Monday, February 18, 2008

How Dance Party Saved My Sanity

Instituting “Dance Party” was the best parenting decision I ever made.

It began when Maya was a newborn. She was inclined to fuss a bit in the afternoons, so I bought an old Wilson Phillips CD and jammed out to Hold On with her…. She loved it. When she was three months old, I discovered the Broadway station on my television, and songs from Wicked, Singing in the Rain, and Oklahoma became our favorites. Then Maya found a Mother Goose Rocks album at the library. She became obsessed with its less than inspiring adaptations of mediocre pop songs, and so she was left to dance alone for a year or so.

Now, I have overcome my luddism and embraced iTunes. The resulting Dance Party play list is full of high-energy childrens' songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (which spell check shockingly corrected for me!), a pop version of “Zip a Dee Do Da,” and several 80s tunes that Maya has fallen in love with (“Manic Monday” and “How Will I know” were added to today’s repertoire).

On a truly manic Monday, when I can’t help but kick myself repeatedly for relaxing Maya’s basic daily rituals over the weekend, Dance Party gets us through.

Even Maya can sense when it is time to dance. At 10:00 this morning, after the third accident in a row and a huge hot chocolate spill, she just looked at me with a very serious expression and said, “Let’s dance.”

She was downstairs with her tutu on before I could say, “Excellent idea.” She even helped me spread out Elliot’s blanket, plug the speakers into the computer, and pick the first song! "Zip a dee do da" did our day start getting better. At first, Maya simply ran around and around our new cushioned ottoman (replacing the hard-edged coffee tabled seemed critical for dance party safety). After a bit, she grabbed her xylophone and started plucking out a few notes to complement our music. She even two-stepped with me. All the while, we both jumped around and sang at the top of our lungs, and Elliot squealed along with us.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the old advice (or forward?) that singing in the shower always puts you in a better mood. Dance Party is that multiplied by one hundred. We’ve done this at least once a day since the mercury plunged below 20 degrees (today it’s about 20 below!). I highly recommend this morale-boosting, heart-healthy solution for everyone else who may be suffering from the Midwest-winter blues. And most of you will get to pick your own songs… so enjoy it!

Disclaimer: 5 hours after my original post I feel obligated to remind you that Dance Party is indeed a great morale boost, but it in no way reduces the maniacal qualities of life that require the morale boost. Dance Party simply prepared me to deal with the next three accidents in a row and the next major dark beverage spill with a bit more grace!

1 comment:

Audrey said...

Your stories are truly inspirational, and I love reading them. I feel like I know Maya and Elliot even though I have yet to meet them (we should work on that). You are an amazing mother!


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