BY MIRABELLE D’CUNHA
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a mother with a toddler has an intensely demanding life. At almost four, my LO has a clear sense of what she wants to play and how. My role and that of friends is clearly demarcated, including how we are to act, what we are to feel and when we are to do it. This can often be daunting, especially when I have much work to do or just want to sit down with my cup of chai.
Yes, she is also constantly observing, chatting and asking questions. At times when its too much for me, there’s only one thing that comes to the rescue…..music and dance. Good music facilitates an almost immediate letting go for everyone, specially for me and my little one. It helps us both support our needs without having to talk and the power struggle that can oft result between parent and kid just melts away.
I have spent many hours searching for good kids’ music to dance and listen to. In an overcluttered world, where traffic and Bollywood music with lyrics totally unsuitable for children badger our ears, having a home lit up with free flowing dance and laughter is just irrepressibly transporting. Every evening, we turn on the mood light and light a candle on the dinner table before our meal. On the tough days or the just we’re-so-happy-to-be- mummy-and-baby days, I either give her a massage with soft music playing and coconut oil mixed with lavender essential oil or we just play music and dance…..however we want. It could be Hanuman Jump by Jai Uttal or Composers Write Music or The Wiggles; we just let our hair loose and dance. There really is some great music out there for kids. The music, the dim lights, the candle burning…….and us letting go.
Kids need catharsis too in these busy times where despite our best interests, we sometimes run around like headless chickens.These dance jams of ours are so rewarding, it led me to create collective group experiences through The Rhythm & Soul Playshop and to create my own songs with an Indian twist that I’m eager to share soon. They have helped me share with her and other kids at the schools I do playshops at, how to let it go, let it flow. Simple stuff this; instead of telling kids to stop fighting/pushing, just giving them breathing tools to facilitate that through a dance-along song. It’s all about integrating breathing into everything.
When we dance, we adapt to the pace and feel of the music, we trickle into its nuances, we settle into its steadiness, we are excited with its rhythm and we paraglide with its melody. My husband and I dance too, with the little one taking turns to partner us or just making a circle dance. We have danced together at weddings with her wrapped in a mei tie sling, we dance when laziness has overtaken us into a space of restlessness on a weekend. We have danced on the streets of Istanbul to the duff and have inspired musicians to play the only ..errr… Bollywood song they knew. We dance in the rain and with our arms flailing with wild trust in the winds whose majestic power we seek to harness in those wide upturned arms. We sway and dance when we cry together, we dance because we trust, we dance because it is the only effective way we know to surrender, we dance because there is gratitude, surrender and celebration in every micro-moment that we harness from this mad rushed overwhelming pace of Mumbai life.
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