Never Done: I went to Rock a Baby
I don't think I've seen Tabitha since I started my job. I've written a little about how hard it's been to see all my friends since starting my job, and she's no exception. I mean, I leave the house before 8, and I usually get home around 7, and I have all the regular life necessity things to do in between -- make dinner, make breakfast, make lunch to bring, do dishes, pay bills, do something new, blog, try to keep up with email, and get some sleep. I'm not doing so well keeping up with my friends. And I miss them. (You.) Michelle had the idea that she could bring Tabitha to the JCC and Tabitha and I could go to a class together while Michelle got an hour to herself. This was a really really really accommodating solution for me -- less so for Michelle, who had to travel an extra express stop on my behalf. And to make it even more of an elegant solution, I got to go to one of the toddler music programs in my building: Rock a Baby.
Rock a Baby is a guitar - keyboard - vocal toddler entertainment rock band who brings out puppets, maracas, balls, and bubbles to rock up their already rocking renditions of toddler classics from Old MacDonald to Wild Thing. (I wanna know for sure.) They were great -- good musicians, able to pay attention to 15 toddlers while also singing a story book. Tabitha was slow to warm up to it, and gave me lots of opportunities to make ethical decisions. First, she just seemed sort of sad and wanted to stay very close to me. As in arms and legs wrapped around me, and head leaning on my chest. At first that seemed more about missing her mom than about wanting to be close, but after a while when I could see she was also having fun (she liked it when the maracas came out) she would venture out for a little bit, and then turn and smile and come flop back on me again. She wasn't very interested in engaging with the musicians or their puppet alter-egos, and it made me alternately want to encourage her to do that, and also to just hog her for the whole time -- because it was really sweet to snuggle with her. She wasn't talking to me, so I wasn't sure what was going on for her, and I went back and forth about this in my mind, when it occurred to me that just because she wasn't talking to me didn't mean I couldn't talk to her. So I told her, "If you want, you can go dance with the puppet. I'll be right here; you can always come back. Also, it's totally fine if you want to just hang out with me."
And guess what she did? She got up, looked at me, smiled, went over to the puppet but gave up when the puppet had other kids to dance with first, and came back and snuggled with me for the rest of the class. Sometimes people just need to know what's OK to do and what's not. I mean, I need that, so why wouldn't 2-year-old? Sometimes it's easy to forget that we're all just figuring out what's OK to do and what's not.