Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fred and Ginger

Tap Shoes

I'm not one of those moms that does a lot of activities. My kids were in preschool all day until not long ago so I felt that was plenty of stimulation. Plus I was scarred from several attempts when my son was younger. When he was about a year and half I took him to one of those Music Together classes. It was a tryout session. He was a disaster. He was THAT kid. The one who doesn't participate in the conventional way. He was switching the lights on and off (who puts light switches low enough for a toddler to reach?) He was under the piano pressing the pedals. He was shrieking and pointing to the door. Home? Home? And then six months later we tried again. When we turned right to go to the church where it was held instead of left to go home, he started sobbing. Gymboree was out too. He couldn't even stand going there for birthday parties. Neither could I frankly. And then we tried soccer when he was four and it was torture for all involved. Even for his sister, who was desperate to play, but wasn't old enough. The only reason we did swim lessons last summer is that I don't want him to drown and if there was any other way for me to prevent that without him having to learn to swim, short of moving to the Gobi Desert, I would certainly have taken a different route.

But this year has been different. He's the tiniest bit more adaptable. So I put him in gymnastics for an hour after school on Wednesdays. And he loved it. It's right at his school. He met some new friends. Learned some tricks. My daughter and I went to the pool during that hour or the supermarket. It was great. So when I asked him if he wanted to do it again for the next session he said he wanted to do a different class. Tap and ballet. Great. Another activity that requires footwear.

And I knew exactly why he wanted to do tap and ballet. Because he wanted shiny black shoes with heels. He had spotted a pair at Target a few months ago and ever since he's been begging me to take tap and ballet so he can have shoes like that. So I signed him up and now that my daughter's old enough I signed her up too. And I bought him tap shoes. Lucky for me boys tap shoes are just black leather lace ups but they still have a sizable heel and make plenty of noise. So he was happy. And I bought my daughter taps and slippers too (They were having a BOGO at Payless). And both my kids are in heaven. They get home from school and immediately put on their taps. My daughter took her nap wearing her tap shoes yesterday. Today she was naughty and I took away her tap and ballet shoes and she had a tantrum the likes of which I haven't seen since this one.

As far as my son is concerned, it's hard to say at this point if dance will be his thing. How I wish he would have a thing, since until now his thing has been spending quality time with mommy. But one thing is for sure. He marches and taps to the beat of his own drummer.


jane said...

that photo is a classic:)

aimee said...

were you reading my mind? i was just reflecting on the misery of those classes. with my numero uno i felt obligated to give the music together, mommy and me, gymboree, etc. a try, and they distressed me so much that i sat and wept in the parking lot afterwards. every single one of them. i kept trying and trying, thinking she needed some sort of social exposure, but she was not interested, and took off to do her own thing, which wound up disrupting the class and got me nothing but scathing looks from the teachers. and i never figured out how to navigate the bizarre social construct which had nothing to do with the children - the idle chitchat and comparison and competition among parents that froze me entirely. i tried one music class with my second child, but the minute i had to hold hands with another adult and sing, i quit. on the spot. hefty enrollment fee + fifty minutes of socially awkward hell for both of us = no thanks.

it's a totally different ballgame when they get older, get a sense of self and their interests, and can actually talk about what they want (or don't want) to do. there's a point to it all. we're having loads of fun this year - my first grader is dabbling in all sorts of stuff and i'm really enjoying watching the stuff that lights her fire!

Everything's Rosie said...

fainting from the four feet!

Bella Sinclair said...

Awww, I love it. What a heart-tugging photo. Tap tap tappity tap! (You may want to think about adding a no-tapping button to your control panel.)

With my older daughter, I signed her up for so many different classes to give her exposure. And she went along with it, bless her heart. But my second one is a true homebody. Doesn't want to be bothered with anything, no siree. And I'm fine with that. I'm much happier chilling out with them at home anyway.

AG Ambroult said...

mmmwaaahaha. Isn't it great to have an effective "currency" like tap shoes? My girls wear their tap shoes around the house too, until they break me and I make them take them off. Glad your little man found his place!

Mama PhD said...

I love how your reference to another tantrum has yet another reference to an earlier tantrum - brilliant! BOOK BOOK BOOK

no way said...

The more I stop in here, the more I wish we lived closer (and we don't even know each other!) My kids are the same genders and the same ages as yours, and we have also experienced similar class-related angst (including the great tee ball debacle of '09 when I was pregnant, had a toddler with me and my son was the goofiest pain in the a at the tee ball lessons every week.) This year (because of our history last year) I skipped tee ball, and he's so disappointed. Coincidentally, they are both currently enrolled in gymnastics, and the arts center where I teach offers "teeny hop," which is hip hop for little boys, and I really want to get him in. I think he is more a "single sport" kid, rather than a team sport, although I think it's important to learn to be part of a team and work together, so they're also doing soccer this summer. As if you wanted to know all that... My point is, every time I read your posts, I relate, I relate, I relate! Keep up the great work!

And PS-I love the photo!

no way said...

In response to Aimee's comment, which I just read; I too sat in the car and cried after a "Moms & Tots" session where my son wouldn't sit still during a painfully and inappropriately long story being read to the kids, and it was so awful. Being a mom first time mom is so darn hard. There are many aspects of that time that I am so glad are over with. My second kid was not a fan of our (also expensive) music class, and I hated laying down on the ground during Ring Around the Rosie, so we also quit. With this third kid...well, she's kind of on her own. But she had a way more casual and less stressed mom, which is a HUGE plus!

And thanks to you ladies for sharing these stories. I love knowing I am not alone!

Desert Savta said...

I want a video clip of them both tap tap tap dancing around your nice wooden floors when they start classes.