Why I Am Teaching My Son To Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Today my little Monkey is 5 whole months old, and I have to share that I have a new addiction.  The first time I saw Finn’s smile, my heart melted, and when I hear the occasional giggle now, the same affect is achieved; instant puddle of melted cardiac material.  But I have to admit something that I don’t know if most mom’s would agree with, my son’s smile is not my favourite sight to behold.  I know, I know, lock me away in parenting prison for I have committed a crime in admitting that fact.

My new addiction is my son’s excited face, well actually it’s not as simple as excitement.  It’s not the same expression one would have if you put a giant chocolate cake in front of them, or a boob in his case.  No it’s more complicated than simple excitement. The story behind the wide focused eyes, and tiny mouth in an “o” shape, goes deeper.  It’s excitement brought on by experiencing something novel.  It’s the thrill of holding a new toy for the first time, and the expectation of discovering how it works.  It’s the wonder at seeing a motorcycle vroom past for the first time.  It’s his adventure face.

The Role of Adventure in Our lives

Adventure is all about pushing boundaries, traveling to new locals, taking risk, and engaging in leisure activities, all with the goal of refusing the mundane, discovering and creating excitement and enhancing pleasure wherever we can.  There are many ways to make our lives more adventurous, from seeing your own neighborhood through the eyes of a tourist, to avoiding tourist-like package deal travel and immersing  yourself in new cultures when you go away.

I want my son to seek out adventure.  Yes selfishly, this is because I am addicted to his adventure face.  Truthfully though the addiction belongs to what that face symbolizes.  I know when that expression spreads like a wave of exhilaration across his face we are sharing the joy only adventure can provide.

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Living life in search of adventure is not for everyone.  Other’s will judge, they always do. If we want to be true adventurers we have to look past the heavy cloud of other people’s opinions, until we are standing in the clear skies of our own desire.  Adventure is waiting in our life everyday if we are only willing to be brave enough to embrace novel, intimidating, and maybe even seemingly risky experiences.

I am completely uncoordinated.  I mean utterly incapable of keeping time, or following dance instructions in the slightest.  But I recently took the leap and completed my first Sling Swing class with Finn.  Why?  You guessed it, I was after that adventure face.  I wanted to teach my son to literally dance like no one is watching, and have fun no matter how out of your element you may feel.

Slung Up

The reward for my bravery was stupendous.  Let me start at the end and work our way around for dramatic effect.  Imagine a tall incredibly energetic woman with a small toddler “slinging it” on her back, while she is mobbed by a group of 15 moms, all similarly “slung up” with babies of their own.  The instructor Lynsey’s warm Scottish accent fills the ears and the heart like warm butter on toast, smooth, hearty and pleasing.  I am a sucker for accents after all.  Everyone is eager to say to her personally how much they loved her class, and to seek her expertise on the art of baby wearing.  Beads of sweat adorning my brow, and a baby who won’t stop smiling, I stood in the “Lynsey queue”, just as excited to share my praise and sign-up for the course.

Back to the beginning; the Sling Swing classes begin with circle time and singing of everyone’s favorite nursery rhymes to get us all in a jovial mood.  Then we pause to all get slung up, a phrase which encompasses the putting on of the widest range of baby carrying devices you can imagine; every shape, color, pattern, and design were represented.  Then the fun really starts, with a 30 minute session of solid dancing.   Fantastic, seductive, and silly, could all be used to describe the unique collection of dance moves, yet none seemed to disappoint baby or mommy.  Songs ranged from hip-hop to the classics, and singing along was highly encouraged.

I left the class with a feeling of accomplishment, peace, and exhaustion.  I may have nearly killed a few of the unfortunate mom’s who chose dancing spots next to my own, but I throw myself into the deep end, I really went for it; and the reward was seeing Finn’s adventure face staring back-up at me while we did our best Grease Lightening.

Main image by Morten Rand-Hendriksen.