Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Goodbye, So Long, Farewell, my friends...

If you have ever taken a Music Together class, or have listened to any of their eleventy billion CDs (whether it's the bongos version or the bells version--I have them ALL), you know that those words start the closing song for each class. It should go on to say, "We'll see you soon again, my friends, and make music together again."

But alas, we will not. Because of our pre-school schedule which has us starting another class of "transition" next Tuesday morning, yesterday was Ethan's very last Music Together class.

Ethan started taking Music Together classes back in Virginia when he was a wee eight, maybe ten, months old. My friend Carlin and I took our little ones to the music class mostly because the winter was dragging on and we needed something to do with them. I couldn't walk around the mall with Ethan in the stroller for one. more. freaking. minute., and the county offered really inexpensive enrichment classes. Perfect.

Ethan and Chloe were the two youngest kids there, in a multi-aged group that ranged from 6-7 months to 3 years. Ethan was barely crawling and Chloe wasn't yet walking. The smiled at each other and rolled around on the floor together, kind of clapping their hands and banging instruments together. I know at first we felt a little self-conscious because our kids could barely participate and we felt ALL kinds of dorky singing some of the more ridiculous songs (and believe me, there is no shortage of dorky songs in Music Together) when our kids were more or less oblivious.

But we stuck with it, took the class several times in a row and watched Ethan and Chloe crawl, walk, dance, clap, sing to the music, week by week, learning and growing. I never felt anything really special for the instructor--she was sort of the failed dinner theater type, with a bad perm and a soprano voice that made all the songs sound way more tragic and profound than they were ever intended to be.

When we moved to Los Angeles, my biggest fear was that Ethan was losing all sense of normalcy and routine in his life. His friends were gone, his home was gone, his classes were gone, his toys were on a truck somewhere in the middle of the country. He was adrift in routine-less unfamiliarity and newness. Not a place a toddler feels really cozy, you know?

Someone I spoke with briefly mentioned Music Together classes that they were taking in our new town and I jumped. Google, email, phone call, register. POOF!! Within the first week, we found ourselves sitting in a circle, albeit surrounded by new faces and a new leader, but hearing the same songs, and seeing the same shakers and sticks and instruments and scarves. I'm not sure who felt more pressure drain from their every cell--me, or Ethan. It was like being, just a little tiny bit, at home. I remember crying on our way back to the hotel that day, that even so far from home we were able to find something tiny piece of the familiar for Ethan to cling to. And then I think we probably went to Target and spent a shitload of money on new toys for him.

It's been almost a year since we walked into that church nursery room to sit down in Miss Saskia's circle and to listen to her play her guitar, dance around and generally captivate the kids with her calming and warm manner, and Ethan has been madly in love with her pretty much since day 1. During session breaks, he asks when we get to see Saskia again. He wants to play guitar like Saskia. He is the first to stand at attention to get his stamps on his belly, hands, feet, wherever, after class. When she plays the digeridoo, you'd think Ethan was watching G-d herself descend from the heavens just to say "hi" to him.

Next week, though, Ethan starts his second morning of pre-school and the only available opening landed on a Tuesday. And so, we had to say goodbye to Music Together. Clearly I was more upset than him---he really doesn't "get it", and I'm the one with the aversion to change and the preoccupation with being overly sensitive and sentimental. I managed to hold it together during class and was surprised that I didn't dissolve into a puddle as we drove away from class. This move to Los Angeles has forced me to tap into an area of resolve and toughness I didn't know I had---I'm finding that change isn't the saddest or scariest thing possible. So I'm excited for Ethan to move on from music class and start exploring pre-school more regularly. He likes it there just as much as he does music class, so for him, it's pretty much a wash. Maybe even better as there will be music AND running around like a lunatic outside. So it's all good.

But of course, we marked the occasion with a trip to Build-a-Bear, and we built a Saskia bear, complete with guitar. Ethan carried Saskia bear and her guitar around with him all afternoon yesterday, and insisted that I find him a digeridoo to play as well. The best I could do was a bendy straw. He seemed okay with that.

Ethan saying, "It's too bright!!! It's too bright!" when I told him to turn around and smile outside of our class. Stage mom Sarah says, "Who cares?! Smile! I need a picture for mah blooooooog!"

Ethan and Miss Saskia "cheers"'ing with the shakers. Afterwards, Ethan said, "Now drink!" and pretended to chug his shaker. I can only imagine what she thinks must go on at our house.

Choked up mommy takes picture of Ethan hugging Saskia.

Ethan at home later with his Saskia bear, her guitar, and his diaper and digeridoo. (And as an aside, WHAT is my deal with the color brown?! We need a stylist. Badly)

Saskia bear

Green bendy-straw as Aboriginal wind instrument.


Becca said...

Aww! Good luck Tuesday!

cicadalady said...

the saskia bear is such a cute idea. i will definitely tell her about that! i love it. we will miss you at music though. i don't think noni's going to get that ethan won't be there.

Emi said...

Dudette for a moment I had a little heart attack.. I was like Ahhhhh! no more blog... so thank you for not leaving us... on another note.. a tear when Ethan hugged Saskia... too cute...