Yesterday, Claire had her first dance class.
It was one of those things I’ve looked forward to for a long time, and not just because I wanted to put her in a cute leotard and little footless tights with ruffles around the ankles and a matching bow (not that she could wear the bow how I imagined ANYWAY, because her brother was so kind as to give her a little HAIRCUT last week…!!!).
No – those weren’t the reasons I wanted to get her into a dance class (although I was, indeed, excited about all of those things).
I was excited because I see a love of dance, and music, in her heart. And as she grows (oh, so quickly!), she’s getting ready to start participating in things she expresses an interest in. She can shake her booty all day long in the living room, but now she’s also old enough to join a class with other little girls and follow the directions of someone other than myself.
Before I had kids, I imagined a life of motherhood that involved sports, and riding lessons, and dance classes. Of course, you never really know what your kids are going to love, or who they are going to be – but I have always looked forward to busy afternoons and extracurricular activities.
And now, it’s starting to happen. The kids are still little – four and two – but the days are flying by at a breakneck speed and sometimes, I wonder if they will ever slow down again.
Yesterday, I told Claire I wanted to take some pictures of her before we left for dance class. Generally speaking, she likes to take pictures and is as cooperative as a just-turned-two-year-old could ever be. And yesterday was no exception. She smiled and posed, running up to the take a peek at the back of the camera between shots.
As I snapped away, I watched her go through a myriad of emotions in just a few short minutes. Happy and giggly to irritable and rambunctious back to happy again in just seconds. Living in the moment, as kids do.
I thought about how special this age is, how precious these days are – they are still so fresh, so new…so themselves. The world hasn’t changed them yet. They are still babies.
And then we went to dance class. Baby Ballet, they call it.
A bunch of little girls twirling around the room, most to the beat of their own drum, ignoring the herding tactics of both their parents and their teacher as the class progresses from stretches, to pointing toes, to jumps, and through a sweet little dance to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
At first, Claire watches the class with a seriousness I recognize. She wants to understand what is going on…she wants to do it right. I scoot up next to her, put my hand on her knee and ask if I can help her. She brushes my hand off of her leg, saying, “Stop!” and directing her focus back to her teacher.
By the end of the class, she’s doing her very best to copy the teacher. Every now and then she runs up to me and gives me a high-five, saying, “I did it!” in the proudest little two-year-old voice you can imagine.
When class is over, she doesn’t want to leave. She was just getting started.
And then? I realize that she’s not really a baby, after all. She’s nearly a little girl. I blinked – and that was all it took to go from a pudgy baby rolling around on the floor to a little ballerina, trying her darndest to keep up with her teacher and not miss a single toe-point.
I miss the squishy baby days. I miss them so, so badly. But I also love the new adventures the kids are having as they grow older. I love that they have a growing circle of friends, I love that they are expressing interest in different activities and developing passions that I hope they will carry with them through life.
Bring on the Baby Ballet, and the soccer, and the late afternoon trips to the driving range with their dad. Bring on the horseback riding, and the T-ball, and the play dates.
We are ready for it.