Monday, October 17, 2011

My Son's First Trophy

Well, my son's first pageant was this past Saturday and, all-told, I think he did very well.  I can't say the same for myself.

For starters, I got way too stressed out for no real reason.  Part of the curse of being a perfectionist, I suppose.  I got so obsessed with wanting everything to go perfectly for him that I probably made it worse on him, and for that, I'm sorry.

The first thing I did wrong was to get there too early.  I got there about 20 minutes before registration was supposed to start, which doesn't sound too early, until you factor in that I then had to keep a 2-year-old occupied for 20 minutes in a hotel lobby.  We rode the elevators a lot.

I also tried to make a little small talk with the other moms, not just to size up the competition (though I was doing that, too), but just to be friendly and kill some time.  There was only one other boy in my son's age division (18-35 months) but, though he was a couple of months older than my son, this was his fourth pageant.  The parents also had a daughter in the 3-5 year-old division, a stunning little girl in a dress that probably cost more than the one I got married in.  Intimidating.

When registration opened (a few minutes late, but who's counting?), we were one of the first in line, so my son was contestant #2.  Big mistake.  You go in order of your contestant number.  So instead of getting to see the other kids show us what to do (since we were clueless) we were the second ones to cross the stage.

We did get some time to practice, which was nice.  My son was not in a "pageanty" mood at that point, so he and I just blew off a little steam, being silly and pretending to race.  He also schmoozed with the judges, because they were pretty young ladies, and he is a charmer.

Finally, the pageant was under way.  This was the hard part, because I had to get my 2-year-old boy to sit still and be quiet while people talked.  What he really wanted to do, of course, was crawl under the chairs and crash his toy truck into things.

When it was our turn to take the stage, I carried him most of the way (allowed for the kids under 3) and then put him down in front of the judges.  He smiled, waved, and walked with me back off, even telling the judges, "Bye!"  I was sure we'd blown it, since he had been nervous about coming out at first, and I had to carry him for the first bit.

Finally, after what felt like forever with a squirmy toddler, the other kids had finished, and everyone was called up to receive their participation trophies.  We were dismissed while the judges deliberated and tallied their scores.

I tried telling my son, "Look at your trophy!  You won!"  Since the other kids had so much more experience, I was sure he wouldn't place, so I was trying to make a big deal out of his participation trophy.

He may be only two, but he wasn't buying it.  He looked around at the other kids with their trophies identical to his, and he pointed to the award table, where the larger trophies, sashes, medallions, and crowns sat.  "No Mommy.  That's my trophy." child is ridiculously competetive and arrogant.  And he's still being potty-trained.  This doesn't bode well for his teen years.

After another eternity of trying to keep him occupied and his suit clean, it was time to sit down and applaud the winners.  We clapped for the little girls who won "Prettiest Eyes" and "Prettiest Smile".  I was humbled and happy when my son was awarded the "Personality" sash, convinced that it was the nicest thing they could think of to give him (all the kids get something, so they can feel like they "won").  We continued on, cheering for the winners of the modeling and photography competition, best-dressed, etc.

Then it was time to award the crowns.

I told my impatient, wiggly little boy, "As soon as we're done clapping for the other kids, we can go home and get icecream."  His response?  "Mommy, I wanna go get my trophy," pointing to the awards table again.

"No honey, that's not ours," I whispered, while the boy and girl overall runners-up went to the stage to receive their sashes.  I was so focused on calming him down that I didn't register that they were announcing the boys overall winner, with a total combined score of 19 out of 20, to be contestant #2.

It took them actually saying his name for it to sink in that, oh crap, he won.  Not that I don't have faith in my kid, not in the least.  I just didn't expect him to beat out the more experienced children, especially at his first pageant.

We went to the stage, him in his socks.  (I had let him kick off his uncomfortable dress shoes while we were sitting in the audience, and there wasn't time to get them back on.)  He smiled very big when he was handed "his" trophy and the crown was set upon his head.  I got the paperwork for Nationals from the judge, gathered up his sashes, and we scooted back to our seat.  I got his shoes back on by myself (he had a death grip on those trophies), gathered up our bag, and we got out of there.

He was so exhausted that he was asleep in his carseat by the time we were out of the hotel parking lot, but he still was holding both trophies.  We hung out with his cousins and my parents for a bit, and he tried to give his smaller, participation trophy to his cousin, not understanding that that's not exactly how trophies work.  Later that night, he insisted on wearing his crown during dinner.

So, not that it's any surprise to me, but my boys a winner.  We even have an entry to Nationals if we want it.  (Probably not, since it would require travelling to New York.)

Of course, I would have been just as proud if we'd come home empty-handed, because my boy was brave and gracious in the attempt.  But winning, especially on our first try, feels really good, too.

Though, I will admit, I never thought my son's first ever trophy would be for a pageant.

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