Monday, October 19

Ballerinas and Gummy Bears

She's crazy enough to want to sit through a 3-hour ballet performance, and I'm crazy enough to let her. After a successful voyage to see Cinderella, I figured a trip to see Pittsburgh Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty was definitely in the cards.

This past Saturday Alexis and I headed downtown for the matinee performance, along with pretty much every little girl under the age of 10 who lives in the tri-state area. As Alexis and I shuffled into our seats, I looked around to find that every third seat was occupied by a short person wearing a pink poofy dress and hauling around a doll dressed exactly the same way.

Alexis, because she is deprived, was dressed in an old H&M skirt and t-shirt and had been forced to leave all of her toys behind. The poor child will never know the joy of having a doll that looks and dresses just like her because I am soooooo mean. At least, I'm sure that's what she will say later in life. I like to think that a few years after that, she'll thank me.

As the ballet started, I was reminded how weird it is that the kid truly enjoys that sort of event. I have the attention span of a gnat so I can't be bothered to follow along when there aren't words telling me the story. Alexis, however, was captivated. She sat contently watching the dancing, whispering to me when she spotted a new character or when a significant plot line played out. I was mesmerized by her enthusiasm and amazed by her ability to interpret the story line when literally there wasn't a single word telling the tale. It was all about the music and the motion, and if you asked Alexis, it was in great part about the dresses.

My goodness, the kid LOVED the dresses.

An hour and a half passed and Alexis never once flinched or whined or complained. There was no place she would have preferred to be than sitting on my lap and watching the characters on the stage. Then came time for intermission, and my tired brain darted for the caffeine and candy.

We had made it through the first 90 minutes of ballet without a single snack and I'm sure Alexis could have made it through the last 90 minutes in exactly the same manner. I, however, needed to chug some Coke and inhale some chocolate. Fortunately, overpriced food stuffs were available. I grabbed my own stash and then offered Alexis her choice. She's a dork, so she selected bottled water and gummy bears. I would have thought only aliens would pick gummy bears over Reese's Pieces, so apparently I gave birth to an alien.

We settled back into our seats after the intermission. I resumed watching Alexis' reaction to the show. She grinned and cheered when the prince awoke Sleeping Beauty. She laughed when a pair of dancing cats pranced across the stage. She oohed as the fairies performed synchronized steps.

Alexis sat radiating joy for another half hour but then cracks in her perfect facade started to show. She wiggled. She whispered. She squirmed. She squawked. I was invested in her happiness, so I gave it a few minutes and tried a little sugary bribery. Then I realized that the real problem was not that she had run out of patience. Instead, it was that the show had evolved into a series of performances without any real story. The full plot of the tale had already been told, but yet there was still another half hour left to go.

I made the call; it was time to leave. I gathered up our belongings and told Alexis to quietly sneak out. As I walked down the aisle, I realized that the once full theatre was nearly empty. While there had literally been hundreds of little girls watching when we first took our seats, there wasn't a single kid to be seen anywhere.

Not. a. one.

Except Alexis.

I gave birth to a ballet loving, gummy bear eating alien.

I'd have it no other way.


An announcement regarding the Bump contest is forthcoming. Thank you all so much for your votes!


  1. I love A even more for loving the ballet. Next up? One of the fun Symphony performances for kids. I'll go with you. Kid you not. She's gotta see it!

    And thank god for you caffeine infusion to help you through!! I could have used the same thing at rugby for 5 hours.

    Feel free to stop by and visit Saturday or Sunday. I'd love to see the both of you!!

  2. HOORAY for Alexis! She's my hero. :)

    And I'd choose gummy bears, too.

  3. That sounds like the Nutcracker we went to last year. The first act was amazing. The second act was very much "Watch me DANCEEEE!"

  4. I am seriously impressed with her ability to sit still and focus that long, that's fantastic! We haven't tried anything like that with Maggie yet, but I can't imagine her paying attention that long. woohoo for Alexis :)

  5. I'd rater have 1 gummy bear than 10,000 reeses pieces. Alexis is genius.

  6. Sometimes the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre does special tours and stuff where you get to go backstage and see all the costumes and the dressing rooms and the set and whatnot. I know I went a couple of times as a kid (although, like you, I never had the patience to watch a ballet), but they may have been with school groups, so perhaps she will have to wait a few years to go!

    And Reese's Pieces >>>> Gummi bears

  7. That. Is. Awesome. :)

  8. AS a mom of a once "tiny Ballerina" I want to warn you. That her love of ballet may never wain and could possibility grow and grow until she is attending Point Park University Conservatory of the Arts as a Dance major. You may be looking at thousands of dollars over her childhood in dance classes, costumes, summer intensives, and college tuition all due to her love of dance. And trust me when I tell you that it will all be worth it when you see her onstage dancing and another little girl sitting in the audience amazed by that site.
    Thank you for sharing and giving me back some wonderful memories of my little girl.

  9. Gummi? Even the name sounds like ick.

  10. The first ballet I ever saw was when I was 7 and my mom took me to see Sleeping Beauty. Unfortunately, it started right around my bedtime and shortly after intermission, I fell asleep and missed the prince kissing SB, even with my mother desperately trying to get me to wake up. Clearly, I'm a wuss.

  11. Hooray for aliens! When my sister flies down next month, we are taking Gracie to see the Von Trapp family singers (from Sound of Music) at Bass Hall. Gracie is over-the-moon excited!