As I may or may not have said, my older daughter takes dance. My younger daughter has been begging for months to go to dance class.
So, I signed her up for the summer session at the same time as her sister.
Unfortunately the time slot meant a race across town from work to pick up the girls, and a race back across town to get to the studio, get them changed into their outfits and ready on time.
But, I figured I could do it, and it would let the younger child enjoy the class she wanted. So, I packed granola bars for the girls to eat in the car, and I packed up all of their dance stuff into their dance bag and put it in my car the night before so I wouldn’t forget.
Then came the first day. I left work on time, but I went to two wrong doors before finding where my daughter is let out from her summer school program.
Okay, so I’m running five minutes late. No big deal as I had a fifteen minute cushion.
I got to pick up my second daughter about two minutes away. But the road construction has intensified, and traffic is backed up almost two miles from the red light. I am now starting to panic. It takes ten minutes to go a distance that should have taken no more than two. We’re now cutting it close.
I go to pick up the my younger daughter, and my older daughter starts making a scene. Of course she does. She wants to be the center of attention, and here’s a new audience. Then the younger child starts ripping out her ponytail, a ponytail she needs for dance class, and I failed to bring a second ponytail holder if she breaks this one.
So, amid tears, anger and frustration, I all but drag them back out to the car.
Where the chocolate chips in the granola bars have melted from the heat. I grit my teeth, give them to the girls anyway, knowing I’ll have a mess to clean at the dance studio.
We get in the car and head across town. We are now cutting it close. There will be less than five minutes to get the older daughter changed for her class.
Deep breath. I can do this.
Until I get stuck behind someone doing five under the speed limit, which results in me getting all five red lights between daycare and the dance studio red.
We walk in the door and a hurry the girls to the changing room. The older one is having trouble changing because we’re rushing, so I stop to help her. She’s changed and ready to go just as dance class starts.
Okay. I’m calling it a success.
Now for child two.
She has started to put on her tights as the older one got ready, but she is jamming her feet in. Tights are evil, even for adults, and wrangling a preschooler into them is torture. But we do…And then I realize she hadn’t taken off her shorts.
Gritting my teeth as people keep coming in and out of the changing room and leaving the door open, I help her take off the tights, get her shorts off, get the tights and leotard back on.
She hates the tights and wants them off. I manage to get her tap shoes on her, and we head back out to the waiting room. Yes, all the “dance moms” are giving me snide looks, but a few more minutes and the second child will be in dance class and I can ignore them while I read my book.
Dance class starts, and I try to walk her to the door, but she won’t let go of my leg. She screams and cries. As I’ve learned from preschool, I deposit her in the room and walk back to the waiting room.
Only she doesn’t stop.
After fifteen minutes, the dance instructor brings her back out to me. Where she proceeds to scream and cry for the entire rest of her sister’s class.
I was so embarrassed and mortified I think I managed to turn new shades of red. Here I am, being stared at with condescension and derision, as my child screams. She even tries throwing herself to the floor a few times. I can’t escape because I can’t leave the older one there alone. I can’t go outside because it’s too hot to sit in the car and pouring down rain.
All I can do is count down the minutes until the older child is done with class. Until I can escape.
I have no idea what came over my daughter. No idea why she wouldn’t go play with the parachute, or do froggy jumps, or all the other fun things they were doing in class. No idea why she begged to take this class for months. And frustrated beyond words that I paid for the class, tap shoes, ballet shoes, tights and leotards for her to attend.
But mostly, I never want to show my face in that dance studio again.