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Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This month, our lives got a little bit busier: both the kids are now enrolled in classes. I firmly believe that it's a mistake to spend the precious hours of childhood running from activity to activity, and I really want to avoid getting on a slippery slope that would lead to over-scheduled, stressed out kids (and, by extension, over-scheduled, stressed out parents). I believe it's my responsibility as a parent to help my kids avoid the pressure (social, cultural, and otherwise) that insists More Is Better. Whether that's more classes, more clothes, more toys or what have you. (Though anyone who has seen our play room would probably take us to task for a little "do as I say not as I do" here... the consequences of having two parents who are avid thrift shoppers and who have trouble saying no to a good deal! Plus, I make an exception where books are concerned. You can't have too many books.)

For now, we're limiting ourselves to the extracurriculars currently on the calendar, and it is working well -- and the kids are having a lot of fun, which is what matters most

BB is continuing with her gym class once a week, and she still enjoys it very much. She seems to be getting stronger and more confident all the time -- doing the balance beam (the high one!) All By Herself, pushing herself towards handstands and cartwheels. It's really neat to see. Plus she got her first Real Leotard for Christmas. I suppose it isn't surprising that the one she picked out is shockingly orange and covered in flowers.
She loves it! Here she is showing off her "pike position."
And of course she wanted to show me how good she was at balancing!
I swear, when she's running around in gym class, all decked out in her new leotard, she sometimes looks about six years old. My little girl ain't so little anymore! (Sniffle!)

She's also taking ballet class now, much to her delight. Here she is at her first class -- she's the one in the center of the picture, looking up at the teacher who is on her right.

The class is very sweet and gentle. It's such a contrast from the blaring, overwhelming energy of the first dance class we tried out more than a year ago now. Plus, BB gets to spend some time with some of the girls from her preschool. (Preschool is going much better, I'm happy to say, and things like this class are definitely helping!) This little clip is a pretty good sample of what the classes are like -- just really calm and flowing, with the girls (and the one boy) enjoying themselves quite a bit. In the video, BB is the one in the middle who gets helped by the teacher early on to correct her foot positioning:


Lest one think that it's All BB All The Time, let me assure you that BJ is getitng his fair share of educational enrichment. There's kindergarten, of course, which is going really well. And his rehearsals for the upcoming school play would "count" as extracurricular for sure. But at the moment he's most excited about the K-2 science class that he is taking. (I was excited too when I found it! Thank you, Internet!) This past Saturday was his first session, during which the kids each performed five experiments. He was bubbling with excitement about it all weekend long and can hardly wait until the next class.

So our weekends have become more challenging -- it's a bit of a shuffle to get everybody where they need to be -- but so far, so good!

And something must be catching, because I've really been itching to take a class or two of my own and seeing the kids in their classes is just making that urge more intense. Part of it is New Year, New Stuff -- the annual desire to learn new skills, try new things. Part of it is getting older and having some serious carpe diem moments. Time's a wastin', and there's so much I still want to do and learn: metal smithing, PMC, glass work, weaving, photography, garment design and construction, crochet, accounting, tap dance, web design, writing for children, woodworking, illustration, playing the guitar...

So the question is, what kind of class? (Not to mention, when?)

I know I'd rather feel full of enthusiasm and possibilities than otherwise, but it does get frustrating... happily, as a professor's wife I get tuition remission and there is a wealth of opportunities for classes, here on campus and elsewhere. Just gotta decide what, and figure out how to make it happen.


~Debra said...

My vote is for a photography class! I want to desperately take one when we are back Stateside!

Great classes! My daughter also takes ballet but she is also on a competitive cheer team. She no longer does gymnastics because of it.

What all does your little man take?

joeyandaleethea said...

I stopped by to check in, and see what you and your little ones were up to. Such a cute little dancer you have there! She does look quite proud of her dancing skills, that is so great! We are also not into the over-scheduling thing, and I'm always very aware not rushing the kids, but of course that wisdom only came after a few months of rushing last year - and not feeling so good about alot of things afterwards. It's just so much better to enjoy it all, and go when you want to go. And if not? That's find too. Just enjoy. :) I took Lily to dance - really a movement class - and it didn't go real well. As it turns out, my sweet babe who used to not want anything to do with a tutu...only wanted to wear the tutu! Wanted nothing to do with the class. Alas, she's 2.5yrs we shall try again at a later date. :)

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

Ah, yes Debra -- photography is def near the top of the list! For personal enrichment and also because better photography skills would be a big help with my online shop. Competitive cheer sounds fun! BJ takes a science class and is participating in the school play. Good times!

Joey! Great to see you! Isn't nice to just enjoy? ahhhhh. That's too cute about the tutu!!!

Aimee Diane Designs said...

My daughter just started gymnastics (she's almost 3) and she loves it! I too believe in the Less is More philosophy when it comes to toys and scheduled activities. Books are my exception to that rule too!

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

Thanks for the comment, Aimee! Gymnastics is so much fun -- plus I love how strong she is getting, how much confidence she's gaining in her own strong little body. And hooray for more books! :-)