Deciding what kidde classes and sports teams to sign your toddler up for can be stressful. They're too young to have clear preferences for much, and while the local Y is great, I've yet to see them offer classes my kids would actually be excited over, like a 6-week intensive history of Elmo class or a class on proper play dough and dog water bowl pairings for the discerning toddler palate. Really, the activities your tot is enrolled in say less about your child's interests and more about you as a parent. They express your hopes and dreams are for your kid's future, and can even try to mend any lingering regrets from your own youth. Here's what your toddler's extracurricular activities say about you.
Your parents pushed you to play volleyball all the way through college and you have nothing to show for it except years of resentment and a bad knee. You refuse to let your child feel forced into anything, and therefore you won't sign her up for any classes until she asks.
You're a basic mom who wanted an activity that would let your child have some social interaction with other kids, but wasn't so dangerous that you couldn't sit back with a latte and some chit-chat during practice. The fact that he's tuckered out for the rest of the day from all that running around is an added bonus.
See Soccer Mom above, only you went with T-ball instead because your husband insists that your child has "real potential" ever since the first time your kid threw his teddy bear across the room. Resistance to the sport was futile, as your husband mutters, "I could have been a contender" under his breathe any time your FIL brings up his high school glory days on the baseball team, which is often. Besides, maybe your kid will end up with a scholarship, and that would be awesome.
4. Tap, Jazz, Ballet, acting classes and voice lessons.
Your child is almost four and already has a credit list longer than half the cast of The Lion King on Broadway. Abby Lee Miller is your idol and being called a Stage Mom isn't an insult to you, it's a compliment. No one doubts your commitment to Sparkle Motion. No one.
This child is at least #4 in birth order, so all your nervous mom worries are long gone. You went with hockey because the hours are long, so you get a break, and you figure at least this will teach them how to defend themselves against attacks from their older siblings. Or, you live in Canada, where I imagine children must be able to score a goal and skate three laps before graduating kindergarten.
6. Gymnastics and cheerleading.
You were a wallflower in high school who never got up the courage to ask the star basketball player to the Sadie Hawkins dance, even though your Facebook stalking tells you that you're way prettier than the woman he ended up with. You're determined to have your daughter be popular, and have already started to lay the groundwork with your husband for getting her a nose job when she turns 13 if she wants.
7. Spanish, French or Mandarin Chinese lessons.
Never mind the fact that you can't even understand half the English words your child mumbles, or that you yourself aren't bilingual. You are determined to get a viral video and your 15 minutes on Ellen, and you think having a genius baby is your best shot.
8. Swimming lessons.
Either you are obsessed with child safety and want to make sure your child would survive a tumble into the pool without water wings, or you love to be that mom who brags about their kid being more advanced than others. You can't wait for the look on Shayna's faces when her kid has to stay in the shallow, pee- filled part of the pool this summer while your little Nemo is doing the breaststroke.
9. Piano lessons.
Toddler gym classes are germ-filled cesspools for the uncivilized masses. Your child will learn to play an instrument because reading music is an actual accomplishment, unlike those flimsy participation trophies they give to all the soccer brats. You know this will lead her on the right track to an Ivy League school and a husband befitting of her status.