Daddy Dancing: How Fathers Insert Themselves Into The World of Girls
Unfortunately, summer is halfway over and the fall is coming. Taking the trips into department stores have reminded me of this – my daughter Cydney is three years old. She’s at the age where she is old enough to engage in activities. We tried soccer in the spring and she loved it. While I will continue with that, I am considering signing her up for what is the little girl rite of passage: dance classes. Preparing for dance school season, stores have had the little ballet and tap shoes available in abundance. I’m kind of excited about it.
Watching the slow evolution of my daughter from hearing her heartbeat for the first time via sonogram to becoming a little person with her own personality is awesome. Almost everyday there’s something new. However, as her father and only parent I am watching Cydney become a girl. I grew up with a twin sister and saw all of the wonderful and frightening things that come along with “girl world.” I have known since I was seventeen that I would father a daughter first. I have mentally prepared for it and limit as much karma coming back to me by not breaking too many hearts; but that all went out the window when Cyd was born three Februarys ago.
I love little girl world. There is always something new to learn because it is and was the antitheses of me. We do hair, paint nails, have tea parties donning tiaras, and all of that. I’m a manly man, but I embrace this with open arms.
But… Dance class might be a little too girly for me. Cute is already in my lexicon and vocabulary other than referring to some young lady that catches my eye. This might be too cute for me. The primping, leotards, and the practicing of the basic five positions of ballet (I may have dated a dancer or two) –I can’t handle it.
I loved being a soccer dad; but putting Cydney in dance class is a little different. Soccer is an hour on Saturdays. Soccer is a sport that I can practice, and learn along with her. I like doing this with her because as a guy it fulfills my need of athletics that I don’t have much time for. Dance classes may or may not require taking Cydney to rehearsal more than once a week. She is going to have to come home and practice, which means I’ll have to listen and facilitate it. I may even have to learn it to teach her… I’m sure that would be a sight for sore eyes.
I’m afraid of my daughter being around all of these little girls. Children are cruel. Cydney will be further venturing into the world without me as her buffer. Her lack of filter will eventually fade and a protective wall will begin to go up. I already know that I can’t shelter my child from hurt forever, but this could be the beginning of her childlike intuition evolving into second-guessing because of something another child could say to her.
As silly as this sounds, I’ve seen little glimpses on TV of all of these dance moms going a little too hard with their daughters. It terrifies me of having to possibly come across one of them. I’m a laid back person who would just want to say to them “Yo, chill. It’s just kids. Yours ain’t that good anyway.”
No matter how hesitant I may be about what is inevitable (even if I put it off for a year or two) I still want Cydney to experience this. It’s kind of a rite of passage for little girls to take dance class. Against my will I did it for three years. I hated it but it wasn’t that bad (Okay, it was and I quit as soon as my mother let me). My advice to any dads with little girls is to just enjoy it because they probably will, too. Single fathers: girls like stuff like that…just thought I’d throw that out there.
As men raising little girls, it’s a big part of the job to infiltrate girl world and one we must take on proudly. We still get to be the “manly man” in other parts of our lives so a little daddy dance time won’t hurt (too much).
The younger the children are, the earlier you get to leave the recital because they usually go first. And as soon as it’s over take them out to eat in their outfits so everyone can see her and fawn. I know I will, no matter how reluctant I am to twirling around with her.