Both of my kiddos take "dance class" this year. Maya takes a Saturday morning class for 2 year olds. They have to wear full ballet gear (pink ballet shoes, pink tights, and a pink leotard). I was skeptical at first. 2 year olds? Really? But Maya loves to go to places full of kids so, since pre-school was out of our price range this year, I put her in dance class. SHe LOVES it beyond belief. The first day, when other kids cried or clung to mom and dad, Maya marched right in and got busy. They don't exactly get a lot of dancing done but the 45 minute class is full of great activities. They learn to follow directions, do things in a group, and pay attention to a teacher. The very very early stages of dance are introduced - toe pointing, leg lifting, "arms like a pizza pie". Maya cries when it is time to leave. I am sure that any recital they do will be ridiculous (did I mention they are 2?)but she is learning a lot along the way.
THe biggest issue I have with it is what to do with Sam while Maya is in there. The first day, he did a beautiful job listening to his earphones and eating a snack. Last week was a disaster. There is a door at the end of the hallway with an alarm on it. . . Luckily for me the owner took Sam into one of the other studios and let him run around. I ran to the bathroom to try not to cry in front of the other parents. As I have said many times, Sam has NO appropriate interests so I can't bring him a game, a puzzle, a handheld video game or anything like that. I told my husband that I really need him to work his Saturday schedule out so that he can either stay home with Sam or take Maya to class. We are getting to the point where I really can't do all this alone anymore. My husband is not used to having much more responsibility than getting Sam on the bus in the morning. All other times, including weekends, it is assumed I will be responsible for the kids. Now that they are staring to do things outside the house I need him to fugure out how to be more involved.
Sam also takes dance class. The owner is an amazing person. A few years ago a mother with two autistic daughters approached him and asked if he would consider doing anything for autistic kids. She was having a hard time finding anything in which she could enroll her kids outside of school. The Beyond Boundries class was born. There is one teacher but some of the other adults that work there and some of the students who dance there help out so, usually, each kids has a one-to-one "aide". I signed Sam up because the owner of the school is my neighbor. I really didn't think it would work out. We tried sample classes over the summer and Sam was way to hyper to participate in any of it. But I signed up anyway. As the start date grew near I began to doubt whether this was worth the time or the money. I was ready to quit before we even started. The first class was as ridiculous as I expected. Sam put everything in his mouth and ran around the room like a madman. The second class was pretty much the same but he did clap his hands and sway a few time. Today was our third class and Sam did great. He is still nowhere near the level of participation the other kids demonstrate but the difference from the first day until now is huge. Sam jumped with the music a few times, kicked the pad when instructed, swayed back and forth with his aide (the owner). Much of the time Sam looked spacey and confused but there were a few moments when he actually seemed engaged. I think we will stick with it for a while.