Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Music soothes the savage beast

In an ongoing effort to expose the monkey to enriching experiences, we have been attending "music classes". The "class" consists of a group of women (they're all women in our weekday class, although men - presumably the dads..make appearances on the weekend) sitting around in a circle on the floor, sans shoes, with babies plopped squarely in front of them. The music teacher sits at the head of the circle, with some strumming device..(guitar? no. Sitar? no..mandoline? no..harpsichord?) I have no idea what it is. She sings the songs, and encourages the rest of us to sing along, accompanied by various musical instruments, playthings, and objects designed to distract the baby from the fact that he is sitting in a brightly lit room surrounded by strangers singing off key and making a lot of noise.

The music teacher takes particular satisfaction in torturing the little ones when it comes time to distribute the instruments. Rather than handing the instrument to the child, she takes the large box of them, dumps them unceremoniously into the center of the room, and shouts out for the children to "come get them!" Some of the older babies in the class live for this kind of athletic challenge, and make a mad dash to crawl off with the best and shiniest sparklies - the rattle shaped tamborines, the bongo drums, etc.

Thank God the little monkey is finally crawling, and thus able to retrieve whatever instrument he wants. Before this development, he sat there, firmly planted on his big-bottomed-diapered self, vaguely confused and looked at me in expectation...

"umm..mom?" His eyes said.

"Shouldn't you be out there fighting to get me the best and shiniest of the instruments?"

Now, I suppose there is some value in forcing your child to fend for himself, and thus learn some valuable life lesson. But class is only 45 minutes long, and we don't have the time for monkey to sit there all day till he felt motivated enough to crawl on his own. And besides, as we would learn eventually, it took an electronic gadget to spur him into action.

Thus, braving the dirty looks from the rest of the mommies, I would force my way into the writhing pile of babies and toys, and claim one for my child (a toy, obviously). Upon handing the booty over to the little monkey, he would express approval by promptly inserting the object into his mouth.

Now that he is happily crawling, my fears that he will be instrument-less can be put to rest. But wouldn't you know it, one baby in the class has decided to show off and start standing alone. I expect any day now, he will start walking around, unassisted. Great. That's just the motivation the teacher needs to start incorporating more flippin movement into the class. The dancing around with our "partner" (yes, that would be the baby we brought along) is bad enough. Today for example, I realized I had hit a new state of intellectual atrophy when I was easily able to sing and dance along to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." Sing it along with me you children of the 80's. Bonus points for those of you who can remember the names of BOTH members of the group.

In the meantime, we continue to go to class. I continue to sing off key. The monkey continues to gum and drool over the instruments. The infernal songs remain lodged securely in my brain. And as the weather outside becomes increasingly less conducive to park outings, I suspect we have more of these indoor type activities to look forward to.

 Posted by Picasa In preparation for music class, the monkey practices on his bongo drums diligently.
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