I’ve talked a little bit on here about how one of my biggest goals in life is to be a role model for my daughter and my hope that she will enjoy fitness as part of her lifestyle as much as I do. In lots of little ways I can see how I’ve already rubbed off on her. She seems to enjoy attending my races and will jump on my yoga mat to do a down dog as soon as I roll it out in the living room.
Please excuse the tragic mess behind her. As other parents can probably understand, cleaning the house while your 2 year old is awake is equivalent to attempting to light matches underwater.
Last year I enrolled her in a class at The Little Gym and it has been a part of our Saturday routine ever since. There are gyms like this for kids all over the place, but of the ones I researched I liked Little Gym the best. They teach a lot of useful early development skills, hand-eye coordination, colors/letters/numbers, songs, social skills, but then they also mix in the early gymnastics “skills of the week” and eventually you can transition into real gymnastics classes.
It has been a ridiculous amount of fun watching Betty improve as she has been going there. She can do a great somersault now, walk the wide balance beam without any help, and her ability to follow instructions has gotten SO much better. She was always the kid that could be found climbing all over everything when they aren’t supposed to yet – and usually the other kids would follow suit. (Sorry about our trendsetting, other parents.) Now she’s only that kid maybe half the time and I consider that a win.
Often the “skill of the week” involves activities on the uneven bars. When we first started Little Gym, Betty couldn’t hold on to those bars to save her life. Now swinging from them is one of her favorite things about going to class, besides the bubbles, and the stamps that she gets on her feet at the end. Little did I know that a skill picked up at toddler gymnastics would end up saving us from possible playground doom.
Last Saturday it was really nice outside. In the afternoon the temps touched 70 degrees for the first time in what feels like forever. My mom and I decided to take Betty to the playground so we could all get some fresh air. Of course the one we chose was stupid crowded, but Betty was in a good mood and not even grouchy over the line we had to stand in to use the swings. We decided to stick around awhile despite all the people.
There are two play structures right next to each other. One is designed for kids Betty’s age and the other is for older children. I’ll give you one guess as to which one she prefers. She loves big kids and has no fear. There is a little rock wall to get to an upper portion of the structure and I was pretty surprised when she scaled it with no problems. Then there is one of those bouncy bridges that always makes me a little nervous, especially with rowdy older kids around whose parents always seem to not be paying any attention to what they are doing.
I held her hand as she crossed the bridge and went around to the other side to collect her, but she decided she wanted to go down the big slide and started back across the bridge without me. That’s when things got bad.
So let me just say here that I take at least partial responsibility because really I shouldn’t have let her on a play structure that was so busy with bigger children. Not the brightest idea on my part, but I try to let her have freedom where I can and as long as I can supervise her closely. A rowdy little boy, who was maybe 5 or 6 years old, ran on to the bridge and started jumping up and down right next to her. She lost her footing.
I knew in that moment that she was going to fall off the side, but I couldn’t get there fast enough. The bridge was too low for me to jump under without knocking myself unconscious. I could only run around the side to get to her, but it felt like my feet weighed 1,000lb apiece. Everything seemed to be happening really slowly and really fast at the same time.
I waited for the inevitable thud of her hitting the ground and subsequent screams, both of which didn’t happen.
Because she caught herself. Like some kind of awesome toddler ninja she had reached up and grabbed the bar on the side of the bridge and then hung there, swinging back and forth. After a few seconds she dropped and landed on her feet, but the whole episode still surprised her and she started to cry.
I picked her up to console her feeling like the lowest form of life. Then I looked up to see the boy on the bridge whose jumping had knocked her down.
I know kids will be kids and accidents happen. I wasn’t mad at him and Betty probably shouldn’t have been there to begin with. But I feel like any other kid would have acted concerned or at the very least run away. I wouldn’t have done another thing about it if either of those things had happened. Instead, this kid looked me square in the eye with this creepy smile on his face and yelled, “HA HA HA!!!! THAT WAS SOOOO FUNNY!!!”
I bet he didn’t think it was “SOOOO FUNNY” when I went and got his dad.
Anyway, what could have been a day ruining event (and possible trip to the ER) was avoided and I have The Little Gym to thank. Who knew that an innocent toddler gymnastics class could turn your kid into a playground ninja??
Have you or your kids ever taken gymnastics? Have any of you ever used those awesome skills to save the day?
Happy Thursday and Happy Less Than 2 Months until my MARATHON! I have an appointment with a new sports medicine doc today who will hopefully give me some good ideas of how I can train on my wonky ankle.