A couple of weeks ago through my work with Macaroni Kid I was lucky enough to be given tickets to the Baby Loves Disco event at Metro. Baby Loves Disco is an awesome event that tours through the country turning adult night clubs into kiddie "night" clubs for an afternoon complete with a DJ, tattoos (temporary, of course!), food and beverage (fruit and juice boxes), a dance-off, a station to get an updo (girls) or faux-hawk (boys) and more! I went to do a little Macaroni Kid work, but Ricky and Little Ricky were able to tag along as guests and they had a BLAST!
We weren't sure what to expect. Would it be uber-kid-friendly, but boring for the adults? Were we in for an afternoon of Barney music and the Wiggles?
As we walked in we were greeted by the sounds of Abba singing a little "Dancing Queen!" As the day progressed we heard "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge, "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang and Michael Jackson's "Thriller!" The music was all classic stuff from the 70's and 80's. This mommy was HAPPY!
But what made me the happiest was watching Little Ricky. As soon as he and my husband arrived he made a bee-line for the dance floor and boogied down! He danced, he clapped, he squealed in delight. He had an amazing time.
All I could think as I watched Little Ricky dance his little heart out was "never change." I know there will come a time when he is self-conscious. When the thought of doing a little solo in front of his peers may paralyze him with fear and self-doubt. When he may hang on the sidelines instead of jumping in and dancing with all of his might. And I want to do everything in my power as his mom to hold off that moment and if possible, make sure it never happens!
Last week Little Ricky and I had a date at the Chicago Children's Museum and as I watched him climb, paint, "drive" a bus and explore, I again got that "never change" feeling. That inquisitive nature that drives him to put everything in his mouth (okay, maybe that part can change!) turn every toy upside down to see how it works, to climb and run and holler is such a gift.
I look back on myself as a teen and remember my "whatever" stage. Where I was too cool for everything. I didn't care to question things. Duh, BORING! (Sorry, mom!)
WHY do we get that way? And what can I do as Little Ricky's mom to keep him singing, dancing and questioning as long as possible?
And so I work on my own insecurities. I dance in front of other people even though I feel like a fool. Each week in music class I am one of the loudest singers of the parents. Is this music in my range? Heck no! (And I apologize to the teacher and other parents!) But I want Little Ricky to sing his little heart out. And how can he learn to do that if he watches me hold back?
Now, I'm not naive. I know he will hit the teen years and I will get the eye rolls and the "whatevers", but I want to instill such curiosity and joy in him NOW that maybe that time will be short-lived. And when he outgrows that, I hope his need to explore life with utter abandon returns.
I want him to always feel the excitement of the music more than he feels his own insecurities. I want him to always feel free to express his joy and love without fear of what others are thinking.
The longer I do this mom thing the more I'm starting to think that is the best gift I can give him.