She moves like Shakira.


My daughter was five three weeks ago and she’s still wearing her ‘I’m Five’ badge that flashes. The badge has been a constant addition to all her dress-up costumes, from the pink princess, angel with wings and the one that looks like a gravedigger; she even made me pin it to her ballet costume.

At her age the dance lessons focus on the basics such as First Position, well, that’s what I thought. I picked her up from dancing, and I was having great difficulty stuffing her in the car seat. This was mainly due to her big coat; a coat I had never seen before; a coat that turned out not to be hers. This made me both angry and confused. If she’s going to pick up the wrong coat why can’t she pick up a light summer coat or one from Boden.

The big coat made my daughter look like a caterpillar. The Caterpillar shouted from the back seat that she’d learned some new moves and wanted to show them off.

The whole family were summoned for the performance; they didn’t turn up, so I confiscated all their electronic devices and forced them to turn up of their own free will.

My daughter started off in First Position, I then advised her she might be able to move a little more freely if she removed the big coat. She stood before us, in maximum cute mode, wearing her full ballet costume with the badge flashing away.

First position then turned into a succession of strange, jerky moves you might see Shakira doing. The grand finale was a lopsided forward roll. As the curtain dropped on this latest performance, the family members I’d forced to attend all looked at me with the same ‘I-told-you-so’ expression, snatched back their devices and shuffled off to separate corners of the house.

A few hours later her best friend arrived for a play date. They both skipped off into the back room to rehearse for another performance. My daughter promised me that this new performance would be a little more ‘freestyle’. After sitting through many of my daughter’s rather avant-garde performances,  I have come to learn that ‘freestyle’ usually means more forward rolls.

We gathered on the couch, and my daughter appeared, her cute badge still blinking away. I don’t know who make the batteries in these things but I doubt NASA have developed anything this technically advanced. She entered the room very slowly, and the reason why soon became alarmingly apparent; she was dragging her friend along the floor by a dog lead which was tied to her now purple wrist. She then performed a forward roll, picked up the dog lead, and dragged her out again. The sound of flesh dragging along carpet will stay with me for some time, and so will the smell.

I have come to learn that ‘freestyle’ can also mean more dog leads.


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