No Harm Done

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Further Explanation on the Exhaustion

We’re all feeling more human after lounging around the house this past weekend. It took several days of sleeping in and napping, and, on the whole, I think we’ve recovered nicely.

This has been a very busy year for all of us, and we’re gearing up for a flurry of activity in April and May. I’m considering hiring another woman to be me on a part-time basis so that I can keep up.

I haven’t really written about our added activity too much because some of M.’s co-workers occasionally read this blog, and it kind of embarrassed him. So we’ve kept it quiet, and have not even hinted at it to close friends and family. But it’s getting to the point where it won’t be easy to hide any more, and – doggone it- I’m very proud and want everyone to know!

So, I’m sorry M. Maybe you can distract those co-workers with something shiny for a while.

Colson has always been a dancer. Always. Here he is at age three, dancing at a family wedding.

I have video from when he is a toddler, dancing to a Milli Vanilli song I had playing. Odds are, if there’s music somewhere, Colson will be moving to it.

In our Christmas letter to friends and family (the letter which I’ve only just now realized that I forgot to post on this blog), I mentioned how Colson, after months of asking Daddy for permission, finally began taking tap dancing lessons. Once a week he braves a sea of girls in pink with princess dreams in order to learn how to dance. He’s not terribly good at it yet. I think it’s because there are so many steps and balance issues. Or maybe it’s because he spends so much time listening to the taps on his shoes that he forgets what he’s doing. It’s not terribly manly, and that bothers M.

But the source of our exhaustion started last spring, actually.

Last May we drove to the big city for their Cinco de Mayo celebration. We’d never taken the boys to anything like that before, and since Braden was learning Spanish we thought it would be fun.

After exploring some of the vendors we bought some food and settled on the grass in front of a bandshell to listen to a band play salsa/merengue music while we ate. At one point the musicians asked for children to volunteer to come up on the stage and be “helpers.”

Colson waved his hands wildly, which, as every child knows, is the absolute best way to get someone’s attention, and he went up onstage to learn how to salsa.

Salsa is a tough dance to learn. It’s got a sort of syncopated rhythm that is hard to latch onto. Anyone who ever danced with me when I lived in Costa Rica will tell you that I never got the hang of it.

The children onstage looked like puppies chasing their tails! Just. So. Cute! I wish I had thought to bring my camera, because those kids were all adorable!

But Colson was actually very good. He didn’t have all the movements quite correct, but he picked up the rhythm, and shimmied his little hips as his arms did some sort of odd, serpentine motion that (I think) was meant to help him keep his balance. He was having such a great time, and was in his own little world as he “shook it all out” on that stage.

As the song was winding down, the band members had noticed him, and began playing a little faster to see if he could keep up. He did! At the very end, Colson simply collapsed in laughter.

After the show, one of the musicians came over to talk to M. about Colson. It came out in the conversation that the musicians play for a local Latin dance group that is always looking for boys to participate. Apparently they had many girls dancing but it was hard to convince the boys to give it a try.

Well, we attended a couple of the classes in the big city. It turns out that Colson has kind of a natural talent for Latin dance. He picks it up quickly, and feels the Latin rhythms almost intuitively. We decided to commit to this dance group. This meant a 45 minute drive each way, two times a week. What was I thinking?

Late last summer Colson and his partner began competing in some local ballroom competitions. (Poor M!)

Not many – just two. But it meant buying costumes, which was troublesome on a couple of levels.

1. Can someone please make dance costumes for boys that are remotely manly? Please?

2. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find flared-leg Latin dance pants for a size 6 boy? In the Midwest? Augh! I cannot count the number of dance stores we called or visited, nor can I begin to estimate the number and variation of facial expressions on salespeople as I carefully explained what we were looking for. Once we finally located a pair of size six black elastic fabric boys Latin dance pants online, I told Colson that he could never grow, as there was no guarantee that I could find another pair of these pants in a larger size.

This fall Colson and his partner joined the dance troupe that performs locally. It’s very low-key, but also exciting for a six year old. He loves performing, and gets a kick out of all the attention. He and his partner are the only children in the group, so they get a lot of people talking to them after each performance.

Nearly all of the musicians and dancers are Hispanic, so Colson is learning a lot of Spanish, as well. One of the first phrases he learned was the classic, “Where is the bathroom?” But he can also say such phrases as “Pardon me. May I please borrow your sombrero?”, “My, but you’re a pretty little senorita!”, and “Just a soda, please. I’m underage.”

This June, the group has the opportunity to perform their folkloric dances in Mexico, at the Auditorio Municipal in Ciudad Juarez.

We’re all planning to go. It’s adding some motivation to our homeschool Spanish lessons. Colson is preparing for the Customs agents by learning how to say “I am carrying neither firearms nor fruit” and ‘I have nothing to declare.”

Just this weekend we learned that our troupe is scheduled to perform in Brazil at the 2011 Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro! I can hardly wait! I’m planning for us all to go. M. is against it, but I’m working on him.

How on earth am I going to find a samba costume in Omaha?


At 10:27 AM , Anonymous Lisa Porter said...

Love your post. Can't wait to see the pictures! :)

At 4:13 PM , Blogger JAM said...

I always knew the boy had hidden talents! How exciting! But can he really do the Paso Doble?

At 9:34 AM , Blogger Laney said...



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