A few nights ago, after one of those especially long, trying days, I gave Mikey his bath as usual. He dried off with his towel, got into his pajamas and we climbed into bed. I had wanted to read, thinking he’d lay next to me while his eyes got heavy and that he would eventually drift off to sleep, but he didn’t want me to have the reading light on. It felt like just another thing on top of the rest of the day, I reluctantly turned out the light and quietly lay next to him. He snuggled in close, one arm over my stomach and his head resting on my shoulder.
I laid with him there, staring off at the light coming from the doorway and feeling just a little impatient. He sighed and shuffled himself into a slightly different position.
Four and a half is tough, in ways I hadn’t ever thought about before.
I was suddenly struck by how little he still is though, despite his occasional tough guy attitude and recent back-talk. His breathing softened as he eventually began dreaming and I contemplated sliding out of bed, to get up without waking him so that I could go and do whatever it was I had intended to do that evening. But I couldn’t find the willpower to move myself anymore.
I laid with him longer, watching the soft rise and fall of his chest lit by the light from the doorway, listening to his breathing.
I started thinking about him, all of the new and exciting things he’s been doing this year and how much he’s been learning. We get so caught up in moving forward sometimes that we forget to just be, especially when our children are at difficult ages.
Mikey has been in his dance class now for a few months, every Tuesday evening we walk over to the school and take the elevator up to his studio. He’s excited to see his friends again every time, and they chatter and play while getting changed into their tap shoes and waiting for their teacher to arrive.
I originally decided to sign him up for these classes when the parent of his best friend from the art class he attended back in the winter mentioned it. We decided to sign the boys up for the class, thinking it would be something fun for them to do together and it has been. But it’s also been a lot more than that too.
My husband and I had hoped, originally, that it would help with his coordination, he’s always been tall for his age and sometimes he is just all legs. It has helped with that, and more besides… it has been so good for him. He is generally more confident with his body, he used to be nervous about climbing and now he is one of the kids climbing to the top of the playground equipment, swinging on the monkey bars or jumping from one platform to another. He’s more in tune with music and will hum, or sing along while keeping time by tapping his foot or while he is dancing.
His teacher (who is a pretty amazing guy) has spoken with me several times after class, telling me how good Mikey is at following directions, how much he loves the class and how much he’s grown and learned so far. I don’t sit in and watch the classes (parents have to wait outside, I usually go grab a coffee nearby) but I can tell how much he looks forward to it every week, how much he loves it and how he’s getting so so much from each session. He loves to show me and his daddy the new moves he’s learned after each class. I’m so happy that he’s found something he really loves to do, not to mention he really likes being able to be noisy with his tap shoes.