Dance fever


Katie loves to dance. It doesn't matter how, it doesn't matter when. If music strikes up, she has to move.

She even dances in her sleep a little twitching motion in time to whatever song is playing.

When a commercial comes on, she'll reappear from whatever corner of the house she's hidden in, stand in front of the television wiggling her arms, shaking her butt and looking at us with a smile that just begs a "yeah, Katie!"

The theme songs from Friends and the Simpson will even end a jumping-on-the-bed spree as she races into the living room.

Sometimes she's got rhythm. Other times I just think she's having spasms.

She watches other people dance, but what they do in front of her can't really be called dancing. They're exaggerated moves meant to teach, but end up tying Katie in knots as she struggles to coordinate the newness of having limbs that almost do what she wants.

Nothing makes me smile more.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on where you built your house, but we'll get to that later Katie was born into a family that loves to dance and sing and laugh. She'll either end up with smooth moves or become a circus clowns.

She'll likely be tone deaf.

In response to the combination of birthdays that fall at the end of May and the beginning of June, we (the family and friends so close there's not even a line between "family" and "friends") congregated at dad's house for a barbecue. In deference to my step-mother's knock-em-dead-and-bring-on-the-tears singing voice, we toted out the karaoke machine.

Unfortunately, dad beat her to the microphone. More unfortunately, the half-finished deck did not yet boast a fence and the speaker was set about window-level to two or three houses.

I'm sure the request for sound-proofing materials tripled the next day. What doesn't sound so loud next to the machine multiplies the farther you move away.

My father is an enthusiastic singer, even a good one when the situation's right. But a touch of nervousness brings out a crack or two and had Katie, still trying to be fussy because of a too short nap, staring in wonder. Maybe it was concern, I've never seen that particular expression on her face.

But that didn't matter. It was time to dance.

Singing isn't my talent, but nothing stops a fit faster than my version of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head."

I looked up the words on the Internet, so at least I have that going for me, even if the tone's off a little (or a lot).

The great thing about kids is that they never judge anything. They don't even consider bad hair days, out-of-style clothes or out-of-tune songs.

In fact, it seems the more unique something is, the better they like it.

I arrange Katie's clothes outfit by outfit, each complete with matching socks and hat or headband if the option's there.

Katie's favorite outfit is pajamas with a pink striped shirt pulled over the top and golf club head covers (red) on her feet. If she's feeling particularly saucy, she puts socks on her hands for that added style. Other times, she'll walks around with a hanger on her head.

She's even tried singing a little herself. The intent is there, but the words won't quite form. With Katie, if she can't do it right, she won't do it at all.

I wonder where she got her ideas about the right way to sing?

When you're two, anything goes, and music, no matter what the source, is music. Katie gets lost in the noise and the beat and is an applause junkie.

Dancing always brings applause.

She wiggled and jiggled and stomped through Dad's rendition of "New York, New York" and even put the moves on for her brother's attempt at "I'm A Little Teacup," but when her Nana picked up the microphone, she couldn't even bring herself to dance. It was as if she knew it was something to be enjoyed fully, without the distraction of trying to keep on your feet.

Nana can dance, too.

Maybe there's hope for Katie yet.

And for the neighbors, I can only say there are plans for a fence in the future and we usually do most of our singing miles from town where only the wildlife can gossip.

The day after, they usually do it miles and miles away, though.

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