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On Your Toes, Sophie

posted Sunday May 6th, 2012

“Hey Mom, look!”

I glanced up from the computer the other morning to notice Sophie standing at the kitchen counter, all the way up on her tippy toes. I mean all the way. In her sparkly purple Toms.

This could explain why those shoes are so trashed — the ends are basically gone. I’m hoping Annabelle can save them with duct tape. (If she can’t, no one can.)

“Sophie, get off your toes!” I barked. “That’s dangerous! You could really hurt yourself!”

“I’m holding on,” she protested, grabbing the formica.

That’s what Annabelle says when I yell when she stands on her toes. At least she’s wearing actual pointe shoes — given to her last year on her 10th birthday by my over-eager mother (who, as Annabelle’s dance teacher, herself prohibits her students from taking pointe class til they are at least 11). The pointe shoes sat in the closet for months, but as 11 gets closer (July) for Annabelle, and she watches other girls on pointe in ballet class, she’s getting excited. So she’s taken to wearing the pointe shoes around the house, encased in socks, standing for a moment or two at a time at the counter. Although even that is officially prohibited til she is 11.

Sophie didn’t get that memo.

“Look at me!” she said to Ray.

“Wow, Sophie! That’s awe-”

I shot him a look across the kitchen.

“That’s, er, um, no. Sophie, don’t do that,” Ray said.

“It’s not safe,” I said.

“Yeah,” Ray said. “You can’t do that til you’re at least-”

“HONEY!” I barked (again), shooting more daggers.

“Oh,” he said, suddenly understanding — and looking really sad.

We both quickly changed the subject. But I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things Annabelle will get to do in her lifetime that Sophie will never be ready for.

Later at work that morning, it was still bugging me, and suddenly I wondered that maybe I was wrong (and had I even — this is embarrassing — written a blog post on this very topic years ago?!). I started Googling. Within seconds, I was watching a young girl with Down syndrome dance a solo on pointe.

I stand corrected.

There were a lot of comments on the year-old YouTube video, and I quickly realized that not everyone was a fan of the girl’s technique, which I thought was pretty good (I certainly couldn’t do that) and some questions about safety.

I chose not to read the comments or worry about the debate. Til Sophie’s at least 11. And the rest of the day, I felt like dancing.

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Tags: Filed under: culture, Down syndrome by Amysilverman

3 Responses to “On Your Toes, Sophie”

  1. Wow, knowing what I know about DS and ballet that is just plain amazing. I didn’t bother to read the comments on YouTube because they don’t matter. All that matter is the smile on her face.

  2. Never say never is my policy. I subscribe to the “you don’t have to be anything specific” club even for so called typical folks. I don’t really get the expectation thing for myself. Sophie will always be the best Sophie possible and that is always just right in my book!

  3. I feel like dancing too! Thanks for sharing.

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