Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The First School Dance

"This is ridiculous," Natalie said, digging underneath the cabinet of the bathroom sink. "Why can't I find a curling iron?"

"Probably," I spoke up, "because we don't have one."

Her head emerged from the underneath the sink and her jaw dropped open.

"I never use one," I explained. It's true. I am not girly. I have unruly thick hair that I simply toss back into a ponytail. Sometimes I will straighten it, but it's rare because it takes ages, and frankly, I'd rather read.

"We need a curling iron!" Natalie insisted. "I wanted my hair to be curled for the dance and now I'm stuck with this." She flicked her straight hair behind her shoulder. She does not have my thick hair. She has her Daddy's thin hair. She sometimes gets her hair curled at her friend's house and I must admit, she does look precious:

But I wouldn't know how to do her hair like that. Her friend's cousin did it. I am terrible with hair, much to Natalie chagrin. She once asked me to French braid her hair and I stared at her blankly. Then she asked me to make a shape out of little braids and I blinked at her. Sure, there are YouTube videos, but it doesn't matter. I am terrible with hair.

"I'll brush your hair out. Or I can straighten it," I offered.

Natalie sighed and gave me one of her famous tween I-can't-believe-you're-my-mother Looks. "No," she replied. "I'll just leave my hair as it is. Boring."

"Great," I said cheerfully, because going down a Tween moodswing hole is not wise. I've learned that the hard way.

At least Natalie approved of her dress. This is because she picked it out. The ones I pick out are either too itchy, too weird, or "ugly."

"Take a picture!" Natalie insisted. "Of me like this. It's what the models do."

Then we headed for the dance. It wasn't anything terribly fancy. Grades PreK-5th could show up. I came armed with two very important items:

The drink is full of Diet Coke because if I had to be in a room filled with screeching kids for two hours, yes, I was getting a Diet Coke.

Natalie found her friends. She danced. I read. Or tried to. Whenever I'd start, she'd come over with girl drama. Someone felt left out, because someone talked to someone else. I dealt with that. I reminded the girls that they could talk to others and that it would be okay.

I went back to reading.

"Mommy," Natalie said and I inwardly groaned. I set down my book.

"My friend is in the hall crying."

I rubbed my temples. "Why?"

"A boy called her smelly."

"Where's her parent?" I mean, seriously. Why was it my problem?

"They left."

I blinked. The rules of the dance stated that parents had to stay.  But I guess rules don't apply to everyone. I sighed and went out to the hall. I found a child in the famous "tween drama" position: on the ground, legs bent, with her face pressed against her knees.

"Here's my Mom," Natalie called out kindly.

I stood awkwardly. I never know what to say or do to other kids. Do I get down to their level? But in fourth grade, they might find it offensive. Do I treat them like teenagers and go, "What's with the tears, yo?"

"Well," I said, scratching my cheek. "Well." I peered around, hoping for another adult. No luck.

"She doesn't smell," Natalie said firmly.

"You don't smell," I confirmed. I sniffed. I didn't smell anything but floor cleaner.

The girl peeked up. "But he said I did."

"Boys can be..."

"Dumb," Natalie finished.

"Let's be kind," I reminded her, even though I sort of wanted to cheer and go, "Yes! Yes, they can be!"

"Come on, let's dance!" Natalie said, trying to grab the girl's hand.

The girl was back to hiding her face in her knees.

Then Natalie's other friends came over. "I knew it! Natalie is with her and is ignoring us!" one girl said.

For the love of--

"She's just helping her," I spoke up.

Pairs of tween eyes glared at me.

"She's upset," I said meekly. I was a little afraid.

"You don't smell," Natalie tried again to her tearful friend. "Let's go dance!"

"Yes, go dance. There's only..." I checked my phone and whispered to myself, "Please let it be only a half hour left.." But nope, there was still AN HOUR left of the dance. Dammit. "You only have an hour left," I sighed.

The girl finally agreed to dance but ONLY if they stayed away from the boy who called her smelly.

"If he comes near you, I'll punch him in the balls," one of Natalie's friends said.

All the girls giggled.

"That's not kind," I felt obliged to say as the adult even though I wanted to laugh.

I'd like to say I was left alone but no. There was more girl drama.

By the end of the night, I was spent. I had only read maybe three pages of my book. The songs that were played were terrible so my ears were ringing. (Ariana Grande. One Direction. Some weird mash ups of clean rap songs. Puke.)

But then Beat It by Michael Jackson came on, so I got out of my chair and started dancing with myself. Because if you can't dance with yourself, you have problems.

"Mommy!" Natalie snapped, coming up behind me.

I kept jiggling my hips. "Yup?"

"What are you DOING?"

"Dancing!" I wiggled my butt back and forth.

"That's dancing?" Natalie asked, eyebrows raised. Her friends ran over. They giggled.

"This is old people music," one said. "I overhead a teacher say that they had to put it on for the old people."

So I basically spent the night dealing with other people's problems. And I was insulted. But you know, it's okay. My daughter ended up having fun. She even thanked me for taking her.

"And Mommy," she added as I walked out of her room after kissing her goodnight.


"Your dancing wasn't so bad." Natalie gave me a tiny smile.

"I'm glad you think so. Because I plan on chaperoning all your dances in middle and high school. Goodnight!"

And then I left before she could protest.


  1. Uh oh... can't wait to hear your stories when high school comes around, haha! Funny you mention braids... I just french braided my hair last night. Looks like you two had a blast at the dance!

  2. She sounds like a handful but, is so adorable. I love her hair. I like how she cared for the girl that was crying. When she gets older, i can tell she will be the one sticking up for others. She is already doin it. Micheal Jacksob wil always get someone out comfort zone and just start doing crazy dancing. �� i love the story. When I read it, i kind of thought short stories. ❤

  3. Aww she looked amazing. I am glad she had a great time at her first day. I am sure it won't be her last, lol!

  4. Glad Natalie had a great time. I'm also glad you were there to assist with young lady in the hallway.

  5. This was just the post I needed to put me back in a good mood! That's awesome that Natalie comes to you to help smooth out tween drama! She picked out a really pretty dress!

  6. Ohhh I have a two year old girl! I am already dreading the teen and tween years. I remember my first dance and the drama and I can only imagine how it will be as a parent!

  7. Hahahaha this is going to be me!!! I'm terrible at doing hair and I plan on embarrassing E every chance I get. :)

  8. She looked so cute in her dress - she made a great choice on it (although I can totally relate to the mom-eye-roll that comes along with knowing that whatever you pick, no matter what it is, will be "the worst" because your daughter reminds me of mine). It was really sweet of her to go into the hall and look out for her friend too, but I'm not sure I'd have handled the punch in the balls comment quite as diplomatically. I probably would have busted out laughing, to be honest. Out of the mouths of babes, huh?

  9. Your daughter is so cute! What precious memories both you and she will have!

    Beth ||

  10. Awww! Is it weird I want to do your daughters hair and help her get pretty for the dance?? lol I'm so girly!! Typically, boys say stuff like that when they like a girl. It's weird but hey, they are men and they gotta look cool in front of their bros. You're smelly = you're hot. Haha.
    She looked sooo pretty!! All she needs is a pug. ;)

  11. Ha! You are much better at this parenting thing than I will ever be!

  12. Haha your little lady is so cute, and not shy to be with her Mommy. She's adorable :)

  13. Loved the way she cared for her friend... i hope u both had a blast at the dance :)

  14. What a beautiful soul! She is so caring and sweet to worry about her friend. I think the hardest thing about working with kids is recognizing that little things that we, as adults, can brush off are monumental to them. I have to always remember that and acknowledge each kid's "troubles" because they are truly huge to them.

  15. Hahahaha!!! Love this!

    Love that your daughter sorta took lead and knew how to help her friend with you as her backup. DYING over the pinch him in the balls part! As soon as you mentioned Michael Jackson, I did his ohhhh sound and started bobbing my head to finish up the post.

    Great one =)

  16. Ha ha ha! This is great. I love that you documented this. I enjoy your being real, too. I wouldn't necessarily know what to say to an upset tween I wasn't related to, either. :)

  17. HAHAH! A. Because you danced to Michael Jackson. B.. because.. "If he comes near you, I'll punch him in the balls."
    Ah, tweens. I'm not sure I can handle it when my time comes?
    Also, I LOVE Jennifer Weiner. And you're my hero for coming to help the poor non-smelly smelly girl.

  18. I so would have been there with a book too! It's just too bad you didn't get more than three pages read and had to deal with girl drama instead. More importantly you were an engaged Mama and you clearly have a loving and caring daughter who wanted to help her friend. Your daughter is a delight and I love reading your stories.

  19. I loved this, good on your for getting up and dancing! bet your daughter will bring this up in years to come!

  20. Haha bless you, at least you were having fun by the end of the night, even if the kids were laughing at you. Still they are beautiful xx

  21. I laughed out loud with the "I'll punch him in the balls" bit. So funny. Tweens can be so interesting sometimes. Their melodrama can be overwhelming. You might complain about all that but you are an amazing mother. You sound like the type of mother that would do anything for her child, even if you don't want to. And you'll help her no matter what. We need more moms like you in this world! You go girl!

  22. Hahahaha she is so funny!! And she looks so pretty with that dress!! So much drama but she had a great time and that is the best part!

  23. School dances are relatively rare in the UK. We have proms now but it's a fairly new thing - we certainly didn't have them when I was a kid.

  24. What a night! I can't wait to read about her middle school dances, ha ha. Glad she had a good time :)

  25. She looks so cute! Glad she enjoyed her first school dance, those days fly by so fast.

  26. I have years until I enter the tween phase, but I am so scared of it. Tweens scare the living day lights out of me! You handled everything way better than I would at this point. If I were there, I would be dancing to Michael Jackson with you!

  27. She sounds like my daughter and her friends with the drama! The YouTube videos do help a little with the braids, lol! Michael Jackson's music never goes out of style!

  28. I have yet to experience this and with twins, I'm sure it's going to be pretty dramatic! I think it's awesome that you stayed the entire night. That's what matters.

  29. How adorable is this little girl! I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with mine when they go to their first dance. It sounds like a challenging ordeal since I'm not girly myself.

  30. You two were great partners in crime for making me laugh always. I like the way you treat each other, and it reminds me of my relationship with my mom when I was a kid. It was a very nice thing for Natalie to care for the feelings of others and you should be proud of it, I can see how she knows how to give comforting words to her friend and it was a sign that she has a good heart.

  31. Sounds like a night to remember. I remember my teens first dance in jr high and I wish I was allowed to be there.

  32. Very cute story. I just went to my daughters sweetheart dance last weekend so it was like reliving the experience all over again. Only I bet you were better dressed. :)

  33. I love how you wrote this like a story. Very nice. My son glanced at my computer and saw her Five Nights at Freddie's shirt and he instantly wanted me to tell him about the story. Kids are amazing, as this story proves once again.

  34. Whoa! Loved the way how you've described everything so beautifully in this post! From Natalie's reaction about curl-irons to her teary friend and when you danced at MJ's song, I could imagine everything as if I was there! You could try writing a novel!

  35. I loved reading this recount of yours. Very interesting and great candid style. Sounds like you had a day full of tween drama!

  36. I'm glad she had fun, even if you did kind of get called old! She looks adorable! I, too, am not great with hair. I do own a curling iron and a flat iron, but I have so much hair that it takes me forever to do anything with it, and like you, I'd rather read.

  37. You brought back such great memories for me :). She looks adorable and I am sure she had so much fun. Enjoy every moment, every dance that you can attend. It is a precious moment in both of your lives.

  38. Ha... the memories.. I don't have any children of my own but I did help raise 2 nieces and 3 nephews and they all went through similar kid drama. I think we all did in some form or another. This is the easy age, the drama gets even worse but seems to taper off around the end of senior year of high school... After prom. Rich B

  39. I love hearing about the tid-bits of your life, Thanks for sharing.

  40. Wow your little one already knows what exactly she wants and how she wants to do certain things! Her hair looks gorgeous and so does she. Looks like she had a great time!

    xx, Kusum |

  41. Bwhahaha! My kids are lucky I haven't gone to a school dance yet! I am a barrel full of embarrassment!

  42. Oh what an exciting time. I so remember dancing at my first party. It was so fun. She looked too cute.

  43. Aw what a special day! I remember school dances well, although I don't think we ever had any when we were that young. We don't have a curling iron either (why would I?!), so I wonder what my own daughter will think of that when she comes of age. Ps. Boys only say horrid things like that because they have a crush on the girl they're insulting, as far as I understand. ;)

  44. Sounds like you had quite an eventful night! BTW - You are also such an awesome storyteller. I loved reading the part of the little girl in the hallway and how that ended with a promised kick in the "you know where" if that boy did it again *giggles*

  45. Awe, I remember school dances! Sound like a very good night. I love her little dress.

  46. Haha I'm glad she had a good time, it definitely sounds like a full night. I think my first dance was my daddy daughter dance in 3rd grade and it's definitely a night I'll always remember. I just wish I had photos like this to look back on

  47. Hahaha such a cute story! And I'm glad you were able to curl her hair because it looks adorable! :)

  48. This is a great post and I remember my first and last dancing on our Prom night, Btw I really like the dress

  49. My oldest daughter just went to her first school dance and she said that it was magical. Your daughter's dress is so pretty!

  50. omggg this brings back so many memories. my first school dance was 7th grade and boy did i have fun. i danced the night away. lol. she looks so adorable so happy she enjoyed herself.


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