One of the first things I remember our music teacher telling the class was, “It’s okay for your child to run around in here, as long as she’s not endangering herself or anyone else. That’s the way she learns.” I knew she was speaking to me in particular as well as to the group in general because, at that moment I was trying to figure out how I would corral Cora within the not-so-wide-open but big-enough-to-run-around-in room where we meet, and I’m sure it was written all over my body.
Cora settled into the class for awhile but for the past few weeks, she’s been treating much of our time there like a track meet. She has a routine she’s been working through. During “The Hello Song” she runs back and forth across the room, through the center of the circle formed by all the singing mothers and children. She spends the next song running around the circumference of the circle. Then she does sprints from the middle of the circle to the one sunlit corner of the room. Last week, another boy joined her in the corner during one of her rest breaks. They stood with their backs against the wall, surveyed the group, and then started giggling and running around together. I sensed his mother felt he had fallen under Cora’s bad influence, until he started hugging and kissing her. That evened the field out a bit. We were united as the parents of the deviant kids.
This past week was the same story. Only this time, Cora added a high-pitched screech to the mix. I tried to reach out and pull her into the circle a few times as she whizzed by me. She couldn’t decide if I was playing around with her or trying to get her to stop running, but either way, my efforts only made her scream louder. This hardly seemed better. I thought about taking her out of the room and talking to her, but she’s still a bit young for reasoning. So I went back in my mind, for the umpteenth time, to Leigh’s comments on the first day of class: That’s the way she learns. That’s the way she learns. That’s the way she learns.
Cora knows the words to all the songs we are singing in class. She sings them day and night. The only time she doesn’t seem to sing them is in class. I’m not really sure what that’s about. I wish she would sing and dance for the other mothers and their children. I wish they could hear how well she can mimic the flow of the music, holding the longer notes and clapping her hands to the beat. Instead, I feel like they are glaring at me and wondering why I bother to bring my kid to the classes just to run around.