As we roll on into November, it is becoming the time of year for all kids concerts/events to be performed. The end of year round up, Christmas shows, you name it; I am sure just about everyone out there has events like this scattered on their calendars where they will be watching dancing, singing, or a variation of the same/both.
The trio have been dancing for nearly all of this year. They had their first concert the other week – a real, big time, on the big stage, ticketed event, for which they practiced, rehearsed and then rehearsed some more. The rehearsals began months ago, and the preparation has been intense to say the least. I have been scared out of my mind on many occasions, wondering how I will be able to apply makeup and this hair piece thing (a ‘wiglet’) appropriately, and not be ‘that mother’ who has a child lose their hair piece during the show. I think the rehearsals were more stressful for me to be honest. A world where clearly, I do not fit in. Limber, lithe dancers of all ages and dance mums; and me a relative gargantuan at 6″2 with no real understanding of the mechanisms of dance concerts, or the need for exactly the right shade of eyeshadow. Now I write this not to be derogatory to anyone but myself – I had no idea what I was getting myself in for when the kids said they wanted to do ‘the concert’.
The kids were at every rehearsal – which was not always easy to facilitate with work. I think I went there on several occasions on no sleep, or maybe 2 hours max. So bleary eyed and overwhelmed I worked out where we were supposed to ‘go’ and very quickly how to entertain kids that cannot move around a lot for fear of destroying their costumes – the second full dress rehearsal I tool along their iPads so we could put a movie on. That would at least keep them from running around and around circling in delight at their dress flaring out, or their sparkly collar endlessly!
They were all particularly ecstatic that they were doing ‘Frozen’. The costumes were in the theme of Elsa for the girls, and the frozen ‘blues’ carried over for the boys. Brendan was wearing white pants and a white vest. I think I had a nervous tic in my eye by the end of the first dress rehearsal as I could see all the dirt magically making its way to his costume! I got it dry cleaned for the concert as I was so petrified of ruining it by overuse of Napisan!
Getting back to the makeup and hair. I was SO scared. I was pretty much a rare specimen in the dance shop – ‘use your own makeup’ they said. ‘I have none’ I said. After a few minutes silence (yes really), she worked out I was serious, stepped up the ante and said, ‘Don’t worry Ali, I will sort it out for you and get the colours you need and put it together for your girls’. She did, and thankfully I did not have to find ‘Maxfactor’s beautiful berries’ or some other colour. Laugh it up, but I was way out of my depth here. I did not even know that they had to be colour matched for their foundation. Here I was thinking you just went with what was closest to you skin tone. Well, with that sorted, it was the wiglet preparation. Strict instructions on ‘no flyaways’, lots of product, and lots of wig pins. It looked pretty simple to do. Looks are deceiving!
This is what I was dealing with. Wiglets and a tiara. And a bucketload of bobby pins. I have an arsenal of bobby pins now! I felt like a crazed woman the first time for dress rehearsal. “keep your head still” “look straight ahead” “don’t move” “only one more bobby pin” “please keep still” “I am sorry bubba” were phrases I repeated over and over as panic overtook me and I thought they were going to be the ‘girls whose hair fell out’. I was so worried. The girls were not a fan of all the bobby pins, or the wig pins.
Here is the finished result –
The rehearsals were interesting. I learned a great deal about how to get kids to the toilet with those costumes on, and how to pack food that has no residue, or has minimal chance of staining, and how to lug three sets of everything around! We mostly had a good time. There were moments of frustration for all of us – but we worked through it (and I swore a LOT in my head).
The day of the concert came so quickly. The kids were ready. I was ready. We had a big day there as the kids were dancing in both the morning and afternoon concert. We arrived, in normal dance attire, with hair and makeup done.
I don’t think I have ever thought my girls looked similar until today – and I am used to people mixing up the girls, more so because they are siblings than their similarities. There was so much stuff. But we got there. We had no dressing room, but worked with a hallway and stair well and with great thanks to technology got the kids to sit still (there was no option!). We kind of took over the stairwell, which was a fair price to pay to contain the triplets!
To say I was full of pride is an understatement. Now, they were not perfectly behaved, and we had a few tears (mainly Caitlyn) but they did, for the most part, all that they were supposed to do. I never got to see their dance until I sat in the audience on the day of the concert, but I had been there with them for every step of the way – seen how hard they have tried, seen their interactions with their class mates and teachers, and seen how much they loved doing it. The time came for them to walk up the stairs for their first concert. Helpers holding their hands, and they were nervous. Caitlyn cried a little, which was heartbreaking, as I knew that she would be ok, but it was making sure she was.
This was the face I was met with – and I know it is not a great photo, but you can see her crying 🙁
Then I was more nervous than ever! Worried something would happen. I caught a glimpse backstage, and from the reports from the dancers on the side (the ‘big kids’) they were doing a great job –
I could just see B in this photo! So then it was concert one down, one to go.
The entertaining of three kids in between – we had fairy bread for lunch (I bought everything!) and lots of fruit and snacks.
Time dragged, and eventually it was time to get them dressed again for their second concert. This time, I was going to be in the audience the entire time. I was so eager to see them perform! Waiting on their seats (for when they finished) I had some handmade dancer dolls for them as their ‘gift’.
Also waiting for them was a very proud big brother, and grandparents. Their turn finally came, and we were not allowed to take photos, so I have none of them on stage, but oh my goodness! I cried, I was so stinking proud of them! I sat, amazed and overwhelmed, with tears unchecked rolling down my face. They were so beautiful! They all spotted us (we were in the second row) and there were a few ‘there is my Mummy/Daddy/Hayden’ moments and waving, but they danced. And they were awesome – they danced their little hearts out. They looked older than their four years in their ability to get through their moves, and you could see their concentration. Those minutes that they were on the stage made it all worthwhile. All the nervousness (from me!) about their hair, (it stayed in thank goodness, every time!) makeup and costumes, was gone. It was just about the fact that they got there. They did it. They did it twice even. But they used their courage, and they danced. In front of at least a hundred people. What legends.
They loved their presents, and they loved watching the rest of the concert. Their teachers and helpers danced and sang in their performances, with my three waving crazily at them and saying hello to them, ‘that’s my teacher/that’s my helper/thats Miss Maria/etc – it was an incredibly well done concert. Afterwards, we headed to the beach for fish and chips for dinner. It had been a very long day. And I think the kids were euphoric from being on stage and the whole notion of the concert itself.
Over dinner, I realised, that this is one of those moments that I will always remember vividly. I realise Hayden is missing from much of this story, but this was not his story. His role as big brother was vital, but this story was about Brendan, Emma & Caitlyn. They worked so hard to get to the concert, and they did it without complaint as they really wanted to do it. Whether or not they continue to do this for a long time or another year is totally up to them. But it was worth it. The first concert, the culmination of all their practice, the endless replays of Let it Go and Love is an Open Door; is something that they will also remember. So here is another Mummy Moment. One where you are so astonished by how much your child is capable of – and one where you are overwhelmed by your love for them. My heart literally is in five pieces I think – one piece for each of my kids, and one for my husband. Instead of getting bigger with the ageing process, I think it is just getting bigger because I just keep on loving those little chickens more and more every day!