The Chicken Dance Cure
Friday was just one of those days. It was the end of a long week, it was hot, the house was a shambles, I was tired, and I could just not get on track. Tempers were running high–especially mine. I won’t share the details of an incident involving an unraveled cassette tape and angrily pulling over on the highway, but suffice it to say that I was not in a groovy-mama groove. I actually had the thought–rare for me–that maybe the kids would be better off in school than subjected to their stressed-out mama all the time.
Thankfully, that dread car ride ended in a trip to the roller skating rink with our homeschool group. This gave all of us the chance to hang out with our friends, have a little fun, and get a little space from one another.
The highlight of the roller rink? At one point, they called everyone to the center for roller-dancing. First the hokey-pokey, and then the chicken dance. I was there with Anna, and I realized as we started that although she’d heard the song, she’d never done the chicken dance. So I started showing her how it went, and she copied me, and absolutely beamed. Anna loves to dance, and this was just her kind of fun. After a frought morning, we had this moment of joyful connectedness over, yes, the chicken dance.
The afternoon wore on with the usual ups and downs of a Friday at the end of a long week. We ended the day at the pool, and I was sitting around the baby pool with Anna, who was busily retrieving balls and diving toys and experimenting with putting her head in the water. No big surprise, at some point she ended up with a big noseful of water. In a moment of inspiration, I asked her if she knew what the cure was for water up the nose; she said no. I said, “The chicken dance, of course!” and proceeded to “peep peep peep peep, flap flap flap flap, wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle, clap clap clap clap.” She joined right in and was soon jumping right back into the pool. We repeated this a number of times over the course of the evening, including a variation for a single-nostril inhalation that used only one hand, doing the dance with only half of our bodies. After that one, she crawled up in my lap, hugged me, and said, “Mommy, that is a very funny remedy.”
It seems to me that so often our day tips on these tiny decisions I make in the moment….do I make a joke? get annoyed? move on to something else? reach out to connect? When I can step back and go for the silly–tickling or playing or singing or running around–it gives us all a little energy and ease. And we can certainly use as much of that as we can get.