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?