As first time moms, Tara and I had all these grandiose plans of taking our toddlers around town, to the park, library for their mommy and me classes, play dates with other children to get them socialized, among a myriad of other things. That's what the best moms do, right?
One of our friends suggested a tots gymnastics class at a local gym, and we thought this would be a great experience for the kids. We loved the idea of a class environment to help the kids with their listening and obeying the teacher, all while having fun with other children and learning the fundamentals of gymnastics. I will admit I was a little nervous because my son doesn't do well in unfamiliar situations, but like most children, he's usually fine when I'm not present and I knew he'd listen to the teacher more than he would listen to me. That evening, we went walking into the gym, paid our $90 for the 9 classes (why does this seem like so much money?), and turned the corner into the tots area. We were late, and the class was already starting, and WAIT A SECOND.... Why are the parents sitting with their children? Where is the little room the parents sit in that's behind glass and separated from the class? They failed to mention that this was a tots AND parents class. Doom started to come over me but I went with it because Riv seemed very excited. So excited in fact that he did not want to sit on his little carpet mat for warm ups but instead wanted to play on all the colorful equipment. The teacher and other parents are looking at me in silence (do i sense judgement?) waiting for me to wrangle my child to his carpet square so they can finish warm ups. This already was going terribly because he of course didn't want to sit on his carpet square. He cried, but we finally got on our carpet square long enough for the teacher to explain each of the stations and how they worked and what order you were supposed to do them in. Did we go in order? No, we went to the other half of the room where the teacher said we weren't supposed to go yet and kept politely trying to reign us to the other side. Did we do what we were supposed to do at each station? Nope, we just jumped because the floor was bouncy, and everything was squishy. Did we learn how to somersault and get a stamp for doing a good job? After a lot of tears and even more tries the teacher gave us a pity stamp. I got really frustrated and embarrassed as my two year old seemed to be the only one that was running around like a madman. Every time I tried to pull him off the equipment that he wasn't supposed to be playing on, a tantrum inevitably followed. Loud sobs, whispered time out threats to said toddler, and a lot of judging eyes. Why did they expect SO much from this age group? This is the absolute worst. Whose idea was this anyways?
I started to dread going to this class week after week and made excuses not to go, but Riv always asked when he could go to "nastics" again. We gave it another go, but this time, I refused to let it ruin my day. If Riv wanted to go to other side of the room at the wrong time, or not do the specified activities, or run around instead of sit on his carpet square, so be it.
We attended about 6 or 7 of the 9 classes, and got through the majority of them relatively unscathed. We had signed up for this class to have fun, and even though I didn't realize it was going to involve me, and didn't realize it was going to ask a lot of a two year old, I was going to make the most of it. It was a good lesson in patience for me as a parent, and to not be embarrassed of my two year old acting like a two year old. I just needed to go with the flow and not try to control it. It also made me realize that my child doesn't need to have extracurricular activities multiple times a week at his age, and that staying at home as a family is just as good for his development. And way less stressful.
What are some of your do's and don'ts? I'd love to hear them!