Tutus for Two Twos

When I signed Anna (age 2) up for Baby Ballerina classes at our local ballet studio, I did so to even the score. My son had completed spring soccer so I felt she needed a chance to do something new. She really hadn’t shown interest in ballet. She certainly hadn’t asked for this, but I thought, why not? The first class went great. She followed the teachers lead and seemed to enjoy herself. By the time we reached the fourth class, she was darting for the door, crying, “No ballet. Go home, please.” We took a week off from class and did one more go of it today. She loved it. She followed instructions. She danced and played the games. I even had one mother tell me how good she was. I had to laugh though when I remembered 2 weeks ago how I wanted to pack up and just go home.

I honestly think organized classes for children this age are ridiculous. Hey, I’ll admit to signing up and paying the money. Alex started music classes at 5 months, and he just completed the saddest season of soccer. (I wanted to run and hide from that, too.) Now Anna has started the dance. I feel that children this age (before about 3 or 4) need to just be—besides going to preschool, which I wholeheartedly endorse. But it’s hard to have a parent attend a class—whether it’s music, Gymboree, dance, crafts, etc—and expect the child to behave in a certain way. This class is no exception. It’s for 2 year olds. The girls wander around the class and play with things and don’t follow the teacher. We’re expected to get them back in line and listen. It’s hard on the parents when the child doesn’t do what “is expected” of them. For 3 classes, Anna would cry, fuss, throw tantrums, play with the equipment, play the piano, try to change the CD, etc.

These classes will go on for our peers are breeding little overachievers that need to to pliĆ© before they potty. I realized how silly it was when my neighbor, who is a professional dancer told me that she didn’t start dancing until age 9. I suppose we do it for special time with our children or to give us an activity to help pass the morning. And I suppose our kids might be better served by a picnic in the park or turning up our favorite tunes and dancing around the living room.

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