Sprout loves to dance. Loves it. He’s been busting baby moves since he could first walk. He loves music, any kind. The Wiggles are gods to him. So when he turned two and I decided it was time to work on his socialization, I naturally thought of dance classes. Or maybe not so naturally since dance is typically something for girls. But Sprout loves to dance, the school offered evening classes, and he’d be surrounded by other two year olds. Ms. Martha, owner and operator of Dance Arts since 1966, took pains to introduce Sprout to a few of the older boys who take classes, and Sprout was completely in awe of them. It was a perfect fit, right?
In theory, yes. But in practice, not so much. Sprout indeed loves music and dancing, but classes … He’s not so into those. All those tutu-clad girls running around screaming in that way exclusive to little girls, well it was just too much for a timid little guy. The first class, he looked for all the world like he was being attacked by a flock of angry flamingos. He was terrified and spent the entire first class begging to be picked up or hiding behind my legs. He spent the second class like that too, except that he decided that night that Daddy offered more protection, so he hid behind Michael’s legs. That was pretty much how we passed the third class as well. By the fourth class, Michael and I changed our strategy. Okay, we reasoned, we really don’t care if he masters the turtle stretch or puts his arms up like a rainbow on cue. We’re really more interested in him becoming comfortable around other kids his age. So we stopped pushing. You want to spend five minutes playing with your toes? Sure, have at it. You want to inspect the chalk circle on the floor while lying on your tummy? Whatever dude. And when we loosened up, Sprout loosened up too. At the fourth class, he was interacting with the other kids and almost always doing what he was supposed to do. There’s a little girl in class named Abby, who happens to be distantly related to Sprout on Michael’s side, and the two have become friends. Whatever Abby does, Sprout does. It’s ridiculously cute.
Will we stick with baby ballet? We haven’t decided yet. But Sprout is more comfortable around groups of kids, is getting an opportunity to burn off some energy in a semi-structured setting, and has even made a new friend, so I consider it a success.