Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Back to Ballet

In the two decades since quitting professional ballet, I have not done any "proper" exercise regimen. 2003 saw me qualify as a New York Ballet Workout instructor, but teaching had to stop which Little A was conceived, as cervical polyps made exercise while pregnant an impossibility.

Since Little A's birth I have wanted to get back to dance for exercise, and over the past year have managed about two dozen classes over the course of a few months, thanks to a newly opened Senior Centre conveniently located near Little A's school.

Recently though, I was made aware of adult ballet classes offered at a studio very near our apartment, taught by none other than one of my former dance partners. A new year, and a newly straightened spine meant I had no more excuses but to begin classes. And so I did.

Available from Level 0 (no experience) through 2 (intermediate adult), I found the classes to be just what I needed at this point in my life. Scheduled ideally in the mid-morning, I begun at the bottom, aiming to work my way up.

For two months now, I have faithfully attended two or three classes a week, and have seen, and felt, myself slowly getting back into shape. I may never perform Sleeping Beauty or do a 180 degree arabesque penchee again, but moving across a floor to classical music and feeling my body respond in a way it once did with ease is empowering, and apparently inspiring to my classmates who have never danced before but are finding it enjoyable at this stage in their lives.

I look forward to my dance classes and still have a ways to go before I consider myself back in full shape. It is a discipline my body knows, and once it is learned it can never really be erased from one's life. Dance on, then! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Field Trip

In the nearly three years that Little A's school has been operational, the students have not gone on a field trip, despite my numerous suggestions over the years (science museum, petting zoo, children's museum, aquarium). Until last week.

Finally, after what must have been much begging by the students as well as some parents, the teachers organised a day at Kidzania. Little A had not yet been, despite its location just a few streets away from our apartment building. Opened sometime last year, it has been a huge hit among the middle class youth of Manila, as it seems to be in every city which is lucky to have one.

While the other classes decided that their pupils would experience everything together, as a group, Little A's teachers let the kids in his class pick and choose their own activities.

Set loose, Little A first headed for the theatre at the centre of the "town". When he had explored it thoroughly, I suggested we find an activity. We walked around and on the second level he found the perfect first "job," at a greengrocer's. This was followed by a stint as a pretend rock star, a veterinarian to stuffed animals, and a gardener. Lunch was with the rest of the group, then we waited until the afternoon highlight, his firefighter workshop.

In spite of the number of children at the venue and the minimal supervision he required (special needs kids were allowed an adult in the activity room with them while typical ones were made to do everything on their own), I felt Little A did very well overall, and liked that the facilitators at each activity, particularly the greengrocer's, were quick to adapt the "lessons" to his non-verbal condition so that he never felt left out.

While there were numerous other activities still left untried, there will be many more times to visit Kidzania again, and I look forward to seeing Little A adapt more and more each time.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Weekend Activities

These days, most kids spend indoor time glued to iGadgets, or, for the lucky parents, physical or eBooks. Even luckier folks have children who love arts and crafts, kitchen work, or board games.

Thankfully, Manila is now catching up with the rest of the world and setting up indoor activity centres like soft play areas, and most recently, trampoline parks!

Big and Little A enjoyed jumping one Saturday; rather, Little A enjoyed it and Big A was completely exhausted within the 45 minute time limit. 

I liked that the monitors maintianed a strict ratio of one person per trampoline and a limited number on the "common" ones. Little couldn't jump from one to the next, sadly, unless the next wasn't occupied.

Still, it was a fun hour and one we will certainly do again.

In indoor-outdoor fun, Little A's horse-loving cousin turned twelve, and since our city has limited locations for actual riding, the party consisted of the kids painting papier mache "taka" horses. Little A is better at imitation now, and when he saw another girl's blue horse, he wanted to paint his the same way. 

We were also visited by the Mr. Men, longtime favourites in our home. Little A has a limited edition print I picked up in London, of the Mr. Men and Little Misses on a double decker bus. For ages when younger, their Great Alphabet Hunt was his favourite thing to watch, so being able to ride the "actual" bus was a treat!

Finally, a new soft play centre has opened just two streets away from our home. This gives us another alternative from the one further down the road.

Summer is upon us, so most free time  be spent indoors out of the scorching heat, so it's wonderful that there are so many options for gadget-free activitiy.