I could feel it. Everyone’s eyes on Olivia and I as we walked in for our fourth music class today. We, or should I say she, has gained a reputation for being a bit mischievous with a smidgen of never sits the F down. The entertainment had arrived. Everyone buckle up.
A month ago when I signed us up I thought a music class with Olivia was the perfect idea. Olivia can find the beat in anything. She booty pops to the sound of the blender as my husband makes his morning smoothie. She bobs her head to the sound of the Keurig as coffee dribbles into my mug and I shoot her “this is because of YOU” looks. So naturally I thought, wow, she is really into music. I must foster this love and assuage my guilt over never doing anything with her and sign up for a music class!
The first time I strolled into class with Olivia in my arms ready to establish sweet memories of us dancing while we gave each other these loving looks that would melt my heart and somehow would worm their way into her very first early memories.
It’s like I forget who my kids are.
We were in trouble from the get go. Olivia gave zero Fs about the welcome song. No, it was far more interesting to raid the cubbies that stored everyone’s belongings and bring me her shoes. Followed by her coat. Then she eventually resorted to dragging out other peoples’ shoes and coats when her own things lost their allure.
Our sweet, hipster-tastic instructor told us at the beginning of the class that it’s fine to let your kid enjoy class as they see fit. That walking and wondering around is perfectly normal and appropriate. I tried to channel the zen that one who has the patience to teach multiple children’s music classes per day must possess as I grimaced my way through song after song trying not to make eye contact with the other moms that were thinking were silently grateful that it wasn’t their kid this time. Eventually though her wandering went from harmless to “I’m just here to F shit up” chaos and I had to remove myself from the circle and begin what was to be one of several epic chases.
Each class devolves pretty quickly…
She systematically checks the light socket covers to see if any have been removed – sort of how in Jurassic Park the raptors continually checked the fences to see if the electrical currents were down. It took her about half a class to figure out how to pop them off and thrust her prize triumphantly into the sky while I sprint towards her hissing “no no no!”
I swear this is punishment for all the sleeping training I’ve put her through.
She sits smugly in the corner while I rattle the shake eggs, sing off key, and flutter colorful scarves not unlike Will Ferrell in his infamous ribbon dancer routine in Old School.
There is mocking laughter in those baby blues as I belt out bars of another silly song that you look like a total doucher singing if there isn’t a kid on your lap. I wistfully watch the other moms with their kids – their enjoyment is palpable! Usually my wistful reverie is interrupted before I get in too deep and I have to show off my sprinting skills. I’m basically the Usain Bolt of moms.
And this kid is always ravenous. Something about the strumming guitar totally ignites her appetite and she wails from the back of the room and starts dragging my bag around knowing there are snacks to be had. I am the first to admit that I pack a wide array of snacks and plenty of them because I am priming my children to be emotional eaters. Oh, you’re upset in public, here’s this yummy granola bar! Don’t want to leave the store because you saw something that caught your eye that I told you 5,120 times I’m not buying? Look at this string cheese! Ok, fruit snacks. At last week’s class Olivia managed to pull out an entire freezer bag worth of snacks from my diaper bag and drag it out into plain sight. Every mom’s eyes bulged in either surprise, awe, or disgust. It was the entire grocery cracker/snack aisle packed into a Ziploc baggie on the verge of exploding with Yellow Dye #5 snacks. A mom even said “Wow! I am impressed by how many snacks you pack!” Are you? Are you really? Or do you just think I’m sad, lady with the kid that pays attention in class?
So then we spent 10 minutes of a 45 minute class banished from the song circle because food is forbidden, while she binged on blueberries until her blood sugar was elevated enough to dart off into the opposite direction. I think I need to start packing mini booze bottles in my snack pack.
Relatively speaking, all this is fine as long as she doesn’t mess with other people. Inevitably though, she decides to start working on her socialization skills and messing with the kids that are actually engaged in the activity their parents paid for and forced them to attend. Mainly its a newborn baby in an infant carseat that’s been catching her eye. Like a moth to a flame, Olivia has to investigate, usually when everyone is preoccupied with the dance breakdown and she can creep over relatively unnoticed. I’ve seen Olivia do some questionable things to her baby dolls so I couldn’t blame the mom for shooting me a “you handle this or I will be forced to” look as Olivia inched closer to the carseat with a not so innocent gleam in her eye.
The other moms in the class are great about it. I think they’re mostly relieved that they aren’t me so it frees them up to way well-meaning things like “Oh she’s fine!” or “She cracks me up!” and “Boy! She seems like a handful!” I wish I knew their names but sadly Olivia keeps me from having more than a 3 second conversation.
And I’m not the only one getting frustrated. Two of Olivia’s little friends take the class with her (well, mostly me and my mom friends take the class together but you get what I mean) and the one boy is fed up with Olivia’s shenanigans. Today I sort of hung back and let him do the scolding as he looked at her, gesticulating for her to rejoin the circle in a sort of “WTF? THIS IS AMAZING! GET BACK HERE” way.
I cannot imagine what I look like to the other people. Five minutes into the class and I am silently counting down to its end so I can finally escape the sweaty prison of my own making. And that’s the kicker right there. I paid for this. I dreamed up a fantasy land experience for my daughter and I that had about a 5% chance of coming to fruition. My guess is that on the last class of the session she will finally come around and participate so completely and passionately that she will swindle me into signing up for another one. Oh baby, you are more calculating than I thought.