Monday, October 4, 2010

Baby Ballerina - Day 4



I have been talking about putting Ella in a dance class for a couple of months now. Finally, last week I called a local place and asked if they had any opening in their 3-4 year old class. " Yes! We have opening in our Saturday morning class. How old is your child?" She's 4, I answer. AND she has Down syndrome, I blurt out. "Okay. Well, she can come and try out the class and it will be up to the teacher whether she can stay in it."

OK. My first reaction was to be pissed. See if she can stay in it??? Seriously? Because she has Down syndrome? I immediately hated this place and was NOT going to take her. BUT then I thought for a moment. My guess is they don't want anyone in the class that will disrupt the other kids, I get it, I really do. But still.....I guess I just didn't like the way it was worded. I wanted to call back and say "my daughter goes to school with typical kids her age and does great!!!" to defend her.

So I had totally mixed feelings going into dance class Saturday morning, I was pretty worried. I wanted Ella to be in a good mood and prove to them that she can do this. (Ella's ability to be a good listener and do what the other kids are doing is awesome, her mood totally dictates whether this will happen or not. If she is in a bad mood, watch out world!) I practiced in my head how to respond if they dared to say Ella could not be in their class.

The dance room has windows along the wall for the parents to watch what is going on. Parents, from what I gathered, are not supposed to be in the room. I walk Ella in and sit her down in the circle of girls, there are 5 others, and the two teachers. I say "okay, watch your teachers and be a good listener," and leave the room. From the window I see Ella get the look, which means "I don't like it," and cover her eyes with her hands. Great. Then she runs to the door and bangs on it and yells "MOM." So I open the door and say "you are doing so good go sit back down." We repeat this process a few times during stretches, which Ella did none of. I finally just ask the teachers (who are older teenage ballerinas) if I can just come in, they smile and say sure. Once I am in the room Ella starts to listen, and starts to do what all the other kids were doing.

She stands in the middle of 5 girls, all of whom of course tower over her, and holds on to the balance bar. Does her feet the way the teachers tell her. Points her toes. Then the girls are told to line up, which she does! They then walk across the room holding their arms up and walking on their toes and although the other little girls go much faster then Ella, she does it, across the entire room, never dropping down off her toes. They do many little drills like this. Each time my tiny girl, who you can tell is having to work far harder than the other girls, does it. There were a few times when she would cover her face and run to me, I'd give her a hug and she would run right back. There was one little girl that wouldn't even come in the room and one whose behavior was much worse than Ellas.

Still. I was worried they wouldn't accept her. After all, I had to be in the room and she wouldn't stretch at all. So I head down to the office and the lady hands me a registration form. She said "the teachers said she did so good, paid attention and tried everything. Do you want to come back?" Holding back the tears I said we'd think about it. As we were in the parking lot heading to the car, Ella is screaming "Let me go" cause she doesn't want to hold my hand, a mom of a girl in her class says "She is SOOOO cute." Thanks. She asks me how old she is, and keeps going on and on about how cute she is and that she wished she had her camera. She said "please tell me you will be back next week?"

We get in the van and I cry. I am just SO proud of my little girl. She did it. I could tell it was hard for her, all the other girls did their moves so much faster, but she did it. She walked on her super tiny feet, up on her toes, all the way across the room. She did it all.

Here she is before class in her white leotard. Now that we know she will be in the class we have to go buy her tights and ballet slippers, should be fun finding those in her tiny foot size!



18 comments:

Michelle Z said...

I'm so happy for Ella! What a sweet girl!!

Kelly said...

Oh Kacey, tears of joy as I am reading this. I know exactly how you felt. I just did a post referring to how heavy our hearts can feel watching our kiddos work so hard to do the smallest of things. But isn't AMAZING how our hearts can BURST with so much PRIDE within a matter of seconds? Such big achievements to celebrate!!

Yay for Ella!! What a BEAUTIFUL ballerina she will be=)

Wendy P said...

Totally crying here!! Go Ella!

Sweet Pea's Mommy said...

So glad to see that I'm not the only one with tears of joy in their eyes as they read this! Ella is too adorable and I'm so glad that you both got to experience that and I can't wait to see more pictures of her in the class! I hope Sweet Pea will someday be welcome in a class just like that! If not, we are blessed to have a couple of DS specific dance options which will be my fallback. They are farther away and I really want Sweet Pea to be with her typical peers as much as possible.

Lori said...

Crying just reading the story - I can only imagine how proud you have felt! Way to Go, Ella!!

Tina said...

Yes tears here too...I can feel your pride and joy. I think all us moms can and we all wish and pray for exactly this and the rejection you were talking is what we all fear as well. I know it happens with our typically developing kids as well but when it happens to our special little ones the pain is of a different kind.

Now could she get any cuter in her leotards, just look at her face and you can see how much she wants this how much she is enjoying this. I am so so happy for you kacey

Aunt Tami said...

I knew she would do great!!!! I think it was harder for you than her!! Take pics next time you take her to class....i'm sure she was adorable! When Shay was in the 3 year old class there was more than one girl who had a hard time leaving mom and going in to class.....so i think it is great that she did so well! It is nice they have the window so you can watch....Shay's school has the window and you get to watch them stretch but once they start their routines they draw the shade because the girls get VERY distracted with the mommies all watching them...LOL!!! Cant wait to see more pics!!!

Shannon said...

I got all teary just reading this! Way to go, Ella!!!!

Becca said...

Oh, goodness, I'm all teary, too!! I'm so excited for her, and so happy it went so well. We're thinking about starting Sammi in a ballet class sometime soon. She really wants to do it, and I've got the exact same fears that you had. But I'm heartened by your experience. And your super-sweet, totally adorable photos!!!
Oh, btw, Samantha's PT said that if we do decide to put her in ballet class, to be careful that she doesn't do too much extending (not like she'd be doing that at this age). Not sure why, but it must have to do with joint laxity...?

Adam, Jaci, Grant and Grace said...

Gracie loved her ballet class! Ella Grace looks adorable!

Ashley said...

She is the prettiest ballerina ever! <3

kecia said...

what a cutie! I cried through this! Bree just started a dance class too and I am DYING to see her do it...the teacher doesn't allow parents to watch but I think now that Bree is getting use to the class I want to ask if I can observe....way to go Ella! Oh and I am already 4 days behind on the 31 for 21...you are motivating me to do it anyway!

Mary said...

Super cute! I get to come watch after she gets used to class... right?

Alaina & Kyle said...

Oh I love it, I love it, I love it!!! You show them Ella!!

Pallavi said...

You Rock Ella!!!
So happy for you guys.. :)
I have seen Ella's dance videos, I love all her moves..
Hugs & Kisses

Tiffany said...

That is awesome, Kacey!

Cole said...

Tears of joy from over here too! So very sweet- She's so beautiful. I love reading how fesity she is- my Abby is sooooo feisty- and when she's in a good mood easy as pie- when she isn't- well we've started calling her Evita lately :) Can't wait to see more pix- baby ballerinas are the best!

Tami Leitz said...

So sweet!! You should be proud! GO ELLA!!