Let me take a moment to big up the Grandparents. My children’s Grandma and Grandpa are amazing. Wonderful. Lovely.
Every week they take the kids out to dancing lessons, it’s great. I’m sure other parents of small children will understand when I say this: I love my kids more than life itself, and, simultaneous to that overwhelming love, it’s lovely to have a break from them.
At kid’s dance class I understand, and it doesn’t surprise me, Grandma gets stuck right in. She does the hokey-cokey, and the galloping, and the twirling. I strongly suspect she’d sign herself up to the class if she could. She knows how to enjoy things.
Tiny fly in the ointment. The Grandparents do, inconsiderately, have a life themselves. They are not always available to look after my children for me. I know. Outrageous.
This week it meant I had to take my own children to dance class. Gulp.
They reassure me. They tell me my son does the dances himself and my daughter just needs a little guidance. They make it all sound easy. Not like my children at all, in fact.
At the village hall we gather in a ring for the start of the lesson. My daughter reveals her sabotage plan. She is on all fours. She is being a cat.
Miss Emma, the lovely class leader, leads the warm up stretches. I try to do the warm up stretches. I can’t. I’m not flexible enough. I look to my daughter. She is, literally, being a cat. I do the marching and waving. She is being a cat. I start to feel incongruous. I am a man, doing marching and waving with a lot of small children, dragging a cat. I doubt this is what Grandma does.
“Do you want to dance?” I ask her.
“Meow.” She replies.
I take her into the village hall kitchen were the other Mum’s are drinking coffee and nattering. I’m beginning to get the hang of this drinking coffee and nattering myself. Twenty minutes pass pleasantly. I realise my daughter is not in the kitchen with us.
I peer through the serving hatch. She is joining in with the dancing on her own. Amazing! Yet again, I am an idiot parenting genius! The power of me not paying attention to my child has caused a developmental leap. She doesn’t need dance guidance any more. Hurray!
Oh no! I’ve broken dance class for Grandma. Maybe just not tell her this happened.