When I was pregnant, everybody asked me if we knew what we were having.
Um… a baby?
In all seriousness, for the longest time, I thought Soren was a girl. Even right up until the delivery. Even after seeing clear testicles on an ultrasound still.
A lot of people would say to me, ‘Aw, if you get a girl, you can do ballet lessons! SO cute!”
I loved the idea of baby ballet. The calming music, the listening skills, the flexibility, and the gorgeous outfits.
But – I felt that I could enjoy that with a little boy, too. So when I realised I could sign him up at Queensland Ballet from the ripe old age of one year, I did exactly that. I thought it would just be an easy class with some sing-alongs and a bit of “dancing”, facilitated by the parents.
I thought there’d be time to chat and relax with the other Mums.
When I turned up, the class was full of two-year-olds who could already jump, spin, turn, and follow instructions.
So here I was with my 13kg chunk, jumping like a kangaroo, twirling like a jellyfish, sleeping like a dingle dangle scarecrow… definitely not relaxing or chatting.
It turned out to be a workout for me as much as him! Which was fine, because he absolutely loved every second of it… until he was asked to sit still on his dot.
Because the rest of the students in the class had proper leotards and shoes, I decided to go shopping to get him the outfit so he could look the part. I had to research quite a few shops to find shoes small enough, and when I got there, I noticed that there was floor-to-ceiling displays of everything dance – and everything hyper-girly.
Shoes, bags, outfits, hair accessories… the lot. Then I looked over to the corner. The boys’ section had been relegated to one tiny place in the store.
Unlike the girls’ section, which offered hundreds of products, the boys’ section had just a small offering.
Not one to be discouraged, I dressed Soren up and he started shaking his bum as soon as he was in the outfit.
His joy did plant a thought in my head, though. It is so challenging to be the only one doing something. He is likely to always be the only boy in ballet class. It would be a shame if he ever gave it up, just because it’s not popular with boys.
I wish I had the answers. I just hope and pray that as he gets older, he sees his uniqueness as a strength rather than a weakness. I can only keep on encouraging him and hope he remains true to what he enjoys doing.
That’s all we can hope for our children.