Well we bit the bullet and signed Harper up for gymnastics. It would seem like a toddler gymnastics class is not that big a decision, however, at this particular gym signing up includes a once a year registration fee, class fees every month, and two weeks prior notice to discontinue classes. It seemed like much more of a commitment than the four and five week classes we've taken at the local rec center. We did a trial class last October and weren't totally sold on the idea, but Harper's recent lack of enthusiasm in gross motor areas made it look a bit more appealing.
Today was our first class. Like I plan to do on any future first days of school, I made Harper show off her new outfit in the front yard before we headed into the relative unknown. Since our trial class the gymnastics club had moved to a new and larger facility so it did feel like starting from scratch, not to mention the fact that Harper is seven months older.
She was pretty excited to put on her "yeeatawd" and head to the gym.
The class was. . .okay. Her specific class is geared toward 18- to 40-month-old children. After a little warm up stretching the "instructors" basically walk through the "stations" the children are supposed to work through and then set the kids free. At this level the parents participate in class, and by participate I mean walk around with their toddlers and try to remember the 389 things the instructors just said to do. It is a bit of a free-for-all, made tolerable by the fact that there aren't terribly many children in each class. Despite the very specific instructions, the whole is experience is maybe a little less structured than I'd like. Two women came in together for a trial class (I think) with two girls around Harper's age. They literally sat and chatted while the two girls sort of did whatever they wanted. Except they couldn't do some of the things requiring parental help, since their parents were too busy having a social meeting. Seriously, one of the girls tried to ask her mom for help with something and the mom dismissively said, "Go ahead, just be careful," when the child was actually asking for her mom's assistance. That miffed me a bit and I sort of hope they aren't in our class on a weekly basis.
There were lots of skills Harper didn't even want to try. For example, she was in no way interested in any activity which involved attempting to hang from a bar of any sort. She was, however a fan of the trampoline(s) and the pit of squishy foam squares. There was also a little playhouse/tunnel/slide combo that she was digging. I actually put a limit on the slide, giving her three turns and then telling her she had to try something else because we can actually slide at the park for free. She did eventually concede to trying out a very low balance beam as well. I will take it as a good sign that she was angry with me when class was over and I had to practically drag her from the room. And that she was still exhibiting this level of enthusiasm after class:
I briefly asked the instructor if kids tended to warm up to the unfamiliar equipment, wanting to know if I should anticipate several weeks of trying to get Harper to do things she is not willing to participate in/on. The instructor assured me that children generally do get used to the environment and widen their comfort zones. Good. There were a handful of children in our class who had clearly been coming for some time and climbed around on everything like little monkeys. We are thinking we'll stick with this through the summer and reevaluate come September, when the yearly registration comes due. Until then, you can look forward to weekly gymnastics updates. You have to admit, Harper is darn cute in that leotard and pig tails!
Tonight, after I'd put Harper in bed, I heard her crying and walked into her room to investigate. She was perched on the edge of her bed and had lifted her curtain to look outside. When I asked what she was crying about her story went something like this:
"I was watching the byack (black) goggie (doggie) and the man came and took the goggie inside my neighbor's house. He shut the garage so no one will come in his house. And I wanted to watch the goggie some more. . . " and then broke back into her sad little sobbing.
It's a tough life.