Thursday, 16 October 2008

Step in time

Half term starts tomorrow. Which means Boy #1 has been in 'big' school now for just over 6 weeks. Amazing things have happened in that time frame; he's learning at a rate of knots, much more so than I expected given that the school we chose for him is supposed to take it easy on it's pupils for the first couple of years. He still has wobbles now and then when I drop him off in the morning, but overall there's been a great improvement. He's made friends; at the playground after school it's heartwarming to see him running round with a little group of schoolmates as if they own the place.

And this evening, Husband - after a few days away - witnessed one of the more physical manifestions of his growing knowledge base.

It's called 'front-trotting.'

What on earth is that? Well might you ask. I certainly wondered when he first mentioned it last week in association with his 'sports' classes. Boy #1's school is big on physical education, so much so that they have some form of it every day, whether it be gym, swimming, running round in the park, or music and movement. Frankly this last class, inocuously slotted into his time-table between 'topic' and 'break' puzzled me a little. What sort of thing do they learn in 'music and movement', I wondered aloud. So he showed me.

It was one of those moments when you know you should be keeping a straight face. Your child certainly is, there's nothing strange about this to him. But when an activity has a name like 'front trotting', well, I for one suspected before he even demonstrated it that we would be onto a winner in the entertainment stakes.

So let me talk you through what he showed Husband on his return from Moscow this evening:

'Front Trotting' for Beginners

The correct stance to begin your 'front-trotting' is to place your hands on your hips.
  • Tip-toe/skip (oh dear, this really is tricky to describe) quickly and exaggeratedly across the room, picking your feet up and pulling your knees up each time as high as you can in front of you, rather like a Monty Python silly walk or an Irish Dance in which you actually move (rather than simply bouncing on the spot)
  • Don't walk though; dance your way across the room.
  • Hands on hips all the time.
  • It helps to have a rather intent expression on your face at this point.
  • It also helps to be 'front-trotting' away from your parents so you can't see them trying and failing not to crack up.
For those of you who are interested, 'back-trotting' is when you repeat the process but kick your heels up into your calves behind you rather than to pick your feet up in front of you.

And finally, for added entertainment value, do all this immediately after your bath before you've had the chance to put your pj's on...

I just remembered where I saw this before. The sweeps dancing on the roof in the Mary Poppins movie, the bit where Dick Vandyke shouts 'Kick your knees up!' Though, thank heavens, they had their clothes on.

I've included the link for your entertainment...


  1. I was doing fine, giggling quietly to myself, until you got to the bit about 'before putting PJs on'..... Now I have choked and spluttered coffee all over my desk!! That post should have carried a warning not to eat or drink whilst reading. However I do hope you had a camera to hand. In the first photo I have of my elder son walking unaided, he is wearing just a little vest with his arms above his head and his little bits dangling. Too sweet - and such handy material for blackmail during his teens ;-)

  2. I'm sorry, but "front-trotting" just sounds rather lavatorial and rude. Like Sharon, I was holding it together till the "no PJs" bit...

    Well, you can rest easy at the quality of the education he is getting. Not all children get to front-trot, oh no.

  3. I feared for my sheltered mind there for a second before I realized we would be watching Mr. van Dyke and not Boy #1 in his birthday suit.

    Wow....that was close!

  4. I was expecting a video of boy #1 front-trotting in the nude, but then again, nowadays you can't post anything like that on the Internet. Besides, he would never forgive you if he found out about it.

    I am very vividly picturing it in my mind, having been the mother of a little boy once and how adorable they are buck naked. I am sure it was a sight to behold.

  5. Naked riverdance - you are responsible for some very peculiar images in my mind! next time I'm walking through South Ken I'll keep a look out for front-trotting little boys....

  6. Nearly had an accident with my tea. It does sound like a terribly complicated manoeuvre to perform, I'm not surprised he had his concentrating face on! ~x~

  7. Oh god, to die for!!! My older two used to do the whole scene with the Step in Time dance almost every bloody night. Little one is now attending a High School Musical option at school, so comes back and shows us all this rather suggestive dancing, again with willy dangling and bottom jiggling. Hilarious.
    You might have to get him to do it again with the camcorder running.

  8. I was so hoping for a demonstration of Boy#1 doing this!

    I love Mary Poppins. I love it even though my brother, rather snottily, told me at one point: "You know that Dick VanDyke's accent is the most fake British accent EVER, don't you? They don't talk that. He's totally butchering it."

    Way to burst a kid's bubble...*sigh*

  9. Me too! But don't knock it - anything that gets kids moving these days has got to be worth the pain of stifled laughter.

  10. Potty Mummy, you have an incredible talent for straight faces.
    Sounds like the sort of thing Darling Husband does round the fields on a Sunday morning!

  11. Whoopee! I'm so glad I've discoverd a good British blog. So I'll say hello, rather than lurk.

    You write well and you're very funny.
    Poor kids being made to do front-trotting! I agree, you should definitely video it, even if only to illustrate to him how far he's progressed in future.

  12. First off, we're not home right now so apologies for the tardiness in replying to everyone's comments..

    Sharon, I know, I thought of the blackmail potential too but just couldn't bring myself to do it.

    Iota, my thoughts exactly. It does sound rude, doesn't it?

    Aims, it was tempting - but no.

    Irene, you're right, you can't be too careful. But yes, he did look totally gorgeous!

    Mud - and now you know what to call it when you see it!

    SCL, sorry about the tea. I do hope it was accompanied by a large biscuit.

    EPM, high school musical? That must be hilarious. Looking forward to the post!

    J's Mommy, no demo I'm afraid as not only am I paranoid about where that sort of image might end up, I don't have the technical know-how to do it in the first place!

    TD, you are so right. Though it's the sitting still that's rare in our house (sans tv), rather than the moving...

    And now I have the strangest image in MY mind, Frog. I assume you keep a straight face too?

    Hello Scatterbrain, thanks for the visiting and the compliment (validation? I love it!). Maybe the video will be pulled out of the cupboard after all...

  13. priceless. how lovely. and you described it perfectly - well done. I had a very precise image in my head. i think your blog will be such a wonderful diary of your little boys' growing up. Wish blogging had been around when mine were wee - i kept thinking, ''I must write that down''. Did I? Did i hell. Have a lovely half term x

  14. Thanks RM. I keep meaning to print some of this off and keep it in a scrap-book / diary, but have I done it yet? Have I hell...

    And glad you liked it M/M!

  15. Just catching up with your life - and that "front-trotting" is too funny! Also, my Grandson has just done his first 6 weeks of Big School too. He's only 4, but is learning fast and seems happy. M xx


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