Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ballet Shoes


Because I decided that my entire family should suffer through the most intense grad school semester I could pull together, I decided to do something special for Marley--a mother-daughter experience--before I get buried in school-related stuff. We hosted a mother-daughter book club party today. We chose to read Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield. We evited a few friends and read the book. For ages 9-12, the book was more than Marley could handle on her own, so I read it out loud to her. We didn't begin as early as we should, so we ended up reading 1-3 chapters a day for 10 days or so.

Marley enjoyed the book very much and I took advantage of her willingness to sit and listen to work on her comprehension skills. Every night that we read, we did a mini-review of the main points of each chapter. Granted, by the 15th chapter, we only covered the most recent chapters and didn't go back all the way to chapter one.  We read the last 18 pages just two hours before our guests were due to arrive.

I really wanted this to be something different for Marley. I wanted her to experience reading and discussing a good book, but I also thought my social butterfly needed some friends around her to enhance the experience... and a craft. Marley dearly loves a craft. I tweeted and facebook status'd for help and Veronica over at Toddled Dredge came through with No Sew Tutus. My in-laws scoured thrift stores for china cups and saucers. Ballet Shoes takes place in 1930s London, so of course, tea was the refreshment of the day. Used teacups are cheap and who cares if they break? The local bakery was the source for yummy tarts and petit fours. Sticky Fingers Scone mix was used for plain and chocolate chip scones. There was lemonade for the girls and tea and coffee for the moms. The final touch was 20s and 30s music courtesy of internet radio. 

Before our guests arrived, I gave Marley a crash course on hostessing. The hosts pick last. Hosts offer to take the moms' purses. The hosts offer refreshments. She did a wonderful job although her discussion faciliation was rather interesting. She tended to interrupt to move on to the next question or to share her own point of view.  As it became time for our guests to leave, Marley was a little too enthusiastic in her goodbyes. She was to go home with one of her friends for an overnighter and had her bagged pack and slung over her shoulder, ready to move on to the next experience!

Yesterday, Marley and I took some time to have discussion questions ready. We asked about favorite characters and events in the book. We considered what type of conversations we might want to have with the characters. Marley was very interested in asking what Great Uncle Matthew collected (Fossils!!!!) and wondering if everyone knew what GUM meant (Great Uncle Matthew!!!!).  My favorite question that Marley came up with, is "If you had influenza, what would you do... take medicine or not?" The girls very enthusiastically shared their thoughts and opinions. Marley had passed out questions to each of them so they could take turns. Seriously, it was just too cute. Of course, my cynical teenager had to tell me tonight that he didn't want to hurt my feelings but the party today was the DUMBEST THING EVER. I laughed at him because what else would a teenage boy think about a 1930s themed, mother-daughter book club party?

Here's a slideshow of our party. Because I don't have permission, I am only posting pictures of Marley, the tutus, the teacups. If you have a daughter, I highly recommend hosting a book club. After the discussion, the girls talked and decided that for their NEXT book club, they would read Theater Shoes, also by Noel Streatfield. When a party gets kids excited about reading, that's a very good thing! (Of course, I don't know if the moms are ready for another 200+ page book read. The girls might have to wait for a couple of months!

13 comments:

John Ross said...

What a great Mom! sounds like it was a raging sucsess.

evenshine said...

How much fun is this? Fabulous, too, that you're teaching her hostess duties. While your teenaged son can perhaps be excused for feeling the way he does, it sounds like a raging success to me! Great idea!

dance said...

Ballet shoes typically do not last very long and have a short life, but the shoes were designed to help the dancer move with implausible strength and grace while dancing. Pointe shoes, in many ways, can be considered an extension of the dancer

AJU5's Mom said...

Sounds like a good just-before-the-semester-starts event for you two!

ewe are here said...

What a lovely idea... all of it!

planetnomad said...

Brilliant idea! My daughter would love this. I'm totally stealing this.

wheelsonthebus said...

this is awesome about 6 levels deep

Mel said...

What a fantastic thing to have done.
GOOD mom!

Absolutely wonderful!!
:-)

Shari said...

This is just so incredibly awesome. I hope that I remember this idea when Maisy is old enough. :-)

Subspace Beacon said...

It sounds magical.

Lindsey said...

What an awesome idea! I love the book and craft ideas together!

dance said...

Gymnastics is a sport in which a lot of movement is required. That is why gymnastics leotards are used. They allow the gymnast to move in an unrestricted manner. They fit like a glove to the body and they move with each motion the gymnast makes.

Jessi said...

Awww, that's so awesome. <3 Really, it's amazing that you went through all that time and effort to have something truly special with her. Such a great idea.