Monday, April 23, 2012


When my girls were very small, my godmother gave them a little children's dance DVD called "Baby Dance." It was an under-30-minutes collection of adult-led dance segments like "Freeze Dance," "Maraca Dance," and "Stretching." (You can order it here, and I can't recommend it highly enough. It was developed and created by a professional dancer and dance teacher, and it's wonderful.)

My daughters did "Baby Dance" literally every day for years when they were toddlers. I'd put it on while I made their lunch each day, and the DVD's music became the soundtrack of my life as a stay-at-home mom of two little girls. My favorite section was "Ballet," which had a sweet, high, lilting piano accompaniment that even now I can hum for you by heart, and which brings immediately to mind two little bodies, round bellies puffed out, tiny arms held high, twirling on tiptoe in attempted pirouettes, the kind of sweet sight that embodies the very best of mothering babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, in all their heart-achingly poignant innocence and joy. When I'm eighty, if you turn on that music from "Ballet" in my presence, I'll be immediately transported to the time in my life when my daughters were both under five.

After awhile our lives, ages, and schedules changed, and we gradually stopped doing "Baby Dance." I missed it but rarely thought about it. But on Saturday, with dreary rain falling outside, I decided to put it on. Why not? We couldn't go out to play. We hadn't gotten any exercise yet that day.

"Girls!" I said excitedly. "Let's do 'Baby Dance!'"

Genevieve and I located the necessary props, pushed the coffee table aside. Julia remained skeptical, recovering from a cold and tired from an afternoon playdate, but I talked it up anyway.

When I turned on the DVD, Genevieve went crazy for it, jumping around and throwing herself wildly into the "Freeze Dance" segment, with its stop-and-start music. I reveled in nostalgia and joined Vivi when she asked.

From the couch, chapter book open in her hands, Julia sighed and said, "Mama, you look ridiculous, will you please stop that?"

Right on cue. She turns eight in five weeks.

But oh! How things have changed since both my baby dancers tiptoed around the living room with plastic jingly giraffes as maracas. I confess an inward sigh and a mental sniffle or two.

But outwardly, I danced all the crazier. Because I'm the mom of an almost-tween; isn't that my new job?

I thought so.


Mnmom said...

Yep, she's on her way. If I hear music like that from our favorite videos I break into tears, which aggravates them like crazy.

Mom/Nonna said...

And it will soon be time to stop being pleasant to total strangers, like, oh, saying good morning to someone in the grocery store. My mom used to utterly humiliate me by doing that, and I suppose I did similar things to you as well! "Dance like no one is watching!"