I love watching Izzie, my 3 year old, at dance class. She dances how we all should outrageously and with no inhibitions, laughing at every turn. Any minute now she may ask me to join in, hopefully not out of pity because I’m sitting here grinning inanely like a sad old wall flower but because she wants us to have some fun. My dancing doesn’t embarrass her… Yet.
I didn’t think I’d ever be waiting for someone to ask me to dance with such anticipation. I’m not sure even Daniel Craig could generate this much excitement from me, well when it came to dancing anyway. I know the chosen music won’t be something I’d usually download from itunes. But I wonder what it’ll be, Teddy’s Bear Picnic or the Jungle Wiggle? It doesn’t matter because whatever the song is, its brilliant dancing with Izzie.
That’s one of the things Ive enjoyed most about the last 3 years, the fact that my children have made me enjoy doing things I wouldn’t usually do. Some activities I do because I really want to, some are out of guilt, some I find challenging and grow to enjoy and some my children nag me into submission to take part in.
Baking is a prime example of how I’ve been nagged into doing something I seriously didn’t want to do. I honestly never saw the point in faffing about with flour and eggs and putting myself in the very real danger of setting my house on fire to make mediocre cakes. What was the point when Mr Kipling was always there to supply me with some really nice ones?
When my girls won the baking battle I realised there was a bit more to it than just cake. They watched in awe as I nervously cracked the egg on the side of the mixing bowl which looked suspiciously like a dogs bowl, I still wonder if I bought the wrong thing. They loved spooning the mixture in the little cases and well lets face it who doesn’t like licking the bowl?
Their sheer delight when the cakes had risen and were taken out of the oven was almost tear jerking and certainly worth all the faffing. And of course the icing & decorating with hundred’s and thousands was, well the icing on the cake really. Would I have baked cakes without my girls? Not a chance. Did I enjoy baking with them? Absolutely.
I realise I’m leaning forward now, almost laughing at the memory and therefore looking a bit ridiculous and way too keen to be asked to dance. Desperation is never attractive especially to a toddler, so I sit back and let me mind wander further to other things the girls encourage me to do.
One of our favourite places to visit is the ice cream farm. I love taking my girls here because it makes me stop, think and properly respond to their questions. Izzie has not yet learnt to use the word “why” responsibly. If I’m honest the constant questioning when we’re in a hurry to get to nursery by 9am occasionally irritates me.
At the farm I allow myself to be entertained rather than aggravated by the questions. This week Izzie asked “where does ice cream come from?” A gift of a question so my reply was “a cows boobs’. Now I thought this answer deserved a “why?”. But instead I got “Do cats have boobs?” I pondered this one too long as we were then by the ducks and ready for the next question of “Do ducks drink the same water they live in?”
Without the farm I wouldn’t give ducks drinking water or cats boobs questions the thought they deserve. I can totally relax into the Motherhood business here, do chicken impressions, oink like a pig and baaa like a sheep with my 1 year old Jemima without the constant worry of being sectioned.
Its difficult sometimes to take the time to enjoy toddlers when its necessary to spend so much time looking after them but living life through their senses is unnbelievable. I love the films we’ve watched together, you know like Happy Feet or Polar Express. Real feel good films that make you feel great to be alive. Not like the heavy going Thrillers I usually subject myself to that make me feel grateful to be alive.
I’ve also been able to rediscover dishes like fish fingers, chips and beans with jelly and ice cream for dessert. Now jelly was something I enjoyed making, much less work than cake for a similar result. Although I shared the girls impatience, I didn’t remember jelly taking that long to set? Patience has never been one of my strong points. Even now I’m thinking this version of Teddy Bears Picnic’s lasting forever.
I hear the music stop now. I better concentrate after all this time waiting expectantly it’d be awful to miss my opportunity to ‘bust some moves’. Izzie wanders over to me, takes my hand and now its our time to dance. The music of choice is”Nod Nod Nod with Noddy” so we all have to hold hands in a circle.
I realise the other kid I have to join hands with has spent most of this class burrowing up his nose. This doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. After all I can wash my hands but I’ll never get to live these moments again.
I was lucky, I had a brilliant childhood. I vividly remember saying to my parents, I never want to grow up. And you know what, with the help of my two baby girls, I’m starting to realise a part of me never did.