The Brighter Writer


Mountain Kids, Fort Collins, Colorado

So my daughter has been "dancing" since she could stand.

(Yes, the word dancing wholeheartedly deserves the "".)

The sweet little thing does her twirls, her bows, her leaps and her spins but 9 times out of 10, she ends up on her butt in a pool of her own tears.

We took her to the doctor to find out if it was just part of being 3 years old, gaining her balance and growing into her own skin but after a few simple tests her pediatrician told us that she's just "a little bit off" with her coordination. I asked if this was something she would grow out of and they basically told us that it's just a part of who she is and that she's just going to be a clumsy kid.

So when Kalynn asked if she could take "ballerina class," I was a little concerned. Not only with how she would do physically, but also how she would do socially. She's never been in a class of any sort. No daycare, no preschool, no play groups, nothing. She's a stay at home only child with a very protective and nervous mom.

This is a combination with high danger potential.

I started checking around at our local dance academies, preschool and daycares just to sort of see what I was dealing with here.

We don't have a ton of spare money but I refused to send my kid to just any place in the neighborhood. This isn't just a child. This is my child. There's a big difference.

Anyway, I sort of stumbled on Mountain Kids. The diamond in the rough. The ray of sun on a cloudy day. The needle in the haystack.

I went and toured the school, checked out the class rooms, observed the teachers and totally fell in love. This place is absolutely amazing. After looking through all million classes they have to offer, I found a 3 day summer class, an hour and a half per class, called "Princess Camp."

Seriously, read this:

"In this camp we'll celebrate being a princess. Learn to dance with ballets like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, Giselle, Coppelia, and more. Join us in our magical castle as we practice manners, have tea parties, curtsy, make crafts to transform you into princesses, play games, and read princess stories and then bring them to life. During this magical week you will do all of the above and prepare for the grand performance at the Royal Ball at the last class."

Are you kidding me?

She could practically teach this damn class.

So we read her the description and watched her eyes widen and her jaw drop. She was so all about this class it was all she talked about for the entire 2 weeks leading up to it.

Now, correspondingly, there had been a Sofia the First dress she'd been eyeballing at Target this last month or so. After begging and pleading and please-please-pleasing, we came to the agreement that if she did good in class the first 2 days, she could have her new dress for the last day of Princess Camp as a reward. Bribery goes a long way in this family.

Disney's Sofia the First princess dress available at Target

The first day went better than expected. Since she already has half a dozen princess dresses as it is, she got to choose her favorite, get her hair done, and wear a tiara. This clearly made her very happy.

Cinderella princess costume perfect for a toddler halloween

The part about saying goodbye as she left for her classroom was the part that made me the most nervous. I know full well that toddlers can smell fear probably more accurately than a lion or a bear, so I put on my super excited face and she honestly didn't even acknowledged my exit. She made herself the teacher's shadow, sat right down and began her stretches.

Jason and I watched proudly from the one way mirror and wore out the battery in our cameras as all the kids learned their pliés, their toe points and feet positioning.

Princess Camp at Mountain Kids, Fort Collins Colorado

About half way through the class they stopped for a coloring break and crown decorating session.

Mountain Kids Princess Camp, Fort Collins Colorado

And then back to the twirls and the curtsies...

Princess Camp at Mountain Kids, Fort Collins Colorado

Day 2 and 3 went just about the same. There were a few minor set backs and a couple of "I want my Mommys" but all in all, she did great. She got her Princess Sofia dress, and she's even signed up for ballet and tap starting in a couple weeks.

toddler ballet outfit

On our way to her ballet classroom every day we had to walk by this gymnastics center located in the center of the building:

Gymnastics at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

They have bars to swing on.

Gymnastics at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

Trampolines to bounce on.

Gymnastics at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

beams to balance on.

Gymnastics at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

Guess who wanted to sign up for gymnastics?

toddler gymnastics outfit

This class seemed to be more emotionally stressful for her but her teacher Miss Emily is like the child whisperer. She can take a melt down into a laughing fit in under 5 minutes. I've never met someone who could calm down my baby girl with such quick timing. She's awesome. This class is awesome. This school is awesome. I don't even have enough time to say all the things I want. Just know, it's awesome.

Gymnastics at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

Gymnastics at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

Meanwhile, Kalynn is having fun making new friends and I have time to run just down the hall to Warm Ups; their very own little espresso shop. I'm telling you, this place has thought of everything.

Warm Ups Warmups at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

They have an aquatic center for swim lessons.

(next summer for sure)

swimming pool at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

We've also signed Kalynn up for 2 day a week preschool. (Yikes!)

Their preschool is a mix of developmental and academic learning, with an hour of gymnastics included in the curriculum. This is not a daycare which has "preschool time" included, it is an actual preschool. The director of Mountain Kids was a kindergarten and first grade teacher for years prior which makes me truly more at ease that she knows exactly what needs to be taught during those years before she gets into "big girl" school.

preschool room at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

Recess was always my personal favorite subject...

playground at Mountain Kids in Fort Collins, Colorado

So there you have it. She's gone from baby girl to preschooler in under a month. I just can't believe it. She's got her new little Minnie Mouse backpack and her new school clothes to prove it.

As for me, you probably won't see me doing twirls anytime soon. You can tell where she got her balance issues from... As they say, "the nut don't fall too far from the tree..."