I took Willow to a music class today. For a three month old? Yes, I also wonder about the utility. But it was a free class and I had nothing better to do. So I thought I might as well try it.
With River, we shied away from enrolling him in any classes. I was doubtful of the long-term impact they would have and I figured I’d rather save the money and allow him to take classes when he’s older and more able to clearly get something from them. Also, up until age 2 or 3 is the only time I have to control the language environment. During that time, I prefer to not expose my kids to any more English than is necessary. If such classes were available in Spanish, I would consider them. But not in English.
Willow did seem to enjoy the class though, as much as a three-month old can enjoy anything. She smiled, she seemed to listen to and to note the beats, she seemed to feel comfortable. But did she enjoy it any more than she would have enjoyed an hour of focused attention from me at home, or some songs on the radio? I don’t know.
Does the class really benefit kids when they are so young? Does it make neural connections that wouldn’t be formed otherwise, or does giving her plenty of varied sensory experiences do the same thing? If it doesn’t have an effect, I’d feel like a sucker for wasting the money. If it does have an effect, I’ll feel bad for denying her the opportunity.
I can definitely see how joining such a class could be in the parent’s interest. It’s more fun to get together with some people than it is to sit at home for an hour. It’s a good opportunity to meet people, to get out of the house, to see what is ahead developmentally in the next few months, to see how your baby is doing compared to others (Willow, in the 90th percentile for weight at her last appointment, was a chunker compared to the other 3-month old, in the 5th-10th percentile, there. The difference was stark).
I did meet one mother, the mom of the other 3-month old, who I really liked and hope I’ll run into her again. But in general, these classes tend to attract people who are really gung-ho about providing their kids with every possible thing and spending whatever it takes to do it. They also tend to be better put-together and more uber-organized than me. All of this makes me feel anxious.
I left the house with a stroller and my wallet, nothing else, not even a diaper. I was the only one there who didn’t bring a blanket (really, a blanket is needed?) but someone else had thought to pack two and let me borrow one. Another person had a noise machine in her bulging diaper bag.
I marveled at how several of them were able to fit into fashionable clothes, to put on makeup, to fix their hair, and to have their babies in coordinated outfits. I’m not there yet, and if I don’t go to a class like this, I don’t have to worry about not being there yet. Willow doesn’t care.