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I even wore a gown of the same color as that of the flower girl
THIS IS ABOUT how to train your little toddler to walk as a flower girl. In other words, this is how I became a stage mother.

It started innocently enough. A friend would announce an engagement and we, the excited girl friends, would get all the details. Then, just before the discussion could end, a question would arise about whether the bride had any nieces or little cousins.

Before you know it, the bride would be faced with a myriad of situations.

A mom would share photos and anecdotes of how cute her little girl has turned out to be. Another mom might recount stories on how well her daughter walked in last month?s wedding.

In extreme cases, such as those of dense brides and first-time moms, force has been known to be employed.

To be honest, I never understood the thrill of having your daughter wear those frilly confections?until my daughter turned two and my friends all started getting married. Suddenly, it was as if a light bulb had been switched on in my head, and I began to look forward to those weddings, where my daughter was a flower girl, as if they were my own.

Dress

Her very first flower-girl experience was for one of my close friends from high school, Patricia Castillo, who married Darren Dy.

Wow, was I excited. I took my daughter faithfully to her fittings and followed up with the designer as to when her dress would be ready.

I thought we were all set. I completely forgot about the most important aspect?the march! It was not until I bumped into the bride two weeks before the wedding, and she asked me if I was sure my daughter knew how to walk already, that I was reminded of it.

Don?t worry, I assured her. She was pleased with this, but still warned that she didn?t want to see me walking with Adriana down the aisle.

A shadow of doubt began to cloud my visions of perfect flower-girl pictures. I realized I couldn?t actually guarantee that she would march! At that time, my daughter was only two years and four months old.

And so began our flower girl training.

Videos

I began by searching for flower girl videos on YouTube.com and watching them with my daughter almost every night. I specifically chose videos that had young flower girls so she could relate with them.

I would point out the pretty dresses they wore and the special baskets of flowers they carried.

After our videos, we?d try to play ?flower girl? and walk around the room, copying what we had just watched. Sometimes she?d gamely play our game, other times, she?d just look at me and wander away.

Fortunately for us, the church was quite near, so we also made a habit of attending Mass there. Her nanny and I would stand at opposite ends of the aisle and try to make her walk alone before or after the Masses. Other times, I would just make her walk ahead of me during Communion, instead of carrying her as I used to.

A few days before the wedding, we picked up her dress. I made a big fuss about it at home, calling it her ?princess dress.? It was on display in front of her closet, and she wanted to try it on, but we made it clear that it was reserved for her special ?princess day.?

The night before the wedding, I made sure she slept early so there would be no oversleeping the next day, and she would have enough time to nap before the big event.

When she finally put on her dress, everyone at home oohed and aahed while she grinned in anticipation of her ?princess walk.?

Meanwhile, I was a bundle of nerves. I even wore a gown of the same color as the flower girls. I figured that if I would have no choice but to carry her, the least I could do was wear a color that wouldn?t contrast with the bride?s choice.

When we arrived in church, I applied a touch of lipstick on her. As I was doing so, I heard loud voices exclaim, ?Tita (insert name of certain stage mother here), is that you?!? My high school girls had hit the nail on the head. With a gasp, I realized I had turned into a stage mother, 101 percent. I was horrified.

No tears

You would think that the realization would have put me in my place. But when it was time for my daughter to march, I just couldn?t help it. I could have floated away in joy when she took those steps forward on her own. I stayed at the back and off she went, just like a little pro. No tears and no asking me to carry her.

Once I was sure she was fine, I rushed through the side of the church to meet her at the pew where she would be sitting. She arrived, still clutching her Mentos candy, and I immediately enveloped her in a big hug and kiss.

A month and a half later, we repeated everything again for my dear friend Nicole Hernandez?s wedding to Jaime de los Angeles. This time she bounced down the aisle with a playful smile on her lips in her ballerina-inspired flower-girl dress. My ears were flapping so wildly, I?m surprised they didn?t fall off.

And so, three days later, when it was one of my closest groupmates, Trisha Massab?s wedding to her long-time boyfriend, Dr. Bing Yumang, I had no doubt she would walk, just as she did in the two previous weddings.

But she did not. Whether it was because she was tired from the drive (it was an out-of-town wedding) or for whatever reason, she began to cry as the procession started, insisting her dad carry her. Since my husband and I were cord sponsors and she was supposed to walk right behind us as flower girl, we figured there was no point in forcing her to go alone. The best option was for the three of us to walk down the aisle together.

And so, at this point, this stage mom has two points out of three.

But more importantly, I?ve picked up a valuable lesson. Kids are kids. You can try to teach them to do whatever you want them to do. You can promise them the moon and the stars and all the cupcakes in the world. But at the end of the day, if they don?t want to do something, you can?t, and shouldn?t, force them to do it?unless it is truly for their own good.

If it is simply for our own vanity, pride and validation as parents, let?s spare them the pressure and trouble. After all, the last thing any parent wants is for their child to grow up traumatized by certain experiences.

And to any brides out there, don?t let us crazy stage moms bully you into getting flower girls who are much too young!