I have worked hard in the past couple of weeks to ease up on the scheduled activity & give him time to just be. He's pretty social & busy, so it is tough for him not to be engaged in something, but I have enjoyed watching him take some deep breaths and find something to do that didn't involve instruction or, in some cases, any interaction at all--he can whip up his own little universe pretty quickly and effectively when he's left to his own devices. We are only doing summer camp 3x a week and have only the drum class on Mondays from now until August. But today was one of those days.
Since its summer camp, the teacher's instruction was for the kids to come in their bathing suits, as there would be all kinds of frolicking through sprinklers & merriment at the water tables. So, bathing suit it was:
please note the Beatles lunch box. The perfect compliment to the blue on blue bathing ensemble & a kicky pair of new crocs.
I'm in my class room! In a bathing suit! Folks, this is like showing up to work in your pajamas. It feels wrong, but so fabulous.
After camp, Chatterbox E told me all about driving his bike through the bike/car wash that that the class dad's configured out of hoses and PVC pipes a few months ago and about his soccer coach who taught them how to dribble ("but I'm not very good at it, but it's okay because I can practice and get as good as Coach")(and let's take note that the soccer classes we paid for this spring? Ginormous disaster of epic proportions. But soccer classes that come with our summer camp package? Chatterbox-inducing glee and Beckham-esque aspirations. Go freaking figure.)
We got home in time to hear our neighbors in their kitchen, which almost always without fail leads to a playdate. See, houses in our neighborhood are fairly close together (read: on top of each other) & the next door neighbors have three kids, one of which is Ethan's age. And the boys are obsessed with each other. Ethan is reaching bona fide stalker pitch in this relationship. When we pull into our driveway, Ethan's first comment is inevitably about Cole and whether he is home, and if he is, "maybe we can have a play date with Cole." To which I tell him, "Not right this minute, but if you hear them outside, we can go outside and see them." This means Ethan has to go through the house, making sure all our windows are open so he is positive to hear the very second one of them steps out of their door. And when he does hear them? Whatever we are doing MUST be dropped & he goes tearing for our door, yelling, "HI, COLE!!! WANNA PLAY, COLE??!! HI, COLE!!" Yeah, we're those neighbors. Awesome.
Fortunately yesterday the mom came over & asked if Ethan wanted to go play with Cole. This was phenomenal because it gave me a chance to clean the house a bit. I now know why I spend all my time before going away on vacation cleaning--coming home to a dirty house is gross & exhausting, y'all.
Then it was off to drum class. Let's take a moment to remember Ethan's recent extra-curricular activity demeanor. My social, outgoing, happy guy has recently turned into fearful, clingy, whimpering guy when faced with a group of kids he doesn't know & new instructors. We don't push it--if he wants to participate, he can. If he doesn't, we sit on the sidelines and watch; maybe next week he'll participate. It's all about making him comfortable in his environment and letting him come to the experience authentically, right?
It all sounds so Zen and reasonable of us. Please. On the outside I am all "It's okay; let's sit over here and watch." On the inside? I hear Joan Crawford screaming "NO WIRE HANGERS!" and the staccato "WREEE! WREEEE! WREEE!" of Psycho swirling around my brain in a cacophanous symphony of angry-mom angst. And it started again yesterday afternoon as we entered the drum class.
In the car? SO excited! Talked about how he was going to teach his drum-classmates how to play "Lady Madonna" (still his new favorite Beatles song--although today he said something that made me clutch my pearls in horror--"I'm sick of the Beatles right now, mom." THE HORROR!). When we got out of the car? Starting to talk softer, all bravado of actually BEING the teacher in the drum class gone. Through the door? Entirely mute & hiding behind my leg as the teacher greeted him. In the class? Did the ants-in-his-pants anxiety dance when I tried to extract my fingers from his pudgy-fingered, white-knuckled little clutches.
So while all the other moms sat over on the folding chairs, this mom sat in the circle, patting my knees to learn about rhythm & tempo. Jumping up and down and stamping my feet and shaking the egg shakers. Can I take a second to tell you how over-the-moon excited I was that the room had a wall-to-wall-ceiling-to-floor mirror? So I could watch myself jumping up and down with a circle of preschoolers? Without a sports bra on? And could see all the moms behind me. Watching me jump up and down with their preschoolers. Without a sports bra on. Super.
Eventually, Ethan took pity on me (it's all about me, right) and tapped into his confident inner rockstar. Slowly I was able to extract myself from the percussive festivities and join the rest of the moms as Ethan became increasingly at home around the giant base drums, mallets, and awesome little drum heads. As a matter of fact, at the end of class, I could not get him to leave. So we caused a ruckus both coming and going. Which was awesome. We're memorable. Very memorable.
slowly inching away...
ooooh, look at how his arms are drawn back in anticipation and excitement when she holds up drum head? This is my cue to step waaaaaay back...
Ethan takes loving possession of his very own yellow drum. Le sigh