Embracing toddlerhood in all of its bedazzled, pop-star-inspired incarnations

Guest post by Mary

Noah breaking it dooown. Photo by Mary.
My foster son Noah dances like a bedazzled, hormone-charged pop star. His foray into mock super-stardom is very likely the result of being babysat all summer long with his hyper-girlie cousin who is six years old going on 16, and his four-year-old sister who emulates everything said older cousin does. Noah is regularly subjected to marathon sessions of trying to nail down the choreography in Miley Cyrus’s “Hoedown Throwdown” and other tween delights.

Just yesterday when picking him up from the babysitter I was forced to play an enthusiastically engaged audience while the girls put on their own version of Ed McMahon’s Star Search before they’d release Noah to me. The girls had their announcements, songs, and dances queued up and had cleared a section in the babysitter’s living room for a stage. Noah was just supposed to shake a maraca to get the beat going. I can tell you that he shook more than that. In fact, he took it upon himself to take center stage, pushing his older sister out of the way so that his dance routine would be on main display.

But I’m telling you, my boy’s got some moves. I mean like Britney Spears-style moves. Like Beyoncé moves. Okay, maybe he doesn’t dance that well but he’s only two, what do you expect? Still, he has got some booty shakin’, hip-jive moves. It’s like he’s channeling his inner Paula Abdul circa 1988.

Cue 8am this morning: I’m shuffling out the door schlepping diaper bag, laptop, purse, and holding onto Noah’s hand when a car drives down our street blasting some unrecognizable (but oh-so-familiar) hip-hop gem. My sweet, cuddly, gentle little boy instantly transforms into a dancing diva. It was as if a spotlight dropped from the sky, darkened the space around him, and turned our front porch into the Metropolitan. If he knew what moon walking was he probably would have done it.

So why did it take two years for this natural talent to emerge? Probably because my husband and I are music snobs who rarely indulge in any sweet, bubbly pop tunes. Noah’s new brand of dancing doesn’t accompany Wilco or Broken Social Scene all that well. It leads me to wonder whether we’ve been stifling Noah’s creativity all this time.

When Noah first came to live with us, at nine months old, I had visions of him moving swiftly along a perfect development arc. I envisioned him tackling his alphabet, 1-2-3s, and fine motor skills with ease. Our reality has been nothing like that, but I can say that he continually surprises me with his unadulterated wonder and zest for learning.

So I can say that at first I was horrified by Noah’s new-found hobby. Now I’d say the feeling is more akin to pride. I’m not sure whether he’s dancing because he knows it makes us laugh or if it really does make him happy. Regardless, in a world of homogenous toddler fancies like singing the ABCs or dancing to “I’m a Little Teapot,” Noah is carving out his own niche. He’s going Lady Gaga on us. And I’m embracing it.

You know… I’m considering getting him a pair of rhinestone encrusted dancing shoes for Christmas. You think they come in toddler sizes?

Comments on Embracing toddlerhood in all of its bedazzled, pop-star-inspired incarnations

  1. That’s wonderful! If they don’t make sparkly dance shoes in toddler sizes, there are always glue guns and bedazzlers.

  2. Love it!

    My soon-to-be 3yo nephew and I have a routine – whenever I come over he yells “Nikki!” and I yell “Garrett!” and we do our happy dance. If I want a hug I say, “Can I have a hug Garrett?” and he says “Yes!” and I say “All right!!!” and then we do another happy dance and then we hug. We sometimes even have “parties” in the living room or in his room where we dance around like maniacs.

    Since his mom is a former cheerleader and I’m a former dancer, it’s not too surprising he loves to dance!

  3. LOVE this! Parenthood has been all about embracing what I didn’t exspect and finding the joy in the non traditional for me. Sounds like Noah has a great home and a great mom. As for those shoes if you can’t find him a pair I have a hot glue gun we can put to good use.

  4. Thank you Mistie, Nikki, and Ariel for the kind words! Parenthood can be so challenging at times but the moments when we get to relax and relish in their development are priceless.

  5. I so love this! My offspring has always been into music. Like Noah his love for it emerged around age 2. But unlike Noah my son seems to go for Old School Rock, the stuff my mom raised me on. His faves include Elton John, Johnny Cash and Bob Segar to things I listened to in high school like Guns n Roses and Metalica! (He did bust a move when my lil sis played her pop & rap too!) Such a range for a 10 year old. HA! I love the idea of our little boys confidence that give us the strength to step outside our box! Congrats on the wonderful lil soul you are raising!

  6. so fun! i usually listen to NPR like a news zombie most of the day, but with my 1-year-old i channel-surf the stations. i like opera, classical, and the alternative station. he likes jazz, sort of the alternative station, and LOVES classic rock. i air-guitared to Iron Maiden one day when he was about 7 months old and he loved it, laughed and laughed. i think it made an impression!

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