By Guest Blogger Melanie Vaughn

We’ve all heard the saying “Kids say the darndest things”. Well, running a dance studio, I can attest that this is a true statement. It’s fun being a part of so many kids’ lives and watching them grow up. Seeing them become young ladies and gentlemen and explore their own self-identity as well. I have to admit though, so many times, tiny dancers will keep you on your toes. You have to remember though, it doesn’t matter how much parents or you may find your jokes hilarious, kids won’t find things funny and stare at you with utter confusion. Possibly more confusion than a dance step you ask them to do.

Kids remember everything and I do mean everything. This means, if you always wear your hair a certain way and then change it, they will take notice. One of our teachers wore the most beautiful braids, and one day decided to take them out and get a perm. The first thing these kids said was “Why did you change your hair?!” and my ultimate favorite, “You are one step closer to being bald now”.

For myself, I’m currently expecting my son this August. Every day the questions come, “Why did you eat your baby?” or “Why did you have a boy, I want it to be a girl?” or the infamous, “I drew a picture of you” alas the circle on my body with a finger pointing to show “I made your belly a huge circle because you are really big”. As if hormonal changes weren’t enough for me, I am reminded I remind children of their shapes they learn in school.

Older dancers are slowly transitioning into dressing in leotards and tights for ballet and then other clothes for their other style of dance. One tiny dancer made her way out in her dance top and luckily I stopped her as she had only her tights on her lower half. I quickly kept her from walking out and straightened her up with a pair of extra dance shorts. “But my mommy says my leggings are tights”. Note to self… let kids know that opaque pink tights need to have a leotard or remind them to put shorts over them. Be sure to emphasize the point that tights and leggings are not the same thing.

With preschoolers, we take those little butterflies when we sit and stretch and we are all different kinds of colors and travel to different places. I doubt my top choice has been the same as my children. You’ll hear Disneyworld, The Beach, The Park and last but not least…. “My bathtub” with a confident toothless grin. It wasn’t the top of my travel places, but here we are.

I can’t forget the ‘pizzas’ we make with our stretches. We could have the possibility of putting cheese, pepperoni, or sausage on our pizza, but for some reason, “My grandpa’s socks, eyeballs, and boogers” are what they want. I think the pizza’s may have gotten lost in the garbage and these kids scramble to get them.

Every year, we experience the joys of the Nutcracker. We’re going into our 10th season of Nutcracker Tea, and every year we read the story followed by some of our older dancers performing. The older dancers put in hours of time to prepare pieces, but to younger dancers, time is of the essence. As I explain each Nutcracker section, they always provide commentary. “Clara visits the Land of the Sweets. On her way she stops in Arabia and visits the Arabian Princess with Coffee…”, I began. Quickly interrupted with gags and “Why didn’t she want ice cream?” or “I don’t wanna watch this one. I want a funny one”. Ah, ballet exposure at it’s finest. They don’t mind the snacks and crafts, but for the Land of the Sweets, I think they need more treats and less coffee, tea, and flowers.

In all honesty, I truly love these kids beyond words. Kids are so honest, genuine, and pure. You can make stern faces at them or provide the harsh ‘mom tone’ to gather control, but you will never have these memories replaced. They could be in college or high school and be completely different children, but remind them of one story, they will know the impact you made on them is just as strong as the one they made on you.

The funny stories will always touch my heart and remind me that not everyone gets the luxury of loving their job the way I do. Nobody will ever have a job where they have hundreds of kids accidentally call you mom or feel you are a mom away from home. Nobody will ever have a job where they are surrounded by love and laughter the way I do. Long live kids! Let them warm your heart with laughter!

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