I've taught mommy and me yoga with my son for exactly a year. That means that for more of his life than not he has taught yoga with me. It's amazing how much he's grown as a co-teacher in that time. I remember when we first started teaching together he was jealous of the attention I paid to the other students. I would cry and beg for all my attention. He didn't want to share his mama. Now, he comes to class, does down dog on his mat, plays with other children, climbs on me, ALWAYS returns to my lap when it's time to sing our closing song, brings his hands together to say namaste, and then immediately jumps off my lap eager to grab blocks, knowing it is time to clean up.
I also realize that I have grown as a teacher in that time. The hardest part of teaching mommy and me classes is being a mommy and an instructor. I always tell my students that (almost) anything goes in class. They can nurse, feed their babies, change diapers, take potty breaks, and their children can do yoga, play, or cry. I want the mothers to feel comfortable. I want them to know that it is okay for their children to meltdown because we've all been there. But, my child needs to those things too. He is no different. Yet, my role is. I am not just a mother. In those classes I am also the teacher, I am the leader, I am the guide. I can't drop everything to attend to my baby because then the class stops without me.
Learning to manage my baby and my class was a growth experience. One I'm grateful for. I think it made me a better teacher as a result. I've never claimed to be a good multitasker, yet it's forced me to. I can nurse and do yoga, I can nurse and teach. Sometimes I have to use my words to demonstrate when I can't use my body (I also got this experience at the end of my pregnancy, I guess a version of mommy and me yoga in its own right). It's helped Henry as well. It's taught him that he can't always get my full attention. It's shown him that yoga is part of our lives. It's something he will grow up with. It's given him the opportunity to watch me work. And, it's given him the chance to interact with other children.
Even with it's challenges, I am so grateful for this opportunity. It's crazy that my son who was once one of the youngest in every class I taught is now one of the oldest in some of my classes. He will always be my favorite assistant.