Katie had her first dance class experience this morning at Temecula Valley Cathy's Dance. She loved it! I had been waiting to follow her lead: I had asked her a few months ago as we were choosing our spring classes whether or not she wanted to take a dance class, and she actually had said "no" at that time. In fact, she wanted to take gymnastics. That was a great decision on her part, because gymnastics has turned out to be a good fit for her.
Lately, however, she has developed a love for dancing at home. I approached her again a few weeks ago about starting a dance class (classes through the city are 6 week sessions). This time, she really wanted to take the class and was so excited! As we give our children opportunities to explore new passions, Bill and I are hoping to follow their lead. As a parent, we think, you want to provide opportunities and encourage new experiences without being one of those pushy parents. Although it will be inevitable at some point to counsel Katie and Eric to stick with a disciplines, sports, or hobbies especially when they become hard work or get tough (as all passions do if you are really trying to achieve), we also believe that the quickest way to kill the love for something is to force it or push it on the child. It is a delicate balance as a parent to guide your children toward opportunity, achievement, and success while still remaining flexible enough to respect their passions, likes/dislikes, and fundamental autonomy.
I am glad Katie wanted to try a dance class. She really had a great time, and she tried every move the teacher asked her to try. She has such an enthusiasm for learning, and within this year I have seen her confidence blossom and her approach to new people become more open. Several months ago, it would have been difficult for her to jump right into the program today with so many strangers---yet today, I saw a child who has confidence in herself and in the fact that her mommy is right with her and in own abilities.
The Temecula recreation department has been amazing this year. They offer so much, and we can't wait to sign up for swim classes as soon as online registration opens for the sessions we're planning. I love that we are signed up through the city for classes, and yet we get to have exposure to different companies to see if we like them. It is a good way to observe and experience TVCD, for example, without having a huge commitment at the outset. I know that there are a handful of dance companies in Temecula, and it would have been a little initimidating knowing where to start if I just set out to pick one. But here we get to see a glimpse of how one of the companies operates, and we can take our next steps from there.
Katie is so physical and adapts very quickly to new physical tasks (she has Bill's genes for this, quite clearly), and that has been to my greatest surprise and delight as a mother. I love fostering this in her. We will finish our dance class this spring and then by next year we might need to make more of a decision about which sport to begin more in earnest: gymnastics, dance? Or even something else?
After dance class, we met up with my mom for a little trip to the mall. I needed to finalize my wedding attire for David's wedding, and I also wanted to pick up a few other items. I admit that I got a little splurgy at Motherhood Maternity, but in truth most of my maternity clothes from Katie were either worn out or geared more toward working. Some of my t-shirts and comfy clothes from that time shrunk with washing or are no longer in existence. I had a gift card to help a little. I have been so hesitant to buy any new maternity clothes for this pregnancy because I definitely know that Eric is our last baby, and pregnancy lasts for so short a time. But now as I enter my last stretch, I am no longer able to get away with using my non-maternity clothes as I have been. Let us just say: it will be nice to have a pajama camisole that doesn't start riding up on my belly tonight!
Katie also picked out a sunhat and some sunglasses. She was debating between two pair of sunglasses, one much more stylish than the other, and I let her work it out herself. She tried on both and looked in a mirror, and she cracked the salesperson up when she said of the blander pair: "Hm, these are more sensible." Katie was right: they were a little more classically designed, but also more boring. In the end, she chose the more stylish, less sensible, but still functional pair. I am tickled to death that my daughter uses the word "sensible" and uses it correctly. It sounds just like something I would say. I am also pleased that she has her own sense of style. Children are often at their best when they are not replicas of us.
This has been a busy week for us. I had my glucose lab on Monday, and tomorrow I have my actual OB visit. We have made our own "fig newtons" with my mom's homemade blueberry jam and some store bought jams. I've been working on trying to catch up on some house projects (which are never-ending), and I gave my penultimate Toastmasters speech (well, penultimate with respect to earning my Competent Communicator award). I've also been lesson planning for the summer so that we can continue the momentum with some of our art studies (Katie's last art class for the year was yesterday). Fortunately this weekend will be a bit more mellow...the last weekend before a whirlwind two weeks of fun: our anniversary weekend and David and Ashley's wedding weekend!