Monday, May 19, 2008

Dress rehearsal/Recital news

We got home last night close to 10 PM, and as I walked up the driveway, I felt like Frodo after the One Ring was destroyed! Ok, so perhaps I'm being a bit melodramatic, but it was such a relief for the task to be done! All in all, it was not nearly as bad as a trip through Mordor... not even as bad as I had anticipated it would be!

I was backstage mom for Riley's class. I had never been backstage mom before, so I didn't know what to expect. The girls were all very well-behaved, and the only child who drove me even remotely crazy was my own. ;) I think that was related to my being there, because she was with another mom for the first recital (she had to dance her tap dance in the first recital as well), and that mom said she did very well for her. I had taken a big assortment of stickers, plain and patterned paper, and tape, along with oversized paper. The girls all started out playing their Nintendo DS games, but it didn't take long before they were making wonderful creations from the paper and stickers. It kept them entertained and engaged for many hours! We didn't even use the portable DVD player I had brought. Another class borrowed it after hearing I brought one! I was really pleased that the girls enjoyed the stickers and paper more than their portable gaming systems! :)

Reece did much better backstage than I had anticipated, also. And I had reason to fret. She woke up in a funk, and by the time we got to dress rehearsal, she was no longer responding to anyone. I was about as close to being in a panic as I think I have been in a long time. My mom wondered if she needed to stay, but I really wanted to wait and see what Reece would be able to manage. We left Reece playing with her Gameboy quietly. I was in the next room over, and Reece's backstage moms had my mom's cell phone number. Another of the moms from Reece's class, one who had kept her backstage last year and who has previous experience with autistic children, spoke yet again to our backstage moms. She arrived about 30 minutes after we did, and I had told her about Reece being unresponsive. She told me that on the way over she and her daughter had prayed for Reece, and that she asked her daughter to try to help Reece feel comfortable. Her daughter asked, "If Reece runs away, what should I do?" LOL Her mom told her to tell one of the teachers right away! ;) Anyway, this mom also offered to stay with Reece, and to be available by cell phone. I just about cried right then, knowing how much everyone was willing to do to make sure that Reece felt competent and comfortable during the rehearsal time. It was a 6 hour long process, which is hard enough for the most resilient 6 year old!!

About 10 minutes after this discussion, the same mom came back smiling to tell me that Reece was participating in the group game and saying hello to everyone! She wanted to let me know so that my mind would be at ease! I can't tell you the relief that swept over me! I was finally able to relax a little bit, knowing that Reece had been able to cross over that first big hurdle. There were a few more hurdles as the day went on, but they never had to call my mom to come get Reece. They did run into her in the hallway so my mom offered to take her and give her some OT/alone time, which helped quite a bit.

The dancing part of the dress rehearsal was quite confusing for all of us, and Reece struggled amidst the confusion. I was really glad I had given her dance teacher a copy of a handout from one of my yahoogroups that discussed behaviors that come about as result of feeling incompetent, because Reece was doing at least 4 of them on stage! LOL Her teacher is completely patient and kind regardless, and helped Reece figure out where she needed to be on this new and different stage and gave her some visual clues to help her remember her place for the recital.

During the recital, both girls did so well, and I was incredibly proud of them. Riley is such a fantastic dancer! I will truly be heartbroken if I have to make her choose only one dance class next year. It would be gas/food prices that would require us to cut back in the kids' activities. I hope it doesn't come to that. She seems so happy performing on the stage!

Reece's dancing was amazing! She was more "on" than I have ever seen her be during dance! In her ballet dance, she was so confident and ready to perform! I started crying as soon as the lights went up, and I was absolutely sobbing by the time the song was over. It wasn't just the dance, and the fact that she has worked so hard and was doing better than she ever has, but the music just seems to fit her whole life. Some of the lyrics are:

I once was lost, but now I'm found...
...I once was blind, but now I see..
..I once was dead, but now I live... Now my life to you I give...
(And Now My Lifesong Sings, by Casting Crowns)

Sometimes, I look back on the time before she was diagnosed, when it was so much worse and she wasn't communicating and she would scream over everything and have meltdowns for hours, and I feel like she was lost. As hard as things are sometimes still, I know in my heart that she has come so far. And I am truly grateful to God for that. And I am truly grateful to her dance teacher for wanting her in her class, and to the moms in the class who encourage and support me to keep bringing her when it gets hard and I feel like she'll never fit in.

The recital finally ended, and my mom gave the girls each a bouquet of roses and some Webkinz. I don't have any pictures of that because I was cleaning up our area and getting our girls signed out to their parents. My mom will send me pictures tonight when she gets back home, and then I will post a few! My dh took some video with the Flip, and they are up on You Tube. My user name over there is Niffercoo, if you would like to see them. I may decide later to embed them, but I'm not sure yet.

I am very glad the recital is over for another year!! Reece indicated last night that she would like to dance again in the fall. If she really feels that way, I will let her dance, but only in one class, at least for now. Riley, of course, wants to stay with her 3 classes plus she wants to add drama! I'm not sure we'll be able to add anything, but this studio does charge per hour rather than per class, so it works out to be a little bit cheaper the more classes you take. We'll have to wait and see how much gas is by the time August rolls around! ;)


Laura said...

Touching story. Gives the rest of us hope...

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

finally getting a chance to get caught up on blogs! This sounds marvelous. I am so glad it worked out! Praise God!