece” on PBS because of how it’s titled in their guide, but I’m actually kind of loving it. Jeremy Piven is so amazing as Mr. Selfridge and it’s an interesting time period to watch. It’s very much in a similar style to Downton Abbey in that the show revolves around a lengthy cast of characters but like Downton, it’s easy to follow after a short while and addictively fun.

In my ears:
So don’t laugh at me but I’m kind of loving Demi Lovato’s new song, Heart Attack. It’s true, my musical taste is often on par with your twelve year old. I like to think that it isn’t creepy or weird yet, but remind me to ask you again in ten years.
Items of Note:
Doc and I went back to puppy training over the weekend, this time just the two of us, and I have to say it went a lot better. I don’t know if it was because he’s older or because we’ve had him longer – or that it was our second class. I think another advantage we had going for us was that I didn’t have to juggle the kids also. The car rides there and back were the best I’ve ever taken with the dog, though I think he prefers riding with the kids in the backseat, it was so much less stressful getting him in and out of the car.
What I’m Looking Forward to:

BB has her first pre-ballet class today and I’m not sure who’s more excited. I hope she has fun and that it doesn’t turn out to be a disappointment. I’m thinking any excuse to wear a tutu and she’ll be totally in – it’s all about wardrobe, you know.

what are you into these days? Let me know in the comments below!