We began a new semester of Kindermusik classes about 3 weeks ago. Unlike last year, when I got to participate in more of a "Mommy & Me" format with my son, this class is structured in a kids-only format.
On the first day of class, Drew and I decided it might be helpful to role play a scenario in which a child might not be comfortable with his mommy leaving the room.
He chose wails, sobs and tear-stained cheeks to best convey his feelings.
I put on a brave smile and silently whispered threats into his ear "STOP CRYING! YOU'LL BE FINE. I'LL BE RIGHT OVER THERE AND I BROUGHT A MAGAZINE AND AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING 40 MINUTES TO MYSELF. DON'T BLOW THIS FOR ME..."
The teacher used the unfolding scene to gently remind all the mommies that Kindermusik was first and foremost a place for fun and learning, so if children would like their mommies to stay in the circle throughout the remainder of class, that was just fine with her!
So, I sang and danced and swept imaginary dust and rode up and down imaginary elevators and found my steady beat with wood blocks and resonator bars.
(After Class #1, I took the opportunity to talk to my son about new situations and the proper way to express feelings and my personal desire not to participate in the next 12 or so weeks of Kindermusik.)
During week 2, Drew thought he was brave enough to participate without my assistance. As long as I sat on an organ bench in the middle of the room. Again, at the teacher's prompting ("Whatever makes your children comfortable, moms!"), I demonstrated the "there but not really there" example of mommy-placement. This option was particularly enjoyable, as it let me watch AND hear my son yell, "HEY!" to the teacher every single time he wanted to speak.
(After class #2, I took the opportunity to teach my child a little about manners and raising hands and waiting his turn to speak and most-assuredly NOT yelling "HEY!" at his teacher or any other adult for that matter.)
By week 3, I was given permission to sit in the hallway, as long as I craned my head around the corner to maintain a constant visual connection with my child. When I momentarily ducked out of view, Drew excused himself from class to come looking for "MOMMY??!?!!"
I was fascinated to watch him interact with the other children since he was feeling so much more comfortable in this environment. But I did keep noticing one quirky little trait. My son has never enjoyed being around a crowd of people. When he was younger, he'd just bury his face into my legs or begin to whine. Now, he just creates his own space when necessary.
For instance, the entire class of children and teacher piled into the imaginary elevator to ride uuuuuuuuUUUUUUPPPPPP and DDDOOOOWWwwwwnnnnnnnnnn, practicing their "Glissandos" (uh huh). So, about 7 other little people and one teacher are standing in a huddle just staring at Drew, who's now standing about 10 ft away. "C'mon Drew, get in the elevator so we can go to the top floor!"
"NO THANKS!" he shouts. "I'M JUST GOING TO RIDE MY OWN ELEVATOR OVER HERE!"
"Alright then. We'll see you at the top!" she graciously responds.
(Note to self: Have conversation with Drew about participating with classmates and obeying the......)
Aw.. forget it. I'm pretty sure the teacher was right about the intended purpose of the class. To have fun while learning basic music theory. It certainly wouldn't be catchy if they adopted my slogan:
KINDERMUSIK - IT BRINGS OUT THEIR CHARACTER FLAWS
I'm going to stop worrying about every little thing that poor child does. Because my problems with his behavior as of late have a whole lot more to do with my desire to be seen as a good mommy, if I'm perfectly honest.
So, if you're ever looking for me on Tuesdays at noon, I'll be sitting on an organ bench, enjoying every moment of this fun, musical adventure with my sometimes-shy, always-loud, quite-independent little man.