Maria loves to dance. She's got moves and when she hears music she's up and swaying or tapping or twirling. If there is no music, she can make her own. She's at this wonderful time in her life when she has little or no inhibitions. Expression is her paintbrush and she makes the whole world her canvas, and for paint... everything around her... flowers, yarn, cookie cutters, scarves and hats, seashells, trinkets... she thinks all things beautiful are worthy of notice and exclamation and she loves to add them to her collage.
She loves her dance class. She loves her tap shoes and her pink bag that she uses to carry her ballet slippers. She loves to demonstrate new steps she's learned. She knows where dance class is and when it is time to go to dance class and she reminds me "we cannot be late, because I don't want to miss any of it, because I love my dance class."
Now that she is four years old, parents wait outside the studio, otherwise some of the girls get distracted. I thought this might be hard for Maria, but it's never been a problem... not for her. She goes in and never looks back. She dances for a full hour.
Half way through the hour she takes her slippers from her bag and puts them on by herself. She puts her tap shoes in the pink princess bag I made for her birthday party. It's her beanerina bag now.
Some of the moms sit in the front room to watch the children dance on a closed circuit monitor. We can hear their shoes... click-tapping away. Two weeks ago we laughed-sighed-laughed, because all the dancing girls were actually tapping in rhythm, at the same time!
I'm glad I never leave to run errands, for a coffee or pedicure, because yesterday Maria fell.
I heard the crying and was already crossing the small room when the door opened and the teacher was asking for "Maria's mommy." That's me, Maria's mommy, and this time she did need me. If I didn't know that any mouth injury will bleed a lot, I would have been a wreck. It took a tissue and a quick peek to see that her top lip was split from hitting her teeth, which I assume happened when she hit the floor. She was having a good cry about it and I could see it hurt. Class was nearly through and I knew this called for ice, so I picked her up, but between sobs and with blood and tears mingling she said most insistently, "I want to dance. I have to dance." She was already moving for the door. Other moms gasped audibly..."She really loves dance class," I heard them say proudly. Even I was realizing just how much she really loves dance class. She went back in, tried one somersault and cried even harder, because she could not stop crying long enough to do it right.
I scooped her up and took her home. She cried all the way... in the way that told me she was really hurting. She asked if her lip was broken. She asked when it would stop hurting. At the stoplight, I looked back to see her lip swollen like a grape. I worried about her teeth and debated stopping at the peds. At home I plucked an ice cube from the freezer (that's right... I keep ice cubes in the freezer lol) She applied the cold remedy to her lip, and asked if this would make it all better. I said yes, and then she sat up and said, "Okay then, let's get back there."
I am still not sure what hurt her more... the split lip or missing the last five minutes of beanerina class. And really, at this point, she is fully recovered, but I am still a bit traumatized. Typical.