Ready for the ballet exam I washed the ballet uniform, cleaned the ballet shoes, and washed and ironed the silk scarf. On the day I made her favorite lunch, glued her hair into the required bun and got her to the exam venue in good time. Then I left her to it, picking her up two hours later. She seemed calm.
When Eldest started out on this lark I’d have done all that, but I’d also have helped her dress, checked and double checked that we’d got everything she needed for the exam, stayed with her while she was prettified and unified with her exam companions (they always do exams in small groups because they have to dance together as well as doing individual choreographed dances, so they have to look the same but be distinguishable by different coloured ribbons: think rows of swans!), and kept her company while she waited for her turn. ‘We’ must have done Pre-Primary when she was 4 or 5. Not all schools do it as they only ‘fail’ if they refuse to dance, but her school felt it got them used to the drama of the thing. Since then there’s been Primary and Grades 1 to 7, Pre-Inter and Intermediate ballet exams and a footful of tap exams.
Yesterday, aged 16, she took Grade 8. She says it was OK but she won’t have got a distinction…
From my point of view (apart from getting used to her growing independence) this means that Eldest will be dropping two classes a week: there’s still tap and Advanced 1, but that’s 3 lessons on two nights instead of 5 classes on 4 nights. However proud I am of her dedication, it will be nice not to have to do so many ballet runs!
Just a note of caution: I'd rather do the taxi service than sit at home while she drives, but it's only a matter of time. (Head in hands at very thought of my baby driving.)