The Daughter Chronicles

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Performance week!

It's the end of the school year (at least here in Arizona), so it's time for performances! Mia and her class were practicing a cute little play for a while, and Norah finished a semester at Little Gym, so she put on a dance recital. We were there with both digital camera and video camera, so sit down and gaze on the cuteness!

First, Mia's play. On 13 May (yes, it's been a while, but I've actually been busy, for reasons that don't belong in this post but will be the subject of the next post), we went to see Mia in her play. Her school PT read from the book There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea and each kid was one of the things he swallowed or the coyote himself. The PT would read "There was a ..." and the kid who was the coyote would say "Coyote!" and then the PT would say "... who swallowed a ..." and the kid who was the flea would say "Flea!" and so on. They made cut-outs of the various things they were supposed to be, laminated them, and stapled them to sticks, which they would hold up when it was their turn.

It was, of course, very cute and wildly chaotic. Anyone who's seen a performance by kids, especially young ones, know that things tend to veer into chaos, and if you add the fact that all of these kids are special needs kids, you get the picture. Mia, as usual, said her line (she was a chili pepper, so she said "Chili!") very quietly. She enjoyed waving her chili around when she wasn't putting it in her mouth (she still does this too often, but not as much as she used to). The kid next to her had a giant cactus on his wheelchair, and she thought that was awesome, so she get bothering it. Then, when her teacher went away to bring out another kid, she kept missing her cue. That was fine, though - it was a fun thing for the kids to do, and it was nice seeing them all work (sort of) together. We also met a few parents, which is always nice too. Occasionally, especially with a kid like Mia, you think you're alone in the universe. It's good to meet people who are going through similar situations.

Here are some more pictures of Mia at her play, plus a video. The video is a bit long (over 3 minutes), but there's a lot of Mia, so of course it's totally worth checking out! (It reads "Norah dancing" because I put it all in the same folder, but it's Mia's play, trust me!)

Then, on 18 May, Norah's semester at Little Gym ended. She was taking the dance class this time around, because we thought she'd enjoy it a lot, and she did. A few of the kids really didn't like going in and dancing, and I couldn't figure out why their mothers kept forcing them to. One mother said early in the semester that she had danced when she was younger, so maybe that was it, but her daughter had no interest in the class. She would whine every single week, and her mom never threatened to take her home in an effort to get her to behave. On only one occasion, Norah was in a bit of a bad mood, and when she whined about going in, I simply told her very quietly that we were going home. I didn't make a big deal about it, I just said that if she was going to be a pain, she could do it at home. She immediately calmed down and went in and did fine. I do a lot of things wrong as a dad, I'm sure, but I don't get parents who try to coax their kids do things they don't want to. If this girl was just being whiny, call her bluff and take her home (or threaten to, at least). And if she really didn't want to dance (she would often come out of the class even after going in), why force her? Oh well.

Norah was interesting in the class, too. She would often not participate, just watch. She seems to do that a lot - she doesn't want to do anything unless she's sure she can, so she just watched. She's done it in Little Gym before, when she was doing only gymnastics. The dance class would always begin with tap dancing, and Norah often sat that part out. She might get up and do a few steps, but she often didn't join in at all. She wasn't being bad and she didn't look like she was upset, so I didn't care too much, it was just odd. The next part of the class was in ballet slippers, and she was much more into that. I think it was more "girly" and therefore she liked it more. But I could be wrong.

On show day, I forgot to bring Norah's swim suit for the first routine, which was a tap dance to "Splish, Splash." Yes, I'm often forgetful. She was wearing a leotard for the second routine, so we just let her wear that without the pretty dress she was wearing for the ballet dance. I felt bad, but she didn't mind. They did each routine twice, which was good. The first time, Norah simply sat there and watched the other kids dance. We encouraged her to get up, but she wasn't interested. Then they did it the second time, and she jumped up and did it. Again, I think she wanted to check the situation out before committing to dancing. She did the routine very well, so she had picked it up. For some reason, she wanted to wait until she was completely sure she could do it. Then, for the ballet dance, she jumped right in. Again, I think she liked the ballet more than the tap, so she was more keen to learn. Finally, all the kids did a brief solo. Norah did a fantastic job. They finished the class with a brief gymnastics routine, which Norah has been doing for a while (she started at Little Gym in August of 2007, so she's been in this situation before).

Norah, of course, had a bit of a meltdown when Krys tried to go back to work, but during the routine, she was great. We asked her if she wants to stay in the dance class, and she was pretty keen on it, so she's starting a new "semester" (the summer term is shorter than those during the year) on 8 June. I'm sure she'll have a good time. As above, here are some more pictures, plus a few videos showing her performance. The tape we were using ran out of room, so I couldn't get her ballet performance on video, but I did get her solo dance. Enjoy!

Mia is done with school and Norah is done with pre-school, and now they get a few weeks off before summer school/camp for Mia starts and Norah goes back to pre-school, which has pseudo-summer camps for the kids. It's always tough figuring out what to do with the kids (especially Mia) in the summer, so I'm glad the schools have things to do!


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