We weren't sure how her first performance would go. She knows the dance since they've been working on it every week, she loves doing the dance, but with her anxiety we just weren't sure. When we got there she immediately started breaking down very scared because it was so so loud. She was shaking like a leaf and gripping us for dear life for the first 45 minutes. Gramma Liz came along and gave Zoya some comfort through it as well. She had a great idea and found some cotton that we put in Zoya's ears. (I'm hunting for some better ear plugs, or wax that I can mold that will help keep some sound out, or possibly an external pair of headphones for her noise sensitivity. We're also going to start therapeutic listening again as that helped with this issue when she was first home). The cotton helped quite a bit, but Zoya was still very nervous saying "home, please!" We walked her out of the gym area and found her teacher who also gave her some snuggles and loved on her a bit! We got her calmed down enough to go back in the gym and she saw Uncle Mike and Aunt Carol. She was thrilled everyone came to watch her dance, but still a bit nervous. When they say it takes a village, they're right....our little village of friends that were there to support Zoya that day did not just sit back on the bleachers and watch....they actively engaged with her and helped to ease her fears right along with us. It was tough walking the line between pushing her too much, and just calling it quits (because believe me, there were a few times I thought maybe we should just take her home). But I knew she wanted to dance because she loves it and talked about it for days before. I thought to myself, even if she just watches the rest of the kids, that will be a success. The fact that she was able to regroup and calm herself was success all by itself! Their warm up time came and Zoya rocked the practice routine. You can see it here!
Then it was time for the real show. I was so nervous I was shaking too. I wasn't nervous she wouldn't get the moves right, that wasn't important. I was nervous that she was nervous....if you're a parent you know what I mean! I passed her off to her amazing helper and stayed back as best I could :) Then it was time for her to do her thing! She rocked it!! She decided to veer off and put on her own show for the cheerleaders on the sideline, but we were so proud of her for overcoming her anxiety and getting out there and dancing it up! There were tears, lots of tears, a standing ovation for the whole group of amazing kiddos, and then more tears. I know it might not seem like a big deal, but we were so very proud of Zoya!! She truly inspires me! There may have been an ice cream bribe involved, but there was also lots of love and comfort given to Zoya and it's just what she needed.
Here is some pre-dance performance baby sister cuteness! (I found those shirts on clearance at Children's Place for $2! woot! perfect for the occasion!)
And the star herself....
Waiting for the big moment! Sofia loved all the noise by the way! Imagine that ;)
Uncle Mike is a baby whisperer! Mila also loved the noise and craziness!
A sweet moment between Zoya and I captured by my friend Joanie!
Zoya's helper helping Zoya with her noise sensitivity!
Ready to rock it! (you can see the cotton in her ears...great idea Liz!)
She REALLY was having fun once she got over her anxiety!
I think this was one of her favorite parts...grabbing her guitar and putting it down to jump over it!
This image will be in my heart forever! Not a dry eye in the place...so proud of our Zoya girl! This is her teacher from school, and Daddy, both in tears and so proud of Zoya.
A sweet hug from a sweet buddy!
We're so proud of you Zoya!!