Creative Movement?

Update 11/13/07: Sophie followed instructions again! Not all of the instructions, but most of them. She danced backwards, forwards and sideways. She excelled during circle time warm-up, and helped clean up the props. There’s hope for this toddler, yet!

Sophie likes to dance (see photo to left, Exhibit A).

So when it came time to enroll Sophie in a YMCA class, I thought it would be fun for the two of us to bond while creatively moving across the dance floor, since she seems to have a knack for it (see video below, Exhibit B).

With a feeling of irrational anticipation (adjusting to the stay-at-home gig has been a bit trying for me, to say the least), we went to the first class a few weeks ago. The instructor, a lovely woman who teaches at a local studio, warned all of us caregivers that the children might not participate, at least in the traditional sense, right away. They might simply observe, or make up their own moves. All of this is good, she told us.

No problem, I thought. Sophie loves to shake her booty. But Sophie often moves to the beat of her own drummer. And her listening skills are not yet as honed as her mischief-making skills. She is only two, I remind myself, ad nauseum. She’s also the youngest in the class. First session, she mostly watched. Second class, slight improvement. Third class, complete and utter meltdown. You get the picture. Until today, the only thing she seemed to enjoy was climbing on top of my back during warm-up when I’m on all fours trying to demonstrate the moves to her (“trying” is the operative word here) .

It thus came as a huge surprise when, at class this morning (after a minor tantrum when I tried to get her in the car), she creatively moved! We’re not talking 100% participation, mind you, and she didn’t always follow the teacher’s instructions. But she made a good-faith, smiling effort to move like a duck and like a spider, and she leapt and “swam” in the water (represented, of course, by a blue hula hoop).

Even our kindly teacher noticed the difference: “There’s been a breakthrough!” she exclaimed at the end of the class. Indeed, there was marked improvement. Even I had fun.

I’m currently taking bets on the last two classes. Will the progress continue, or will Sophie revert to her old ways? Tune in next week – same time, same channel – to find out…

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