When I was pregnant with the girls, I printed out the lyrics to the song "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack and posted them near my desk at work. Since my girls' birth, I want to cry every time I read the lyrics, or hear that song on the radio. I had hope for the child that I did not yet know when I was pregnant. Now my hope for them is even deeper and more intense..both literally and figuratively. I hope they dance.
Holland and Eden's first dance class meant a lot to me on many levels. More than I even knew. I had kind of put it off...thought it wasn't a real possibility and did not feel up for another fight. I was sure I did not have the reserve for rejection in any form, and for that reason I decided not to pick this particular battle. I was afraid. Afraid of what I might face in asking if the girls could join a "normal" dance class. Afraid of the negative or fearful attitudes of parents and teachers that I might come up against. Afraid that having them in a dance class might make people uncomfortable at some level, and hence make me and them uncomfortable. It didn't seem worth it, even though I wouldn't have admitted that out loud.
What happened instead, is that my sister approached her girls' dance teacher and asked if she would be open to having my girls in the Petites class (ages 3-5) with two of their cousins (Claire and Kate). The teacher, Ms. Darcy, was very open and encouraging. She changed the time of the class so we could attend, and enlisted the help of another cousin (Jenna) to help Eden.
I was nervous going into it. It was something new, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, ultimately it turned out to be a very positive experience for all of us.
The program was just right for us in that it was not too over the top. I had imagined a group of picture perfect little girls in tutus, in a perfect little studio dancing in front of a mirror with a bunch of stage moms there to put their child's hair back in place if their pony tail slipped or to fix their makeup if their lipstick was smudged. Not for us. Instead it was a community education based class, affordable, with kids from a variety of backgrounds. It was held in the cafeteria of a school that runs a Headstart program. It was low key and low pressure, but at the same time organized and very fun!
A huge part of the reason the whole experience was so positive for us was Ms. Darcy. Darcy is young (in her mid-twenties), and clearly passionate about what she does. She teaches at the middle school level, in addition to teaching dance for several years. From the time we first met her she put my mind at ease. She was interested and completely willing to accommodate whatever needs Eden had..though it turned out she didn't need a whole lot. Eden just wanted to dance.
Some people don't know how to interact with kids who have disabilities. Ms. Darcy was not that way. From the first day she "clicked" with the girls, and appeared very confident and capable when working physically with Eden. More than many people, she really seemed to treat her just like all of the other girls. She challenged her, praised her, and even reprimanded her on a couple of occasions:) I never once felt like she felt "put out" in any way by having us there and I appreciated that more than I can say. She loved and accepted the girls, and they loved her right back. There were many, many evenings that they requested that I *be* Ms. Darcy so we could pretend to be at dance class!
Unfortunately the girls were sick, sick, sick in the days leading up to their recital. They were diagnosed with pneumonia on Tuesday and started antibiotics - the recital was on Saturday. We were just barely better *enough* to make it, and I fully admit to doctoring them up a bit so we could do it. I timed the breathing treatments, Motrin, meals, and naps so they would be feeling as well as possible and it worked out pretty well.
There were a few technical difficulties with the lights and sound, and one of the little girls in Holland and Eden's class flat out refused to go out on stage. She was the only girl who wasn't their cousin, so it ended up being five little girls from my family:) Despite these little glitches, the girls managed to do a good job and entertained us all.
They were ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!! They were the cutest kids in the show!!!
Okay, okay. That might just be my opinion. But, I was very proud because they both went out there and did their best. Eden was a ham. She remembered a lot of her moves, and looked to the bigger girls when she wasn't sure what to do. She had a smile on her face the whole time and was very excited to be on stage. Holland was not as sure of herself. She stood in one spot and chewed on her fingernails until her cousins took her hands and dragged her along. At the end of the show, they were all supposed to march off the stage. Holland stood there like a statue until her cousin Jenna came back to get her. When Jenna picked her up, Holland wrapped her little body around her and gave a big smile to the audience. It was really adorable. And uncanny in the fact that John predicted to the tee how they would act on the stage! I am pretty sure we would have had the same reaction if they had been completely well. Eden is a ham, and Holland gets a little overwhelmed when she is the center of attention.
No matter how you look at it...they danced.
**On a more somber note, I cannot write a post about Holland and Eden's dance recital and not mention some recent tragic news. Just this past Sunday I got a call from my sister to inform me that Ms. Darcy was in a horrible car accident the night before. She has lost the ankle and foot on one of her legs. It looks like they will be able to save her other foot, although I am not sure it is out of the woods completely yet.
I have been feeling very sad the past few days trying to absorb this news. There is so much in life that is so scary, unpredictable, and completely unfair. I don't even know what else to say. I told Holland and Eden about the accident today. Holland asked the question, "so she can't walk anymore?" And Eden chimed in, in the way that only she could do, and said excitedly, "Ms. Darcy can just use a wheelchair like MEEEE!"
I told Eden that maybe she would...but just for a little while. Because I KNOW Ms. Darcy will walk again. I know she will dance again.
Ms. Darcy -
I HOPE YOU DANCE
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Okay, okay. So thank you for allowing me to get that little rant out of my system. My general outlook has been much sunnier the past few days (even though my house is still trashed).
I ended up taking the girls back in to the pediatrician on Tuesday last week and they were both diagnosed with pneumonia. On top of that, Eden had an infection in her left ear. So there was a reason why everyone was so crabby and whiny at our house for so long. Poor babies. We started a course of antibiotics Tuesday evening. By Thursday things started looking up, and by Friday the girls were back to their normal silly selves. It was a pretty dramatic change once they were feeling better. One day they were both laying around moany and needy for my attention, and the next day they were entertaining themselves and playing together again. While this sickness did make my last two weeks of work rather stressful, I am very happy that they were feeling better by the time my vacation really started. And it's the *first* time that they have actually been diagnosed with pneumonia that they have NOT been hospitalized ... Progress~! We're still waiting for Eden's appetite to kick back in, but that's another post.
For Mother's Day John got a new bike (I already had one) and we bought a bike trailer so that we could start going on bike rides. I really loved riding as a kid and for several years I have been wanting to try it again but never seemed to get around to it. Well, on my "girls' trip" to California this year we went for a bike ride. We rode to brunch (saw Carson Daly!), then to the Santa Monica farmer's market, then along the beach back to my girlfriend's place in Venice. It was awwwesome and I realized again that I really do like bike riding. This weekend we had a chance to really try it out as a family. We packed a picnic, loaded our bikes into our super-convenient minivan with a ramp, and went to a nearby park with some nice paved trails and a bit of "nature."
I'd be lying if I said it was "perfect." The girls have a little trouble sitting that close to each other for long stretches of time. As many kids do, they start antagonizing each other, whining, and fighting. But, all-in-all it was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed spending some nice, relaxing quality time with my incredible family. It helped me decompress, clear my head, and put my life back into perspective. The workout was great too!
So after a much happier and healthier weekend, I think I can say that I'm ready for summer.
Bring it on!
Posted by Billie at 10:40 PM
Monday, June 08, 2009
Two more days of work for me, and I'm done for the summer. Well...as done as I can ever be. In fact, looking at the calendar this evening has me completely overwhelmed with just how busy I am going to be! At least it is SUMMER and the weather will be beautiful and we can get out of the house more. Warm weather and sunshine do a lot to boost my spirits, even when the rest of my life might not be operating so smoothly.
I promise a full review of the girls dance recital as soon as I can compile the best pictures from my mom, my sister, and my own cameras. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to use a flash so my pictures didn't really turn out well at all:( We still haven't recovered fully from this recent sickness, but they were well enough that it wasn't a total bust so that is good.
Let me just say that we have had quite a week trying to kick this bug and it hasn't been pretty. Fevers were up to 104 and lasted a good 5 days. Once the fevers finally went down the nasty coughing and breathing treatments began. Appetites have been pretty much nonexistent for approximately 8 days, which really, really wears on my mental well being. Without weighing her (because that would just put me over the edge) I would say that Eden has lost at least a pound and a half. Besides feeling miserable, the girls have also been very tired and took 3-4 hour naps most of last week (see, there is a bright side!).
They ended up missing the entire last week of school, the end of the year preschool picnic on Friday, and a preschool friend's bday party on Saturday afternoon. They were invited to two parties this year, and we missed both of them due to sickness.
At least I was able to put some of that nap time to good use to tie up some loose ends:
*I hired a new lawn service.
*I scheduled Holland's eye surgery for July 10th.
*I scheduled an OT eval for Holland next week to get her set up for hippotherapy over the summer.
*I made an appointment for repairs on Eden's power chair, and to pick up her new Rifton Pacer.
*I canceled our diaper service and duocal shipments through medicaid because we aren't continuing it after June 30 (the premium doubled and we don't think the extra cost will balance out).
*I ordered batteries for Eden's cochlear implant (while we still have the Medicaid).
*I vacuumed the family room and the amount of dog hair left in the vacuum was completely embarrassing, as it will also be next time I am sure.
*I put away the winter coats, scarfs, hats, and gloves.
*I folded some clothes and started working on the big shift from winter to summer clothes. That's a big job.
Unfortunately the list of things I still need to do is even longer than that. Paying bills, sorting and filing paperwork and mail, laundry, dusting, dishes, mopping, find a way to get rid of the broken hot tub, collect and relocate the mama cat and 4 kittens that are currently living under the broken hot tub. All with two sick little girls needing attention.
Well, this quickly turned into a big moan fest, which wasn't what I was intending when I sat down. But...it's been a stressful week. So there you go. Summer is coming, and it can only get better. Right?
Posted by Billie at 11:15 PM
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The girlies are both sick with high fevers, mild congestion and coughs. This wouldn't be such a big deal, except that they have had to miss their entire last week of preschool. It's so sad! I was totally looking forward to tomorrow, dressing them up and taking a picture in front of the house so I could see how much they have grown and changed since their first day of school. Instead we'll be dosed up on Motrin, laying on the couch in our PJs watching movies all day.
I'm still holding out hope that they will be well enough to go to the end of the year picnic at the park on Friday, and also that they will be feeling up to performing at their dance recital on Saturday. Oh what bad timing:(
Get better soon girlies!!!
Posted by Billie at 6:18 PM