Yellow Farmhouse; White Rocking Chair

By Kayleigh Rahn
Nora started dance class this week. 

We know she is only 2, but we have no intentions of creating a prima donna. 

In all honesty, the agreement to begin dance was the result of a weeks long hostage situation. 

It started last fall with the idea of potty training. We thought she was ready; I thought I was prepared; daycare was on board. We were so naïve. 

I’d read several blog posts from parents who trained their 18 month old in 48 hours. “Anyone can do it,” they said. “Communication and dedication is key,” they stated. What could possibly be so hard?

Lies. All of it. Fallacy, myths, and more lies. If these tips worked for you, I’m thrilled for your wellbeing. But I learned quickly this was not a one-size-fits-all situation. Until you’re four days in the trenches of accidents and tantrums you don’t know true exhaustion and desperation. 

Prior to my intervention, Nora was showing all the traditional signs of “being ready.” She was verbal about her wet diaper, and she chose to remove her own diaper when it was no longer comfortable. However, our girl was simply not ready.

So, after several rounds of tears from Nora (and maybe her Mama), we gave in. We talked about potty training enough, but she was not ready. 

Weeks later we tried again. And failed again. And tried again. Then failed again. 

We tried books near her potty, letting her run the roost in the buff, and skipping pull ups altogether going straight for pretty princess undies. We even resorted to bribery. One potty could land Miss Nora several M&Ms in colors of her choosing. However, she wasn’t buying it.  Our livewire was on to us. She would not be bought with mere chocolate. 

In later weeks we purchased a Potty Watch, a wristband that resembles a watch that has a timer on it. A parent can set the timer to “sing” a potty song after so many minutes to let your recruit know when to march to the bathroom to try to go. I was willing to try about anything, and Amazon promised two-day shipping. 

However, we can chalk that up to another fail. When I opened the package with an excited little girl ready to wear her new watch, the band was blue, not pink as promised. This was a mix up my potty trainee found to be of the highest offense.

In the midst of these trying times, nonstop Nora started doing somersaults. They weren’t pretty, but she was consistent and proud. We melted each time she successfully flipped and proclaimed she was practicing her ‘nastics (gymnastics).

As she continued to flip through the house, William and I realized we had a key bargaining chip. 

After another couple weeks’ hiatus from the torturous training routine, we had our ploy. 

If she started using the potty, she could begin gymnastics.

Her eyes lit up, and we knew it was go time.

Literally. 

She was committed, and we had her back. Within days she had it down and hasn’t had an accident since June. (Knock on wood.)

For a while we thought maybe she would move on from the idea of gym class. She’s 2 for crying out loud. What toddler demands enrollment in an organized activity. 

My 2 year old, that’s who. She was potty trained. She delivered; now it was time for us to pay up.

We began researching gym classes that fit into our work schedules and budget; however, at her age it’s tough to find a resource.

We tried waiting her out. It’s not that we wouldn’t move and heaven and earth for this kid. It’s just… making an hour round trip for a toddler gym class seemed a bit much for our schedules. (And, parents, if that is you, by all means live that life to the fullest, and we cast no judgment. However, William’s and my priorities look a bit different at this stage, and that’s OK, too      .)

We tried to put off the idea until Nora woke up one day and proclaimed she wanted to be a ballerina just days after I caught word that a new dance studio was opening a block from my office. 

Timing couldn’t have been better. 

So Tuesday night, Nora earned the opportunity to attend her first dance class. 

She couldn’t wait to wear her “fancy dancey” outfit and head into the studio. I’ll update later with how the class goes. However, I can’t help but think that Miss Maddy has her work cut out for her with a 2-3-year-old class. 

I imagine it will be much like herding cats, but in all honesty, I’m fine with that. 

I don’t anticipate Nora being a lead dancer or even making dance a large part of her life. I only hope she simply has fun, makes friends, and learns to stand in line. 

That’s it. Nothing more. 

If she works on flexibility and balance and picks up a couple counts to a dance sequence, the experience will have blown away my expectations.

For the next few months we are officially dance parents, and you’ll know where you can find us on Tuesday nights. 

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