Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dance Class

Every other week the local dance studio offers a free Parent and Toddler dance class.  I always wanted to take Tracey when she was really young, but I always had to work on those days.  Once the twins were born, I was on maternity leave, so I took her for the first time when she was almost two, and I had help at home to watch the twins for an hour.

Then, when my help left, I kept taking Tracey but I would bring the twins with us.  A year ago, when they were just a few months old, I would bring the stroller and they would sleep the entire class... most of the time.

Then, this past fall, when the twins were eight and nine months old, I would bring a playpen with toys.  That proved not only difficult logistically to lug around, but also Tracey often wanted to climb in the playpen with Howard and Caroline instead of participating in the dance class.

Finally this past January, I decided to take a break from dance class until both Howard and Caroline were confident walkers (which is when they officially become "toddlers" who can participate in class).  I knew it would be tricky to try to have three young kids participate, but I thought it would help Tracey focus on the class to be a helper and a big girl example for Howard and Caroline who were now old enough to participate.  It was a good call on my part.

Finally in April, I felt confident enough in the twins' walking, and gathered enough of my own energy and courage to take all three kids to dance class.  There were definitely times when I don't have enough hands for kids... but we all had a really good time, and the other parents and kids were understanding of the fact we were all doing our best.  Frankly, mine were not the only children cutting to the front of the line or having trouble listening to the teacher, which is part of the fun of these Parent and Toddler classes -- everyone is in the same boat.  And, just as a thought, Tracey started behaving much better at dance class when Howard and Caroline were old enough to participate.

All that to say, I can never get pictures during class because I hardly have a free finger let alone a full free hand.  But, at the end of class, the kids get to choose instruments, and the teachers plays a fun song with colorful lights flashing, and all the kids dance around and play with the instruments.

During that part, I was able to take a few pictures:

The class is so funny to me because their little personalities are shining through more and more.

Tracey really does so much better when she has the job of helping her siblings.  She would frequently follow the teacher's directions to walk across the floor like a flamingo, and then when she had reached the opposite end of the room, she would hold her arms out and call out her siblings names for Howard and Caroline to come to her, so they would know where they were supposed to go.  She also took great pride in helping the teacher clean up and gather instruments -- sometimes forcibly taking instruments from children who were not quite ready to give them up (we'll have to work on that...)

Howard wants to do everything Tracey can do, and wants to be with the big kids all the time.  If Tracey does somersaults on a mat, Howard puts his head down on the mat... and the proceeds to crawl across it on all fours.  If Tracey walks across the floor like a flamingo, Howard will usually follow her.  He does not miss a thing, and he does not want to hold Mama's hand.

For as much as she loves new people, Caroline is cautious around crowds and does not enjoy the hustle and bustle of the big kids like Howard does.  She keeps a very close eye on Mama, and often wants to be held.  Now, that being said, I was able to put her down more in yesterday's class than I was during the class two weeks ago, so we're making progress.  She also stood next to Tracey a few times while I chased after Howard without starting to cry.

Dance class is now done for the year, but will start up again in September, and it will be fun to see how all three of my little ones have grown up when we attend class again this fall.


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