Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Toddler Ballet

When we first moved here I met a mom in the park who mentioned that she takes her two-year-old daughter to ballet class here in Richmond.

They offer ballet for kids so young?
Yeah.  It's called Twinkle Toes.  Sophia loves it.

And I was sold. Babies dressed up in tutus attempting to do ballet moves?  Um, yes please.

There are some nice benefits, as I see it.  It's great for her growing coordination and balance, and plays to her love of music.  It's important for her to learn to follow directions from other adults and learn some new skills.  It's good exercise and a chance for her to interact with other young kids.

Also, Caroline and I have nothin' but time during the day, and I signed up with the hope that it would provide another chance to meet other local moms.  I also appreciate having a little structure in our days/weeks.

But babies in tights and light pink tutus?  Come on.   It's the true selling factor.

We're three weeks in.

Week one:
Lots of crying.  Terrified toddler.  Zero unforced participation.  Lots of attempts to climb up my legs.  But a sincere interest in the goings on of the class one slot later than our class, which we watched through the window.

I took my grown-up camera and everything to take a few pics of the big day.  But it's hard to get a shot of someone so thoroughly attached to you that you're not completely sure where you end and she begins.  And someone who is crying at that.  I didn't even get an iPhone shot.  Parenting fail.

Week two:
Lots of fussing.  Attached to my leg.  However, she actually took the "fairy wand" from "Miss Tasha" and waved it around.  And walked around on tiptoes holding my hand when prompted.

Oh, and I still hadn't managed to procure proper dance clothing.  Thankfully the teachers don't really care what the kids are wearing, so long as they're comfortable. 
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Week three:
Hooray!  Major, major improvement.
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While she definitely preferred me to be near at hand, she actually attempted to mimic the teachers and other kids.  She took that fairy wand and tiptoed all the way to the other side of the room without me.  I saw lots of smiles.  She even attempted some bona fide moves.  Granted, her plié does involve random hopping around while chanting "up down."  But it's entirely precious, and I'm proud of her for trying.  We have a ways to go but it's encouraging to see the progress.
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We're still newbies at this parenting thing, but we think it's important for Caroline to be gently encouraged to try new things.  She's often hesitant and fearful when she faces new foods, new shoes, and new experiences.

We like the fact that she sometimes gets stretched past her comfort zone limits, even at a young age.  For many, many more years we will be close at hand to encourage and sooth and cheer her on, but I know that won't always be the case.  Hopefully we'll have the wisdom over the next few years to determine what's too much and what's just right for her.  Hopefully along the way we can foster a can-do spirit in her, and that later in life she'll have the confidence to call that person, walk into that interview, and try out for that sport.

For now we're just grateful that she no longer cries in ballet.


Ali said...

Love it. Harper had tap tonight. It was her 4th class and ended in tears. I was the mom forcing her to sit and watch the teacher even though Harper refused to participate. Yay me.

Erika said...

Oh Jess that's great! Glad you kept trying. Way to go momma :)