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Best Ballet Class I Ever Bought

Cora and I have been enjoying our
twice-weekly Mommy and Cora Days: the days when Maddie’s in
school and Cora is not are set aside for fun only, and I work hard
to get my chores and errands done on other days so we can wallow in
each other’s company.

Most weeks this works well, but sometimes a wrench gets thrown in.
This week, I needed to be at Maddie’s school for half an hour
in the morning yesterday, and then had to spend time throughout the
morning getting chores done – food that needed to be cooked
before going bad, preparing a bag of games to bring with me to work
(Cora had to tag along because of tricky babysitting), that kind of
thing. Cora and I did have some great moments: we made banana bread
together – one of her all-time favorite things to do –
and went out to lunch and read books and snuggled a lot.

Then it came time for Cora to get ready
for her ballet class, and she was strangely resistant.
“Mommy, I don’t want to go to ballet today,” Cora

“Why not, baby? You love ballet!” I responded, puzzled.

“It’s just that there’s too much going on today,
and I’m too tired,” she prevaricated.

“Honey, you know, we made a commitment to ballet, and the
family rule is that we keep our commitments unless we’re
sick,” I said gently.

Cora burst into tears. “Well, I’m just going to miss
you too much! I just haven’t had enough Mommy time in a while
and you’re going to be so far away in ballet!”

I forget that, for all my baby’s extrovertedness and love of
hanging around other people, she’s still a four-year-old who
needs her mommy.

In our family, if you don’t want to do something to which
you’re committed, you have to get dressed for the event
– ballet, soccer, whatever – and go and watch. You
don’t have to play or take class, but you’ll sit on the
side and watch the whole time. And that’s exactly what Cora
did: she put on her tights and leotard and ballet shoes and sat in
my lap most of the class, just outside the door. She watched the
whole class, her incredibly understanding teacher talking to Cora
encouragingly every once in a while from inside the room. And the
longer the class went on, the more Cora stood up and hovered in the
doorway, watching the fun anxiously and doing some of it herself in
the hall. But as alluring as the sight was, it was never enough to
persuade her to leave me: she’d watch and dance a few
moments, then run right back to me and throw her arms tightly
around my neck.

Cora went through a huge separation anxiety phase a couple years
ago, but these days my baby’s not the neediest kid on the
block. So when this comes up I force myself to stop, to listen, to
really see her, and to pour into her. Cora and I spent the entire
pre-paid class snuggling and watching together, Cora occasionally
stroking my face or playing with my hair.

And it was worth every penny.


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