Thursday, June 30, 2011

Swimming Lessons

With the new house having a pool, and watching Abigail not get out of nanna & grandads' pool for HOURS, we knew it was time to sign her up for swimming lessons.

A girlfriend of mine recommended the City of Phoenix public pool programme. I didn't expect much because the whole course (8 lessons) cost me just $15. But they were on to something because the eight lessons were every afternoon for two weeks. With just a high-school student lifeguard and my $15 pass, Abby was swimming within days. I was highly impressed - we quickly signed up for level 2 and did two more weeks, and we'll definitely go back next summer for more.

Bryony, so patient in the heat while we watch Abigail

bunch of 4 year old heads at the side of the pool

Certificate of Completion

teacher Ms Alissa, and fellow swimmer Donovan

And here she is in action - my lil' swimmer!

Monday, June 20, 2011


There are fewer and fewer times that I think Bryony looks like Abigail but look at this!

Bryony 6mths

Abigail 6mths

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ballet Recital

Abigail's dance school rounds out the year with a Recital, and it was a way bigger production than I expected. We had nothing like this in the ballet I did growing up. I had mixed feelings on it. Read on.

About two months before the end of the year, the teacher had the girls practicing a 'dance' that, to me, looked less classical ballet and more Toddlers & Tiaras (if you don't know that show, I'm referencing crazy pageants where girls 'perform' as made-up dolls). I was not a fan of the Recital right from that first practice. But I understood that this was part of the dance year and we persevered in learning it.

A few weeks later the costume we had ordered in December came in. And it's everything I both expected and feared. Pepto-Bismol pink and layers and layers of tulle with tights, socks, huge hairbow and instructions on how I'm supposed to handle the precious delicate thing. Eeeek, SOOOO not my style. And not really my daughter's since she usually won't even let me put a simple grip in her hair to keep it off her face. (She is mine, after all).

But, of course, these dresses represented not only ballerinas, but Princesses, and dress-up, and everything magical that the girls wanted them to, and Abigail was instantly in love with wearing the thing. She looked both lovely and distasteful prancing around practicing her dance in it.

Still, I know my place and I never said a word to spoil her excitement. UNTIL, two weeks before the show, when us parents are given instructions for the Big Night. The teacher happily talks us through ... wait for it ... MAKE-UP and CURLED HAIR. Oh Lordy. I just kept my mouth shut but was dying to express my discontent. There's no way in h*ll I'm putting make-up or a curling iron near my four-year-old! We are already busy trying to teach her that beauty is on the inside and is not wrapped up in a Princess dress, and I'm also of the belief that a four-year-old is beauty perfected already and certainly doesn't need the 'enhancements' of make-up and hair.

But, alas, I crumbled with this strong stance, because, well, "all the cool kids are doing it". I mean that I compromised. I made sure she had a lovely blow-dried pretty rounded bob but certainly no unnatural curls. And I let her use a pink lipgloss of mine but certainly no eye make-up or blush. It was a compromise to appease the teacher. And I was still disappointed to see how interested and fascinated Abigail was in the 'getting ready'. But it wasn't my Big Night - it was hers.

So, the Big Night rolled around. Actually there were to be two performances - one Wednesday and one Saturday. My girlfriend Megan came with me Wednesday and got to see Abigail walk off the stage halfway through the dance because she had to tell the teacher that she found a button on stage. Hee-hee. Megan treated her like the Royal Ballerina she is and presented her with a bouquet of carnations at the end. And then Grandma came from California to see Saturday's performance which Abigail completed with perfection. I am grateful to both Megan and Grandma for building excitement for Abby when her own mother was less than thrilled over the whole thing ;)

But I have to end with explaining those mixed feelings I mentioned. Because despite my grumpiness, my lack of dance-school-spirit, my upset at 'dolling' my daughter up, I was surprised to find myself BEAMING at my little girl on stage. I clapped and whooped loudly when she was done. And I got it, I got why mothers love this stuff. I was proud of her, and I DID think she was the most beautiful little doll on stage. She was beautiful because she was happy. And that's my job after all; I take her to weekly ballet lessons because it makes her happy.

So, here are the pictures. I am fighting with Blogspot trying to get the video to work:

The best video is from afterwards, at home, in pajamas: