Our Kindermusik children are so fortunate. They get to spend 45 minutes every week with their special friends. I’m not talking about only their classmates. The real joy of Kindermusik is the one-on-one time that every child gets to spend with his or her loving caregiver. Just don’t assume that caregiver is always Mom. We have lots of Kindermusik children who are lucky enough to come to class with a Nanny, Granny or Dad. Why should Mom get to have all the fun? Kindermusik provides a guaranteed 45 minutes of time to connect and why can’t Mimi or Da-Da enjoy a little of that action?
Years ago, when I still taught elementary school music, I only offered afternoon and evening classes. At one point, I was so tired, I thought, “I’ll take that Tuesday 6 pm class off the schedule.” One of the Dads in that class begged and begged me, “Noooo! That’s my time with my baby.” He figured it out and I gladly conceded.
Similarly, many grandparents have figured out how to get their own special activity with their grandchild. They know how these first few years just fly by. And they would agree that it’s much more fun to be a grandparent!
And finally, we’ll tell you about our awesome neighborhood Nannies. They not only get those children to class, but have them dressed perfectly with matching hair accessories! No Nanny Diaries blues here. Kindermusik Nannies are the best.
But let’s start with our Dads. I really enjoy having a Dad in class. Children always gravitate to the Dads. They’re instant celebrities. This past spring, one of our big-boy twins, Isaac, decided that class was much more fun with Alexandra’s dad. He pretty much waved goodbye to his Mom from the moment he saw this Dad. Indeed, they had a blast and Alexandra was kind enough to share.
Another memory was Agnes’ Dad, Sunday. Agnes was in my first group of Kindermusik families 15 years ago! Her Dad, Sunday, came with Agnes, and later Jane and Isaac. With all 3 children, Sunday was the clear hands down favorite of any Dad I’ve ever had in Kindermusik. He didn’t have to do much except walk into the room and whoosh! Like a magnet, the children flocked to his lap.
Dads are always aware of the reality of how challenging it is to care for a child, whether full time or just for an hour. As Josey’s Dad once said, “This is the hardest job I’ve ever had or ever will have!”
We have quite a few stay-at-home Dads and I salute their confidence coming into a room full of children and women talking about smocks, monogramming and playgroups. But that’s just the start of it. We start pulling out scarves and dancing on our tiptoes. It takes a confident man to do Kindermusik!
We have lots of Dads who pop in, alongside mom, or Dads who take their lunch hour to come to Kindermusik. They always agree with me: Kindermusik is MUCH more fun than working.
And during late afternoon classes and Saturday mornings, we often have lots of Dads joining in the fun. I especially love my Saturday Dads. I tease them–a year or two ago, would they have imagined that they’d be spending their Saturday mornings in a room full of babies, dancing with scarves, doing the polka, and Skipping to My Lou? Oh, but you know they love it. Just this past Saturday, we were doing Rig-A-Jig-Jig with the babies. (Hold the baby in one arm and “skip”, then partner with another adult/child, hook elbows, and swing your partner.) Well, I caught two Dads swinging their partner during the independent verse. They were just having too much fun.
But if there’s anything our Dads have brought to Kindermusik, it’s the sanctity of Rest Time. When I first began teaching Kindermusik, we did not include a “do-nothing” rest song as we now do. Of course, we all understand the importance of this ritual now, both in giving the children’s brains and bodies a chance to recover and also the adult’s a chance to take a deep breath. So back in 1998, when our curricula were revised and rest time was added, we weren’t quite sure what to do when we were supposed to “do nothing.” Alas, Dads to the rescue. If anyone knows how to rest, it’s a Kindermusik Dad. I remember all too clearly, my Tuesday evening group, almost entirely Dads. When rest time came upon us, they took it seriously. No chit chat, no worrying that their child wasn’t relaxed, they just did collapsed. And it worked! The children always followed. I think everyone in classes now owes a huge thank you to the Dads who showed us how to rest.
Please share your memories of your favorite Kindermusik Dads (maybe even the one right there in your own house).