Toddlers. You can learn all of their ways in 3-4 years and 3-4 years later, they can still surprise you. This past Sunday Noelle had her very first dance recital ever. She would be up on the stage, wearing a fun costume and performing a routine that her class has spent the past five months learning. To say that Dylan and I were excited about this would be a slight understatement. We invited grandparents and aunts but paused when we discovered that we would have to buy a ticket for Noah.
Cue the drums of doom.
Were we really going to buy a not-inexpensive ticket to a dance recital for a toddler boy whose idea of a good time involves balls, 'cooking', trains and dinosaurs (sometimes all at once. It's quite complicated.) to sit in a theater for a couple of hours for the two minutes when his sister will be on the stage? No snacks, no distractions, just him, us and a couple hundred of our closest theater parents? We looked at each other, mentally shrugged and bought the ticket because 1) neither of us were going to miss it, 2) all of the usual babysitters (grandparents) would be at the show and 3) we felt like living dangerously.
We took precautions; I purposely selected seats on the far right of the theater next to the aisle to allow whoever ended up being Noah's chauffeur easy access to an escape route. The day of the recital, we stacked the deck against ourselves with him not getting a nap that day or the previous day (see above: living dangerously.) Dylan packed a bag with some small non-noisy toys and juice boxes and my sister even snuck in some chocolate chip cookies as a snack/bribe. Before the show started, Noah bounced on the end of the stage, right in front of the videographer and all that I could think was "Dear Lord, please don't let him want to do this while the dancing is going on or everyone will have a lovely parting gift of the top of my child's head." The lights went down, we took our seats and held our breath.
And you know what? He stayed seated on Dylan's lap the ENTIRE SHOW. He was entranced and enraptured. I stole peeks at his face and was amazed to see the huge smile and wide eyes. He loved the numbers with the kids about his age. He lost his ever-loving MIND over the hip-hop numbers, yelling for more. I'm not sure that anyone has asked for a dancing encore performance before but by golly, he did. He danced in his seat and cheered for his sister. Admittedly, after Noelle performed, he started getting antsy (hers was the 21st number out of 30 OMFG) but he stuck it out like a trouper. And while waiting for her class to be released after the show was over, he was an angel playing with Grandma. When we were hugging and congratulating and taking pictures of Noelle, he was right there bouncing along in excitement.
We couldn't have asked for better behavior from him on Noelle's big day. We were so relieved and smug (yeah, I'll own it) over how he acted that I allowed myself to be very superior with our obviously amazing parenting skills until the next morning when he stabbed me in the arm with a fork.