Friday, September 28, 2012

Music Together Week Three

When corralling one child, then pausing to sing, then corralling the other, I looked around the circle.  Then it hit me like a wet noodle.  I was the only one in class with two children.

Let me state that again.

I was the only one in my Music Together class with two children with me.

Other moms referred to their other child (or children), but no others had them there, singing, marching, flinging scarves, and hitting the other in the head with a mallet (ok, I admit that today it was a bit more than a rubber mallet: the older one got hit in the head with a wooden bell by the younger child while I was singing and clapping).

After ruminating on this for a few seconds, I left my thoughts to consider corralling the first child again.  There was a gathering at the door, and a few of us moms had left them there in hopes that they would come back to the circle again.  They did (whew) once the teacher distributed instruments.  Or was it when she started playing her guitar?

Regardless, the thought (that they left their other child/ren behind) actually made me feel better.  Maybe they all knew how much work it is to go to a class and to keep your progeny in line, and that it isn't always a good time.  Maybe they all knew that the likelihood of you actually enjoying this was a lot higher with just one child in the lap and just one on the hip when walking, instead of one on each hip (or one on a hip and the other banging on the door, as the case may be).

The class went on, even with my epiphany.  The teacher even gave us our lesson of the day, (gently given, as always): Don't move your child's hands on the instrument.  Let them explore it, and at their own pace.  What a perfect microcosm for how we tend to and teach out children in the United States in general: lead them to the water, but don't make them drink.

As for me with two in tow today, I had another landmark moment of the day, lest you think the egg growing on the older boy's forehead was enough: nursing my large-ish toddler in class.  Now, I know, this isn't all that landmark.  I, in fact, used to judge classes by how nursing-friendly they were.  But this was way back when I had one child and way back when we lived in Berkeley and nursing babies and toddlers was commonplace.  But now I live in the suburbs ("through the tunnel" for you local readers), and I have rarely seen a mother nurse in public.  I have seen a few tiny baby legs hang out of nursing covers (like 8 sets in two years), but I haven't seen a baby head on a breast (even at people's houses, except for one closest girlfriend who I see almost daily, and her baby was tiny then), and I especially haven't seen a little head on a mother's breast after a baby (or toddler) was squawking in a semi-public place.

In this vein, today my toddler started tugging at my shirt and squawking in class.  He rarely asks when we aren't at home (I figure there is too much to see elsewhere).  I tried to distract him off for about 18 seconds, then he "asked" again.  I latched him on in the circle, pulling my long-sleeved shirt up to just above his mouth and my undershirt staying covering my belly.  The song continued, and, as luck would have it, we were in the middle of a song that went around the circle and everyone's names were being called.  When the class got to our turn, the teacher gave me a sweet smile and called my kids' names, then proceeded.

Onward we go: just another day.

Here is what we thought of week one.
Here is what we thought of week two.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to East Bay Music Together for letting us attend for free in exchange for my thoughts in writing.

Note: East Bay Music Together has introduced a 5 Week Introductory Session beginning October 15 (see here for info).

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