I'm 34 years old and still pretty uncomfortable making goofy movements in public. There are a few exceptions, at weddings I'll bust out early ‘90s dance moves like I'm on MTV and I'll flap my arms like a bird or gallop like a horse at the library's drop-in toddler story time.
Once a week, parents or caregivers and a bunch of hyper toddlers congregate in a small room to listen to stories, dance and generally shake our music makers. It's before noon, everyone has coffee breath, our shoes are off and I'm sweating. It's like yoga, but with more talking and less farting.
Toddler story time could easily be renamed, "Intimacy with Strangers; Doing ridiculous things in front of people you've never met."
Sometimes we clank sticks together, bust out egg shakers and sing stuff. Last week, we slapped our knees, noses and heads in time with the music. On one side of me was my daughter and the other side was another mom I've never met in my life. Without making eye contact we focused on our kids. What kind of example would I set if I sat in the corner sipping my latte, however compelling that sounds?
After we mercifully stopped slapping and stomping, it was time to dance. I enjoy dancing like a lunatic in my living room with my family, but I find it hard to bust out my moves surrounded by barefooted Sea to Sky mothers. It's also tough to get lost in a song about the weather. Just saying.
We all danced and pretended to be into it while occasionally glancing at each other as if to ensure we were displaying the correct amount of enthusiasm. Showing too little makes you seem uptight and no fun, while showing too much causes other moms to fear that they are in the presence of a nervous breakdown. It's the crazy-eyed hysteria before the meltdown.
At this point I'm sweating, literally. I feel like I've found a Zumba class for toddlers. Meanwhile my daughter is rocking out, clapping, stamping, and wiggling like no one is watching. She doesn't care about her enthusiasm level or cool factor. She let that slide after insisting on her polka shirt, striped pant outfit combination.
Give my daughter a few sticks and she'll clank those things like she's in the Macy's Day parade. She's not sweating, she's literally glowing.
When did I lose my inhibitions? Maybe it was in kindergarten when some little snot-nosed kid made fun of my shoes. Or perhaps it was that pimply yearbook photo in junior high school.
While watching my daughter dance and sing incoherently like she's on a karaoke stage, I suddenly had the urge to bottle up her enthusiasm. How can I ensure this aspect of her personality never changes? I never want her to lose it. I hope she dances like nobody is watching all the way through life.
In that moment I tried to forget about the other barefoot moms and my insecurities. I danced, clapped and wiggled with the intensity of a toddler. No nervous breakdowns here, just a moment in time when my daughter taught me something about living it up, toddler style.
So don't be concerned if you see me flapping my arms like a bird at the grocery store while my daughter sings. We are just living in the moment.
Check out www.mountainmama.ca for more musings on motherhood in the Sea to Sky Corridor.