Farewell Baby Classes
This morning I attended my last mommy/baby class, the kind where you sit with your kid on your lap and sing songs and clap. My daughter has outgrown them. Cynical about these classes at first, you’d think I’d be happy. Instead I nearly cried.
Some readers may remember me whining about these very same classes a year ago. I thought if I were paying someone to teach my kid something, they could get on with it while I sipped a cappuccino with my new mom friends. The wiser among you may have realized how foolish I was being. Now it’s me who’s not ready to move on.
Doting parents will tell you the favourite age of their child is whatever age the child is. It keeps getting better and better they say. But that age when a child still flings himself with total abandon into your arms and sits happily on your lap to sing or clap soft hands seems awfully sweet.
I remember the first class. I hadn’t signed up. I was heading to the park with my daughter when I saw a group of moms walking into a pavilion. The weather was lousy (typical for London) and so I followed them, figuring they knew something I didn’t. Turns out it was a sing and sign class, where babies and toddlers are taught to sign their desire for milk or for a fresh diaper. The teacher, Joanna, said I could stay.
I’d tested out other mommy and baby classes, but always felt put off by the chirpy types who tend to teach them. Joanna wasn’t like that. She has a droll sense of humor, while still being sweet with the kids. She’s not controlling either. If a kid wants to sit in a corner and bang on the wall, she’ll let him.
Signing is only part of the lesson. The kids also learn how to follow simple commands – march, clap, play instruments – and to play nicely with others. Parents learn to sign too, though some signs have come in less handy in our American household such as signing that you’d like some “beans on toast”. We moms also get a safe space to play silly games with our kids – not to mention a break from our daily routine. You’re never really sure how much sign language your kid is absorbing, but it’s kind of beside the point.
And then there’s the “running hug”, that every kid in our class seemed to do. They’re orbitting the other toddlers as if they’ve forgotten all about you. Then they catch your eye and run as fast as they can and fling themselves into your arms. I’ll sit through a lot of bad happy clappy for that.
So there I was this morning singing and signing the “Time to Go Home” song for the very last time and feeling embarrassingly close to tears. I kept it together by thinking first of work and then of how mortifying it would be to blubber in front of these British mums.
As it turns out, I wasn’t alone. A group of us shared lunch after the final lesson. Only one of the children would be going back for another class. One family was moving away. The rest of the children were too big and classes going forward wouldn’t involve us moms. Everyone confessed to being on the verge of tears as the class wound down.
So much of parenting, everyone says, is learning to let go. I just didn’t realize that process would start so soon.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 2 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 3 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 4 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 5 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Startup
- 6 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 7 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 8 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 9 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook
- 10 Shaq Confident He Will Eventually Make Funny Quip on TNT