This past Saturday I woke up with excitement for the special day I had planned three months in advance for my 2-year-old daughter, Ava. Despite that morning's 4 a.m. wake-up call (aka feeding Ava's little brother), when 6 a.m. came I was "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" to begin the day that was to be Ava’s Special Day.
On the docket was a 10 a.m. Wizard of Oz performance at Drury Lane in Oak Brook; I had heard about it from a friend and was told it was 2-year-old-friendly, so I immediately bought tickets. I even went above and beyond to buy the tickets that included a breakfast with the cast. So I purchased our seats and made arrangements for our sitter to watch Baby Jack during the show. After all, it was Ava’s Special Day—no babies allowed!
Given it was the first time she has ever been in a theater, we were a little nervous; I had no idea how long her attention span would humor us. Was she going to be bouncing up and down in her seat? Climbing on Mommy and Daddy? Hanging from the rafters of the auditorium? Well, I am happy to report that she behaved herself quite well, getting antsy only a few times near the end of the show.
For the most part, she sat quietly, enjoying the show while gasping at the right moments and showing concern for her favorite characters, the lion and the wizard. And if you ask me, she enjoyed clapping at the end of each number the most. It was cute to look over and see her smacking her little mitts together, smiling that huge smile while looking at the stage, and then looking to her left and right, making sure Mommy and Daddy were clapping too. I think we made her feel extra big during that little adventure. And she made us feel extra proud in her big-girl ability!
After the breakfast came the time to meet the cast. When the time came for her to step up to the plate and actually meet them, she (predictably) was far too shy to talk or take pictures. Instead, she snuggled into her daddy’s neck while he and I awkwardly told the characters how great their performance was.
Oh well. I knew we had a few more adventures awaiting us, so off we went.
Next up we were off to Ava’s dance recital. She has been a member of Impact Dance Studio for the last eight months and her hard work was about to come to fruition. She and the four other girls in her class were glitzed-to-the-max to perform I Just Can’t Wait To Be King. They were, to say the least, adorable. Call me biased but I’ve never seen such talented (and cute) 2-3 year olds. Their skips, turns and gallops were among the best I’ve EVER seen. Look out American Ballet Theatre!
I was beyond proud, considering I adored ballet while growing up; I looked forward to our annual recital for months in advance!
After her "star studded performance," I went back to the HCHS cafeteria to collect her. I had a bouquet of flowers in my hand, ready to greet my girl and tell her how proud we were of her—and that’s when I was told of her behavior prior to going onstage.
I learned that she was a complete terror prior to going on stage. She kicked, hit and threw everything in her vicinity because she "wanted her mommy."
I was so bummed. Embarrassed that she threw such a fit (and hit), I immediately approached her and said, “Hi Ava. You did a really good job onstage. But I think we owe a few people an apology before we can go celebrate.”
She obliged and we immediately went to find Miss Juliana so she could apologize. After that, we gave her a bouquet of flowers and meekly celebrated. On our way through the parking lot little Ava looked up at me and said, "Mahi, I sorry for hiting them."
My heart melted on the pavement. She said JUST what I wanted to hear. She understood that she was wrong, and she was remorseful. What do I have to do to get through to your father?
And with that apology, we were off! No. Our “day of fun” was not done yet.
Off to Daisy Days we went! Little Ava, boundless of energy, rode every ride until the power nearly ran out! What a great time we had. Even Mom and Dad (yours truly) were able to indulge in some cold beers, an absolute must after catering to a demanding, and very unpredictable 2-year-old all day long. I don’t think beer had ever tasted so good. She began to melt down after we said “no” to riding the motorcycle for the 78th time. Seriously?! Is the 79th time going to be that much more exhilarating? Doubt it.
We eventually arrived home and I will admit, Ken and I were completely spent. Ava, not so much. That kid could go for days. The three of us passed out in our bed around 10 p.m. and I can recall thanking Jack at 4 a.m., the following morning, for allowing me the six hours of sleep.
What I’ve learned from this experience: don’t plan too much for such a young child; it will surely backfire. Perhaps next time I’ll choose one event for each Saturday, rather than squeezing in all three in one day. All I can say is this past Saturday was a recipe for disaster, too much, too soon, too clustered.
Thank goodness for cameras that allow us to capture the moments, good or bad, that we might otherwise forget.