My daughter just finished Music Together in the Valley, a music and dance class for kids and their parents.
With a newborn at home, my wife and I figured the weekly session would give the girl a much needed break from the chaos.
Of course, with baby occupying all of my wife’s time, the class and all of its (gulp) singing, dancing, and role-playing fell directly on my shoulders. Here now are 6 lessons from daddy daughter music class.
They Skimped On The Good Stuff
I have this habit of setting expectations based on no information and then becoming borderline offended when reality is nothing like those expectations. This is a solid Dad Move and exactly what happened with this music class.
To start, I figured that for $200 we’d have access to some sweet instruments: bongos, snare drums, waist high xylophones with the big furry mallets, etc. I literally envisioned laying down a dirty beat on the snare while the girl giggled with delight.
The best thing about being a dad is that kids are easily impressed. Anytime I complete some basic, everyday task like standing on a chair to retrieve the bourbon from the liquor cabinet, the girl looks at me like I am Superman — WOW! DADDY HIGH UP!!! — and since I lead an otherwise very unimpressive life, showing off to a toddler has become critical to my overall self-esteem.
But there was to be no showboating in music class, because the only “instruments” provided were maracas and rhythm sticks. Not even a toddler is impressed with that crap. If the music industry wants to hook kids on music, they should bust out the good stuff.
The Girl Is Already Too Cool For Me
The class was recommended for ages 0-5, so I was surprised when, at 2.5 years old, the girl was one of the oldest ones there.
Now, here’s the problem with that. The other kids, either unable to walk or still in the grips of stranger danger, stayed close to their parents.
But the girl, demonstrating her newfound independence as an almost-3-year-old, ran to the middle of the circle to jam out alone, in an uncoordinated whirlwind of white girl rhythm she inherited from her mother.
So while the other parents danced with their kids, I was exposed, in a big circle, having to dance and sing and role play all alone like some horse’s ass. I will have nightmares about this for years to come.
I Have No Rhythm
It’s brutal. There was a point during the final session when we were doing the Macarena and I just stopped moving. It wasn’t that I didn’t know the moves, like any child of the 90s this horrible dance is burned into my muscle memory for time eternal, it’s that my brain just shut it down. Like it went into damage control and said to my body, “All right that’s enough, bud. I’m done letting you embarrass the both of us.”
(Thank you, brain).
The Girl Is Gonna Have To Get Some Rhythm
The girl cannot follow in my uncoordinated footsteps. At some point, she’s gonna have to learn to dance, because rhythm is a necessary life skill.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it should be taught in high school — now that I have a few years of real world experience, I LOVE blaming all my shortcomings on the school system (another solid Dad Move).
But seriously I took 2 years of chemistry, and for what? Nothing. But at every wedding I attend I have to blackout just so I can drown my conscious enough to let me out on the dance floor. We should demolish all high school lab tables and use the space for mandatory dance and rhythm class. Who do I talk to about this?
45 Minutes is Too Long For Children’s Activities
And not just for kids and their non-existent attention spans, but for the parents. It’s exhausting. Even at home, I can endure about 30 minutes of playing house before I need a break to go sit on the couch and check Twitter. Children’s activities should be capped at 30 minutes.
Weeknight Activities Make For A Long Day
Here is a snapshot of my Tuesday with music class: I wake up, rush to work, rush home, eat dinner so fast it doesn’t even register, rush to music class, shake some miracas, rush home again, and after I shower and get the girl to sleep, I have 10 minutes to cry uncontrollably into my pillow before bed.
And this is with only one activity per week. How much of fatherhood is bussing kids to and from activities? Am I destined for a life of choir lessons, dance recitals, and girl’s sports? Is this my future?