The Things We Do For Our Children

Ever have one of those things where someone just walks into a room and immediately classes the place up? Well, that’s what Mary Widdicks from Outmanned ( has done here. She’s taken the sub-par, literary equivalent of a dingy trailer park that I usually write, and temporarily turned Daddy Anarchy into something classy. Do yourself a favor and check out her website. She’s one of the best writers out there!

The Things We Do For Our Children- by Mary Widdicks
As a parent, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my children. However, some days it’s harder than others to keep that promise. Today, thanks to a very hairy hipster, was one of those challenging days.

My youngest son loves music, and has since the day he was born. Anytime he fussed we could turn on some music and he would quiet down within minutes. It didn’t matter what song or what genre of music as long as it was loud. Plus, it drowned out the sound of his screaming until the calming effect took hold, so it was win-win situation. As soon as he was old enough to hold objects in his hands he started making sounds: he’d shake rattles, bang spoons on the floor, clang toys together, and, of course, screech at an annoyingly loud volume.

In an attempt to encourage and explore his love of rhythm, I signed him up for a local baby music class. I was also hoping he might get some of it out of his system so I wouldn’t have to listen to him hone his “skills” all day long. My older son had shown no interest in music classes as a baby, so I wasn”t very familiar with process, but I jumped in with both feet. I dropped the three year old off with a baby sitter and turned up at 9:00am sharp with bells on. Ok, not literally with bells on; I figured they’d probably be providing those.

The room where the class was held was small and dimly lit. There were windows, but they were covered with sheets of colored tissue paper. I think it was supposed to create mood lighting, but really it just created a tripping hazard. We were all supposed to remove our shoes before entering the “creative space”, and let me tell you, baby shoes are small and easy to miss in the eerie pink and green glow of the poorly lit room. After nearly breaking my ankle twice, we finally joined the circle of classmates sitting cross-legged in the middle of the room.

The first thing I noticed was that the teacher was a man. Not to sound sexist or anything, but he wasn’t what I had in mind when I pictured the baby music instructor. For starters he had the most impressive, bushy, hipster beard I’ve ever seen. It was coarse and black, and looked like something straight out of Portlandia. The dream of the 90s was most definitely alive on that guy’s face. The second thing I noticed was that he was barefoot, not wearing socks like the rest of us. His hairy hobbit toes were gripping the carpet in perfect time with the two oversized maracas he was shaking enthusiastically as we arrived.

He introduced himself to us as Mister Rob, which I immediately translated into Hipster Bob in my head. He will henceforth be known as such for my own amusement. Hipster Bob went on to explain the philosophy of the class, which I missed most of because the baby immediately crawled over and started groping at his furry face. I heard something about how 90% of people are, in fact, musically gifted, then started laughing in my head and missed the rest. He’s obviously never heard my husband sing.
The third thing I noticed was that there were only two other children in the class. When Hipster Bob was singing, he was very much singing to each and every one of us. There was no anonymity in that room; If you didn’t sing, he would know. So I grabbed a tambourine and tried to drown out the sound of the voices in my head screaming at me to run as far away from the singing beard as I could. I fought through my instinct to hide and started trying to sing along. Of course, I’d never heard any of the songs before so I mumbled incoherently as close to the tune as I could.

The class lasted thirty minutes, and in that time we sang (a lot), mimed driving a car, marched around the room to the tune of When The Saints Go Marching In, danced with colorful scarves to Jewish Mitzvah music, banged a gong (did NOT get it on), and did the hokey-pokey. Also, my baby may have poked one of the other kids in the eye with a stick. Who gives weapons to ten month olds? It was in my top five most painful mornings of all time, and I’ve had natural childbirth.

Just as I was making the decision in my mind to bid adieu to Hipster Bob and his giant maracas for good, I heard something over the cacophony of the drum beating babies: my little boy was laughing. It wasn’t the maniacal laughter of a baby that had skipped his nap to attend his first music class either. It was pure unadulterated joy. He loved it. He loved the noise, the lighting, the maracas and the beard. My own personal hell was his playground. Well, crap.

When the class ended, Hipster Bob asked us how we’d enjoyed the class and whether he’d be seeing us again next week. Every fiber of my being screamed NOOOOO , but I looked at the little creature clinging to my hip and drooling down my arm. If I could put up with months of morning sickness, hours of labor pains, a year of having my nipples chewed, and countless hours of missed sleep, then I could put up with half an hour of the Hipster Hoedown every week. I said we’d be there, and then promptly forked over $150 dollars for the privilege.

The things we do for our children.

Mary Widdicks from Outmanned



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13 Comments on The Things We Do For Our Children

  1. I am impressed! I’d be of the (likely much larger than) 10% of the musically disinclined. I’m not sure anything would have been able to drag me back into a place like that!

  2. Oh my gosh! That is hilarious! I would have been so uncomfortable and nonpaticipatory. Your son owes you big.

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