Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Hope You Dance

Today was a day that every mom should have with her daughter. My only daughter started dance class a month ago. It is a performing group full of kids with Down syndrome. This particular group is made up of preschoolers. Dear Daughter (DD) is the youngest and also the shortest by a good 6 inches.

DD knows when it is dance class day. She gets excited the same way she does when the bus comes to pick her up for preschool. She sings all the way, throughout the entire 30 minute drive. She insists on walking by herself through the parking lot. When we get inside she says hi to everyone, including strangers.

She knows to sit on her carpet square. She warms up along with the teacher. Kids with Down syndrome are very flexible so it is a riot to watch them stretch their muscles. DD spreads her legs into center splits and then flops her chest completely to the ground with no effort. She touches her nose to her knees with ease. The only difficult part of the warm up is when the class has to jump. DD hasn't mastered this skill yet so she goes up on tip-toe and then bends her knees and tries again.

Today DD managed to make it through the entire dance, participating in every step. She didn't even stop to run around the room in the middle of the practice. I was so proud of her. Part of the dance is to hold up two fingers when the lyrics say "two". It took DD four weeks to master a "two". We practiced every day and she wouldn't give up. Today she proudly held her "two" up and at just the right moment. Aww, small victories!

When we left, she absolutely had to hug everyone once, her teacher twice. She made sure everyone saw that she could "two" with the best of them. At the door, DD princess-waved goodbye to the entire room.

After dance class, we were given instructions for a dance uniform. Off we drove to The Glass Slipper, a dance supply store near her class. We had to special order a leotard as they didn't carry them small enough for DD. We'll purchase the ballet shoes when the leotard comes in. DD was enamored by the sparkly pink tutus by the register and the dance pictures on the wall. She wanted to touch everything silver, gold or glittery.

Today was a very normal, very satisfying dance day. When you get the choice to sit it out or dance......


Soozcat said...

What a cutie. I'd love to see DD do her thing.

Marina said...

This brought back sweet memories of my DD and her ballet class. Thank you for that. I haven't thought about it in a very long time. How wonderful that you will have those memories, too.

By the way, when my niece was very, very small, we used to say "I love you, Rose" and her response was "too!" (as in I love you, too). Now, that is how my DH and I say "I love you". Sometimes we make the "two" sign with our fingers. Lauren's "two" sign is filled with love, as well, because her mommy took a lot of time and love to help her learn that task. Very sweet.

bethie said...

The saddest day of my life was when my DD informed me that she did not want to continue with dance classes. I was a dancer in college and this nearly broke my heart. I have had to overcome issues with her being who she needs to be, and me being happy with that. (Which I am now)But I still sigh when I hear others talk about their daughter's recitals, and smile when I think of my daughter being picked for an art show. BTW, I am going to use "two" w/ my DB, cause I love it and I am not above stealing good ideas!

Barbara said...

Carrie, what wonderful memories you are creating!