Behind the Scenes As An Actual Dance Mom

Competitive dance.

On Saturday, we attended our second dance competition. This is what it was like.

5:30am : My alarm goes off because I'm still under the impression that we have to be there at 7:30.
Really need to get better at checking email at night.

5:45am: Ironflower's alarm goes off and she starts getting dressed in her tights, warm up suit and t-shirt that we laid out the night before. I am still slathering on make-up so that I don't frighten anyone.

6:00am: Realize that we don't have to be there until 8:00am. Finish checking email.

6:15am: Do Ironflower's first hairdo. We have been prepping for smoother hair (Ironflower's lovely waves are very hard to tame into competition hair) for several days so the process isn't that painful. Make sure we have everything and hug the always early-to-rise boys.

6:55am: Stop at Dunkin Donuts. Feel like a pageant mom as I ply my child with sugar and myself with caffeine.
7:15am: Drive to random middle school where competition is being held.
7:48am: Arrive at competition site and try to ascertain which door will be open so as to choose best parking spot. Fail miserably.
8:00am: Discover we are sharing room with 5 other schools, all of whom glare at us. They refuse to move even a bit to give us room - we're crowded into a corner and only 4 of us have arrived. This is totally unlike the last competition where people from other schools were nice and friendly. One of our owners fixes this promptly and we soon have our own small room.
8:20am: Discover that I will have to do all of Ironflower's make-up this time. Try not to
8:30am: Another mom does eyeliner for me as I can't even put eyeliner on myself. Lovely make-up
              ladies put on rhinestones for us before they have to run to other jobs.

9:05am: Girls go to the backstage holding area, moms go in to watch. I sit with my mom. Am so relieved that music is not as horribly loud as last competition.
9:17am: First group from our school goes. I tear up a little while screaming loudly. As one does.
9:20am - 9:40am: Other groups go. Am generally not impressed. Try not to turn into competitive dance mom. Fail miserably.
9:42am: Ironflower and her team go. I tear up a lot while screaming like a banshee. They look
              even better than they did last time. They have improved so much.
9:50am: Meet up with girls in hallway and congratulate them. Take their team picture in front of
               competition back drop. Ironflower manages to convince her Grammy that she needs a
               competition teddy bear.
10:00am: Cannot believe it is only 10am. Our next dance isn't for a while, so girls settle in to watch a movie and color. I cannot convince Ironflower to eat, but my body thinks it's lunchtime.
10:40am: Hear report that man outside is ranting about some dance teacher insulting his daughter and/or her school. There is alleged foot stomping. Am so tempted to go check out real life Dance Moms moment, but manage to restrain myself. Hang with my mom for a bit before she heads home.
11:00am: We are not due to go on again until 1:15, but we hear it will probably be sooner. Everyone starts getting ready for the production number. There are 20 girls, 12 of whom need red glitter on their lips, 6 of whom also need their rhinestones. It is hectic.
11:05am: Attack Ironflower's hair to tame it into bun. Begin to sweat.
11:45am: A veteran mom does eyeshadow and one of our fearless leaders does lip glitter, but I do
manage to trace over Ironflower's eyeliner. Feel oddly proud.

12:00pm: Girls assemble in hallway to head backstage. Love how the older girls are assigned younger
girls to keep an eye on. These older girls? Are wonderful. A bunch showed up early to cheer the younger ones on and they are just so great with them. Already getting teary again. PMS and dance competitions not a good combo for my mascara.
Sometime before 1pm: Our production number goes on and I have never, ever, ever seen them light
up the stage like this. They have the people screaming for them who aren't even from our school, which basically never happens.
1pmish: Take picture of girls by convention backdrop and praise them. Then quickly change Ironflower into warm up suit without ruining her hair (they all wanted to leave their hairdos
in so people could recognize them) and make sure I collect all costume pieces and whatnot. Run everything to the car so we can leave when awards are done.
1:15pm: Awards - 45 minutes early! Last time I was seated in front of a woman who had an AIR  HORN. This time I make sure there is no one behind me. I try to explain the points and the levels and the overalls to one of the girls' aunts, but I barely understand it myself. And it changes from competition to competition.

The other group from our school scores very well and comes in first in their division. Ironflower's group scores pretty well, but there are no overalls for their division so we have no idea how they placed. The production number gets a very high score, but no trophy or overall high score.

2:00pm: I can tell, as soon as I see Ironflower, that she is upset. She doesn't understand why the production didn't get a trophy, why her small group didn't get to hear how they placed. I don't really get it all either, but I do remind her that she's doing this to become a better dancer and be on a team, not to get trophies. And I say I've never seen her dance better, that all the groups were amazing and should be so proud.

ETA: It turns out that the production number did get a trophy for overall junior production, it     was just presented on Sunday and we couldn't get there on Sunday.

2:30pm: We leave the competition and I feel exhausted. Ironflower has become philosophical about the award situation and has reminded me that they can't give all the awards to one school, as then the other schools would just give up and stop coming to that competition. I don't know if this is actually true, but it sounds plausible.

I love this time with my daughter, to be honest. But I am bummed I missed Hugmonkey's first kickball game and Lovebug's first slide into first base. Luckily next weekend is just about being a baseball/kickball mom.

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