Nice toes and naughty toes

Ah ballet class, the place where all parenting life meets looking slightly harassed on a Saturday morning.

Since mini-me has been prancing around pretty much since the day she could stand (actually from memory she sported a mean bottom wiggle before this too…) hubby and I reasoned that turning three was probably a good time for her to start a proper dance class.

We’ve heard from friends with slightly older children about the ‘joys’ of ferrying various offspring to football, drama, choir, gymnastics etc. etc. after school or on a weekend morning, a la an unpaid taxi firm.

Fortunately for us this is still ahead – which is just as well as weekly one of us still ends up careering into the village hall car park just after the one class we have to make it to has started. But we’re never alone thankfully, which I find nicely reassuring.

In fact sitting outside mini-me’s beginners’ ballet half-hour is a really good way to remind yourself we’re all in this parenting malarkey together. And you don’t even have to talk to anyone to draw this conclusion – merely pretend to read your book while actually eavesdropping.

(Am I the only one who does this?!)

There’s always at least one of us with ‘mum flu’, that is spluttering into a tissue trying to convince yourself and others that you’re not ill, just a bit grumpy.

There’s the usual array of children hanging off parents’ legs and demanding snacks, the ‘dulcet’ tones of Peppa and her pals playing on a loop on someone’s iPad and the sound of someone coaxing a small person to ‘please do a wee.’

Last week one of the dads was loudly telling his friend how glad he was that his son hadn’t yet professed a desire to start ballet with his sister, as it could have been quite awkward having the only boy in the class.

A mum was picking out tiles from a catalogue while discussing the merits of various colour options, and several of us were gazing with amazement at the pint-sized ballerina with hair her mother had clearly slaved over for the best part of half an hour.

We’re talking not one solitary hair out of place, a curled ponytail, colour-co-ordinating ribbon in exactly the right hue of purple and feathers for crying out loud.

I’ll bet I wasn’t the only one thinking I really must allow time for more than just brushing mini-me’s hair next week.

But the other thing we all have in common, and this to me is the sheer joy of my lovely girl’s ballet class, is the visible pride in watching our offspring practise ‘nice toes and naughty toes’, waiting patiently in line to show the teacher their butterfly run and tippy-toeing around the hall to classics such as ‘I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside.’

I love watching mini-me twirl and whirl with a delighted smile on her face as her little tutu floats behind her. I love her teeny yet perfect ballet slippers, and I love her uniform that has Royal Academy of Dance embroidered on the label.

Do I think she’ll grow up to be the next Darcey Bussell? Of course not, but it’s still nice to daydream for a few minutes.

Along with the other parents that is.

Coughing over the dilemma of ‘basic human rights’ (pre-kids)

The Neat Freak household is one full of sickness at the moment.

Mini-me has managed to take down everyone within a five mile radius with a particularly lovely hacking cough/streaming cold/ what I like to refer to as ‘cotton wool head’ combo. (So apologies if the following doesn’t make total sense!)

Poor blue-eyed boy is particularly stricken and looks so sorry for himself that it makes me want to cry. Horrible.

Having spent the weekend being sprayed with snot, tears and projectile vomit (don’t ask!) all this got me thinking about what it was like being ill before children. You know when you were actually allowed and had time to be ill.

I have vague memories of lying on the sofa with a selection of films to watch on telly and a ready supply of chocolate to hand, hubby checking in to see how I was and bringing home my favourite food for dinner.

Whereas now you’re lucky if you get time to swallow some pills to tackle your own temperature before donning your virtual nurses’ uniform and starting a seemingly never-ending shift of mopping brows, fetching juice, finding favourite Ben & Holly episodes, trying to coax little people to eat something, reaching for the Calpol, doing the fourth pyjama change of the day etc. etc.

Being ill is in fact one of those things you consider a ‘basic human right’ before having children. There are lots of others too…

*Drinking a hot drink while it’s still hot – some days I lose count of the number of times I re-boil the kettle. Either that or pretend to ‘enjoy’ my semi-cold, stewed cuppa that’s been sitting waiting 20 minutes for me with a piece of kitchen roll over the mug.

*Not dreading twice-daily teeth cleaning – this may of course not be universal but as mini-me has a hatred of brushing it’s become something I truly despise. Nothing like trying to clamp your daughter’s head in one position so you can clean her teeth as quickly as humanly possible after 15 minutes of trying to coax her into letting you do it in a less stressful fashion.

*Wearing stain-free clothes – It doesn’t matter how many aprons I use, how many muslins I attempt to hold up as a ‘human shield’ I still always seem to end the day speckled in food, formula, milk, mud and other unidentified substances.

*Being able to pee alone – God I miss ‘using the facilities’ without having to do any one of the following: Singing a selection of show tunes to provide ‘entertainment’ from behind the bathroom door, answering questions from behind the bathroom door, trying to pacify a screaming baby from behind the bathroom door, mini-me yelling ‘Mummy, I need a poo!’ from outside the bathroom door, taking mini-me and blue-eyed boy into the bathroom with me…

*Packing for every possible eventuality before leaving the house like some mad bag lady – I find this one is particularly enhanced by hubby nagging about why it takes me so long to get ready, and then later tutting because I didn’t think to bring a football, third change of clothes for blue-eyed boy, the kite, the preferred nappy cream, a wider selection of snacks and drinks etc. etc.

I’m sure there are many, many more of these. To be continued when my brain loses its current fuzzy status and returns to ‘normal’ – whatever that is…