Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I just recalled a moment from my dancing days.

I was sitting in the hallway outside the studio where I was teaching a ballet class. I didn't usually teach this particular class, but I did assist. Today the teacher had called in sick. She had actually confided in me that she was pregnant, but it was a secret for now. The girls I would be teaching were sitting with me against the wall, chattering amongst themselves. They were smart, ages 8-9, and had already guessed their teacher's condition. They were only waiting for her to verbally confirm it.

On the wall opposite, a line of moms were squatting as well, some with youngsters, waiting for their children's class to finish.

One particular little boy waiting in the hall was probably 2 years old. He was getting restless, and was toddling around in a circle between the two rows of people. His mom kept calling to him to come back and sit down, but she was also distracted by the conversation she was having with another parent. The boy knew this, and kept wandering back and forth.

He decided to wander up to me. The boy looked me dead in the eye and glared. He squinted up his face and nailed me with the stink-eye pretty hard.

Now, I was seventeen and not in a "I'm the grown-up one" mode. I had been a part-time nanny for three silly girls for several years, so I was fluent in the language of kid. This one was daring me to be horrified at his boldness to unexpectedly stare down a stranger.

I was not horrified. I was tired and comfortable with my familiar surroundings, as I had been sitting in this hallway everyday.

I glared straight back, opened my mouth, and growled. Then I stuck my tongue out.

His mouth dropped open and his eyes opened wide. I then figured that this kid was spoiled rotten and no one had ever defied his death-glare before in his young life.

He stared at me for about 3 full seconds, and I stared back. The girls sitting around me started elbowing my sides and leaning forward to catch my eye.

Then his Mom snapped us both out of the moment, calling his name in a horrified octave.

I looked up and saw that she was looking right at her child, and from her expression, I knew that she had seen the whole thing.

The boy slowly turned, his face returning to it's normal state as he shrugged off the incident as little kids do. He toddled back to his mom and stumbled into her open arms.

The girls who had been trying to get my attention now had it, and I saw that they had noticed the mom watching before I had. They were cracking up now at my look of indifference. "Ms. Jenny!" They howled, "He was a little kid!"

I shrugged my shoulders, "Well, he started it!"

They laughed at how their teacher had no idea how to be a grown-up outside of the studio, and patted me affectionately on my arms and shoulders. "Oh, Ms. Jenny."

The moms were now avoiding looking at me. I was watching the little boy though, and he was peering back at me from his mom's comforting arms. He smiled at me, wide. What a flirt. I rolled my eyes and smiled back.

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