You'll remember that on Saturdays I take ThingOne to her Melody Bear dance class. (Didn't remember? Keep up!) Like most kids' activities there were no classes over the summer, so there's been less structure to our Saturday mornings recently. I'd been looking forward to the classes starting up again, since ThingOne really enjoys it and I like taking her.
The class started again recently, and on Saturday I took her along. She's now in the next class up, 30 minutes later. A bit more serious this time and many of the kids now have the requisite kit (leotards for the girls) so I expect we'll be splashing out soon enough.
The other kids had been already this term, but ThingOne hadn't as we've been away. I was disoriented to find that parents are no longer allowed to sit at the side of the room and clap and encourage their kids when they're in the zone, or cuddle and console them when they're sad. When I realised this was the case I took ThingOne aside and explained that I'd just be in the next room and she'd probably see me through the glass door. She was a little confused.
I went into the parents' area feeling low. Poor ThingOne. I didn't think she'd enjoy this. It's been a long time since she ran to me during the classes, but she often looked over for approval or gave me a thumbs up. I suspected she wouldn't like the class as much. Plus, this was our Saturday morning activity and I'm now excluded. I admit I was a little put out. Were my Saturday mornings now going to be spent waiting in a room in a primary school unable to get near my daughter? (OK, so it's only 30 minutes. I was being overly dramatic.) I was pretty sad watching what I could through the glass door.
As the class went on, I could see that the kids were much more attentive than usual, and enjoying themselves a lot. ThingOne seemed to be more a part of the group than she normally did, though that could just have been an issue of my perception. Not having their parents there focused them a lot more, and I could see that it was clearly the right move. I realised that I was the only one of ThingOne and me who had a problem with this, and know that this is just one of what will be a continuing series of experiences where I have to loosen the metaphorical apron strings.
Since I am male I'm assuming my metaphorical apron is a novelty one with "Hail to the chef!" written on it.
I remember when Anne first suggested I take ThingOne to this class. I was reluctant at first, but figured I'd get 30 minutes off and could listen to podcasts or read the paper while ThingOne danced. I found it strange when I found I had to be there in the class. I've got used to it now and found I really enjoyed it. Now I'm going to have to learn to enjoy what I initially expected it to be like. I checked with another parent working on a laptop to see if there's a wireless signal at the school, but alas no. There goes that idea of a way to pass the 30 minutes. I'm thinking I'll buy the paper on the way there next week.
Which won't be half as much fun.
Of course ThingOne thoroughly enjoyed the new "big girls class". She could have at least pretended she'd missed having me in the room with her.