There are a lot of firsts happening this time of year.  First back pack, first lunch box, first day at school, first ride on a bus…  The Dunlaps are no exception.  Bodie had his first solid food and Carter had his first dance class.  I should not these pics are taken with my 5 year old point and shoot.  I’m sure the other photographers that follow my blog can relate, but when you’re juggling 2 kids, it’s hard to juggle the “big” camera as well.

Up first is Bodie.  He’s 5 months old now and showing signs of being ready, so we started solids on Friday!  We started with avocados.  What’s funny is neither Richie nor I like avocados.  Blech.  But, they are nutritionally dense and contain good fats, so I tried to my best to control my gag reflex.   This is a recent snapshot with my “big” camera of the handsome man.

But, when confronted with his first dose of “obnoxious on board flash” this is what happened.

Prior to this above photo, he’d been smiling and laughing.  …and THIS, my friends, is why I hate on board flash.  Well, there are many reasons, but this is just one of them.  Thanks to the shutter lag, the adorable smiling and laughing was replace by the deer in the headlights look.  Nice, eh?

Anywho.  Onto the solids. He did great.  No tongue thrust issues, and did really well!  I don’t think avocados are a fave, but he didn’t cry and spit them out either.  Here he is trying his first bite.  Notice the same “oh crap that flash is bright” look.  Ahh… love it.

And after.  A pretty happy boy!  Great job, Bodie!!

Up next is Carter.  He had his first dance class yesterday.  As many of you know, I am a ballet teacher as well.  This is my 17th year teaching.  I teach at Stage Door Studios.  There just happens to be a class for 3 year olds the hour before I start teaching on Mondays.  Perfect.  It’s a class that is half dance and half tumbling.  This is also Carter’s first foray into a classroom setting.  It’s precisely why he’s in it. I want him to learn to listen to other adults, take turns, interact, and some basic movement for coordination.  This class was such a little blessing!  We talked the whole way to the studio on being a good listener, following directions, and the fun he was going to have.  He asked at every stoplight if we were at “dance cass” (no L) yet.

Miss Jill Lynch (director of Stage Door) teaches the class.  She’s got about as much experience teaching as I do.  She has two pristinely dressed assistants with their hair neatly back in a bun.  Ready to lead the class and demonstrate to the best of their ability too.

We arrive at the studio just in time to walk into class.  It was my goal to be there about 10 minutes early, but thanks to the crazy rain yesterday, we were a bit delayed in our travels.  We walked in just as Miss Jill was cheerfully leading the students back to class.  I quickly ripped Carter’s shoes and sock off, ushered him past the waiting room full of younger siblings, parents and there paraphernalia back to his classroom.  I said “have fun in dance class” and he started to well up with tears.  I gave him a reassuring hug and closed the door.  The crying started.  Great.  First day and the ballet teacher’s kid is the crier.   He stopped the crying almost immediately and went to hang out in the back of the room when the rest of the class was in their “hello circle” to greet each other.  No problem, some kids need some time to adapt.  Jill (a very wise woman) installed a security like camera and has the feed on a large flat screen tv in the lobby.  She knows if she didn’t she’d have at least a dozen parents peering in through the small sliver of a window in the door.  Well, that’s what the parents have done for the past 2 years anyway.

Next, comes time to go across the floor.  The assistants demonstrated how they would do their chassee’s (like gallops) across the floor.  Not Carter.  He stood firmly attached to the back of the room.  He wasn’t to be shaken.  Maybe stubbornness is a trait I can later put on his CV?  I’m hoping so, because his is legendary.   Then the kids started their battements (like big kicks).  This is when it got good.  Carter darted from the back of the room to the front and then back again.  Oy.  He wasn’t just not participating, he was being a distraction.  A sweet assistant went over to talk to him.  Heh.  Good luck, dearie.  But, he didn’t run again, so I guess what they did worked.

Jill breaks out the stars and places them on the floor (these are placemarkers on the floor for the kids to stand on).  When they stand on their star they get a scarf to begin the next exercise.  Not my kid.  He picks up his star and throws it frisbee style “Wheeee” towards the back of the room ::slaps forehead in a Homer Simpson like way:: DOH!  Jill begins the exercise and they are practicing with the scarves all the while learning lessons about dancing lightly.  Yeah.  Not my kid.  He’s using his star instead.  Oops.

Next, he refused to stretch with his blue teddy bear.  Nope.  His teddy sat there unaccompanied.  At this point Richie has arrived and is laughing with me.  Ahhh, parenthood.

Then it comes time for beanbags.  This has Carter’s interest peaked.  Every kid scurries to their star and stands nicely and Jill places a beanbag on their head to see if they can balance it (for fun of course).  Carter rushes to Miss Jill and she mimes toward the star.  He needs to stand on his star to get his beanbag.   He quickly does so and she places it on his head.  (patience of Job she has, I tell ya)  They begin the exercise having fun on all the places they can balance their bean bag.  Carter begins dancing… FINALLY!!  30 minutes into the class, but he’s dancing!  She balances it on her foot and raises her foot up effortlessly, and Carter attempts to mimic.  He places it on his foot, only to lift it and to fling it across the room.  Oops.  Not exactly the desired effect we were going for there, champ.

They began tumbling, and I think this class was more a lesson in patience for Miss Jill and her assistants than anything.

At the end of the class, I asked Jill to pose with Carter for a quick snapshot.  Again, with the point and shoot.  Notice Carter’s expression that says “you didn’t notice I didn’t really participate, did you?”.  That Jill is quickly on her way to being canonized a saint.

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