One of the bonus features of having a second child should be that you get to improve the stuff that you Effed up the first time.
Um, it’s not working out like that for me.
When my first child was born, I signed up for classes all around town: Gymboree, cooking, art, dance, music. Most of the time, I had a hard time enjoying them because I was so anxious about being sure Sadie didn’t fall off a balance beam or chop her fingers off. All the other mothers seemed to be taking classes with their BFF’s, while I sat lonely and praying the 45 minutes would be over soon.
I never made a single friend in any of the classes, which I attribute to the fact that I exude a “get the fuck away from me” vibe. (Still, shouldn’t some intrepid mother see through all that?)
But, then I had another baby. I was determined that I would do classes with him, just like I did with his older sister. He will NOT be the deprived second sibling– not on my watch. In my fantasy, I was going to make friends and be that easy-going mom who just loves her baby no matter what is going on in the class.
Plus, this time around, I avoided Gymboree because the forced cheerfulness and incessant sales job the teachers did gave me the hives.
My first foray into the world of toddler classes with Simon was music. He loves music, and he loves me. This should have been a slam dunk.
Yeah, a slam dunk right through the basket of my expectations of growing as a mother and a person.
But tell me this: Why does it always seem like it’s my kid who won’t pay attention or follow directions? The chirpy teacher says, “Everyone gets 1 instrument from the bucket.” Why does my son subsequently toddle over with some sticks, a kazoo, and some drums? When it’s time to dance, guess who’s ready for that nap he hasn’t taken in about 7 weeks? When we get our 2 minutes of quiet time to stare into our babies’ eyes and listen to a Bach concerto, how come Simon decides that’s actually the ideal time to pull little Lucy’s hair and body tackle Noah?
The biggest question of all: Why do I care? Sure, I don’t want him drawing blood from the other participants in neighborhood music class, but short of that, why is it so upsetting that Simon doesn’t want to jig or spin in a circle when the teacher commands? He’s 20 months old. Why can’t I delight in his affable chubbiness and just R-E-L-A-X?
Truth is, I don’t even know what the other kids are doing because I am so focused on whether Simon is going to use his sticks like Oriental hand weapons. For all I know, none of the kids pay attention and all of the mothers feel lonely and anxious and just want to go home and scrape the burnt cheesy bits off the leftover lasagna. Maybe the really smart moms, just stay home in the first place and don’t bother with the classes.
At this rate I am going to have about 8 more kids to get this right.