CLASSES WITH OUR KIDS
My 4 1/2 year old son is the epitome of a first born. He is a “take charge” kind of kid and is full of confidence. And, he is ALL boy. He is active, energetic and non-stop. I became a coffee addict just to keep my eyes open until his naptime. Needless to say, when I found out I was pregnant again, the week of my son’s first birthday, I panicked. How was I going to have the stamina for two energizer bunnies? When that fateful day arrived, “delivery day”, I was stunned when I delivered a bouncing baby girl. We had chosen not to learn the sex of either of our kids, but I was sure I was carrying a boy so it was a huge surprise when my daughter was delivered and my husband and I looked at each other with fear…how were we going to take care of a girl?
Three years later, it is our little girl who has taught us how to take care of her – she pretty much potty trained herself, was eating solids and feeding herself very early and learned to dress herself before her brother ever expressed an interest in dressing himself. She is also the one who told me that she wanted to take ballet because she saw her friends dressed up in their ballerina outfits one day. Every class I had taken with my son was exhausting. I was usually chasing him around some field or gymnasium, telling him to listen to his coach, reminding him to not hit the kid next to him and explaining to him that yelling was not acceptable. So, when my daughter informed me of her desire to take ballet, I wasn’t sure how much fun Mommy was going to have.
But, of course, I enrolled her and to put it simply, it was fantastic. As she dressed herself for class in her leotard and white chiffon skirt and proudly put on her tights and ballet shoes, she was transformed into a charming ballerina. She enjoyed the class and loved being with all of her new friends. And, I was able to sit back and watch her learn and could recall being a toddler ballerina myself and it made me smile. In my busy life as a full-time working Mom, taking my daughter to ballet was a weekly opportunity to simply observe. It was a moment in time that I wasn’t focused on my career and chores at home. Instead, it allowed me the chance to watch my baby turn into a little girl. She was so proud to learn how to do the passé, the arabesque and always made sure that I was watching. Her interaction with the other ballerinas was so adorable that I found myself taking plenty of pictures to share with my family. It was a class full of Mom’s and Dad’s enjoying their children and we all seemed to be aware of how special that early age was and how important it was for our children to demonstrate their newly learned skills.
In an effort to be honest, I will confess that ballet class was not our first endeavor. No, that would have been the soccer class for kids under the age of two. That was a class where Mommy learned the soccer skills needed to be a soccer star. It was a class that Mommy learned how to kick a ball, sing songs and perfect the art of walking around the gymnasium floor with a little monkey girl who learned how to wrap herself around my leg, the minute the class started and never let go, for six weeks worth of classes. I took her to every class and was sure she was going to outgrow her clingy behavior and I could sit back and drink my coffee. But, that day never came. My hope is that all parents experience a class (or two) with their kids. You never know what you will witness and learn!
By: Denise Courter, Manhattan mother of two children under the age of 5 and Founder of FiDi Families.