In all other gym classes we've taken to date, my presence has been a necessity--first to make sure the little wobbly baby could stand upright to do the balance beam routine (which involved getting from one end to the other by any means possible--very sophisticated), later to ensure that there were no separation-anxiety induced meltdowns.
On Wednesday, we showed up in class, me in my carefully selected funky socks (I am done being caught out with the hole-y old white gym socks and now keep my sock drawer stocked with adorable little multi-colored print socks. Thank you, $1 socks at Target), and Ethan in his cleanest white socks. Come to find out, I'm not allowed in the actual gym, so my styling sock selection was for nothing (although I have maintained for many years that if you are wearing fun socks you cannot have a bad day). And Ethan had to take his socks off to go into the gym. So basically, everything I've learned about preparing for a gym class experience with my child is now obsolete--at least as far as socks go.
No worries, it's not like the instructor came and grabbed him from my clutches, kicking and screaming, and whisked him away to an undisclosed location to force him through drills in preparation for some far-off Olympics. Although being told that I wasn't allowed to participate did make me feel, for a moment, like that was happening. Of course, I live for hyperbole, so let's keep that in mind.
In reality, I picked one incredibly uncomfortable plastic chair out of a row of equally incredibly uncomfortable chairs lined up outside the gym, which is entirely glass-walled on one side. Ethan, without a moment's hesitation, bounded into the gym class without so much as a backward glance in my direction, and dove right in to all of the tumbling and monkey-bar swinging. So for the first time ever, I got to be an audience to Ethan's antics, instead of being the one trying to keep up with them. I loved loved loved it. I have to tell you, I know I'm biased, but my kid is kind of hilarious to watch.
And the instructors? They must be main-lining pure giddiness out of some tank in the back room before class. Clearly Tinkerbell is sprinkling them with some kind of Disney-esque glee pixie dust at regular intervals throughout the day. I haven't seen that many face-aching smiles since we took Ethan to the HapHapHappiest Place on Earth last May. And honestly? I love that. I want whoever is teaching him something fun like gymnastics to spew happy and praise and positivity. Because, really? He's going to encounter enough reality and negativity everywhere else in his life as he grows up. Fine with me if his teacher goes off like she just won a game show when Ethan does a somersault.
I sat amongst four or five other moms and we were, without a doubt, a cross-section of motherhood. I sat, face all but pressed against the glass, doing my best not to tap on it to get E's attention at every turn. When he finished a routine, I was the dork who jumped up and clapped--I figured all the moms would do that when their kid did something cool, but erm, no. It was just dorky me, clapping and offering praise that he'd never even hear because of the glass between us. But he saw me clapping and that's fine with me. Another mom sat hunched over her iPod, no joke, the entire time. Now, I did take some pictures and upload them to Facebook and I did check my email a couple of times, but this woman didn't come up for air once in the entire hour. That is serious dedication.
One mom had her older child with her, and a pile of books. For the entire hour, she put book after book in front of her kid, repeating, "You're never going to learn to read if you don't practice." I think in that hour I developed an ulcer FOR the little girl. Good times.
A mother, grandmother and big sister sat to my right; they were Irish and every time the little sister did something, the older girl who was sitting with us said, "Yeah, look at her. That was brilliant, give her a medal." There is nothing as freaking adorable as caustic satire from the mouth of a six year old, in an Irish accent. It was hilarious! Chatting with the mom, I thought, "of everyone here, this is the only woman I think I could stand to talk to for more than five minutes." Am I the only one who scopes out new environments for potential mom-friends?
Ethan emerged from the class an hour later, sweaty and thrilled and exhausted, which is perfect for about 4pm on a Wednesday. No question in my mind that next Wednesday will find us back on either side of the Little Gym glass wall. As my friend Sarah said, we have indeed drunk the Little Gym koolaid. Tasty.
Would you like to see some blurry and all around horrible shots of our trip to the gym? Sure you would.
There's blurry E holding a blurry pink balloon and chasing the crap out of some bubbles.
I don't know what he was doing here, but it looks like he's giving a stand up routine of some kind. Love that his shirt is too short and his belly is showing. My poor perpetually stuck between 12-24 months and 2T child--who is almost 4.