My husband and I thought this summer would be a great time to start our daughter in gymnastics. Because she is not yet two, the only class I could find was a “mommy-and-me” class. I’ve never been very flexible myself, but I thought taking her and holding her hand through it all would be a breeze.
Boy, was I wrong. Here’s our story.
We arrive a few minutes early to check in and check it out. I let Mason run around to exert some of her built up energy from the car ride in hopes to acclimate her to the gym and routine.
The other parents and children start to arrive, and I am surprised to see that Mason is the tallest kid there since this is a three and under class…
All the kids line up and go get their bean bags and shapes from the instructor… So we get in line and follow suit. Tantrum one takes place.
I see a few looks of sympathy from some of the other moms, surely they’ve been in this situation before too, right? Maybe first class wasn’t the best either?
The other kids immediately go put their shapes in a circle and sit. So we attempt this. Tantrum two greets me.
I look around and a couple of parents give me an understanding grin, so I try to laugh it off. But, man, I’m sweating. This gymnastics class is work.
Stretching begins. Nose-to-toes and sing the ABCs… ABCs? My daughter can barely talk in an understandable form yet… We can’t sing the ABCs. I attempt to get her to do this anyways. Insert tantrum number three.
Accompanying tantrum three is the strength of a lion which takes off across the gym and jumps on a mat and lies there like it’s time to relax… I guess all of that stretching wore a girl out already? (What stretching? It was definitely the fits that wore her out.) Attempting to remove my wild animal from the mat and rejoin the group results in, you guessed it, tantrum number four.
By this time, all parents avoid looking in my direction. I can see the ones beside me inching a little further away, hoping that their child doesn’t catch this maniacal behavior that my child is displaying. And I’m not even sure what stretch the group is on anymore.
At this point, just ten minutes into the class, I take my wild animal (still in the process of tantrum four) and we officially quit the mommy-and-me gymnastics class.
Never have I felt like more of a failure as a mom as I did seeing those tiny girls get in line, wait their turn, sit on their designated shape, and sing the ABCs. I thought what am I doing wrong? Why can’t Mason do this? Then a dear friend told me “that’s just her.” No kids are the same, and not all kids fit in the same box. She has her own personality, she is strong willed, and she is determined.
Moral of the story? She’s her own person and she’s awesome!
So for all of those judgy parents who think otherwise, stop being so judgy and let go of your pearls already. Yes, my daughter looked like the oldest kid there, but, in reality, she was one of the youngest.
She’s just not there yet, so why should I force her to try to be something she’s not and try to do something she’s obviously not ready for? The answer is, I shouldn’t.
Looking back, I laugh [a lot] at this experience. Yeah, in the moment, I was frustrated. But, in the end, I’m proud of her personality and her strong-willed spirit. These are the traits that take people far in life. So, I’m just going to sit back and let my wild animal decide what adventure we take next.