Yesterday was Brennen’s first gymnastics class!
Brennen was super excited about going to class, that was until we got there. As we waited for the class before his to come to an end, I could see the shyness that lives within him slowly begin to emerge. He stuck right by my side, nibbling on his blanket and burying his head in my lap.
When we walked into the gym, I could see his eyes light up with curiosity but at the same time he began to cling to me in a way reminiscent of his first day at Gymboree. I was thankful that I enrolled him in the Tot & Parent class as opposed to the independent class. I knew there was no way he would walk into the gym by himself. Surprisingly his class had all boys and was very small, including him there was only 3 kids.
The class began with stretching. Which basically meant I held Brennen and encouraged him to participate while I stretched with the other half of my body. Eventually Brennen was comfortable enough to do the stretches while sitting on my lap. At the end of the stretching I realized 2 mistakes. 1) Brennen was dressed way to warm (Gymboree was always cold, his gymnastics class was a furnace.) 2) I was not dressed appropriately (At Gymboree I observed & encouraged, at the gymnastics class I was a participant).
Next up was an obstacle course. Brennen watched as the teacher explained what to do and observed the other boys as they went thru it. He then started wandering towards some of the equipment and trampoline, so I quickly steered him back to the obstacle course. The teacher pulled me aside and reassured me that it might take him a few weeks before he was feeling comfortable enough to participate and not to be afraid to let him explore. The only part of that I was concerned about was the “not to be afraid to let him explore” part. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt, I took a few steps away from Brennen giving him the green light to “explore.” And explore he did! He ran away from the obstacle course area, through the gymnastic equipment area and high tailed it up onto the trampoline. As he bounced his way across it the teacher came back to me and said “On second thought, you may want to keep him with the other kids.” Really, you think??? So then I ran after Brennen, trying to coerce him to get off the trampoline. I finally had to grab him by his shirt and wrestle him off of it. He then retaliated with a temper tantrum that won him his first time out of the day. Meanwhile, I just tried to smile even though inside I was thinking, “Is this really my kid?”
After Brennen calmed down we joined the rest of the group at the gymnastics equipment area. (If there is a more technical name, I am not aware of it. But I am referring to the rings, parallel bars, etc.) This area piqued Brennen’s interest a little more. I assisted him across the monkey bars, over a beam, onto the rings, and across the parallel bars. He enjoyed this very much and did it many times.
The teacher then said it was time for the trampoline. Brennen could hardly contain his excitement. (Brennen has been in love with trampolines since our neighbor first started letting us take him on theirs about a year ago. This past week Brennen became the proud owner of his own trampoline and not a day has gone by that we haven’t been on it.) The trampoline at his gymnastics class was long and rectangular. Th teacher instructed the class to get in line and practice their jumps. I was shocked at how well-behaved Brennen was. He waited patiently while the other two boys each had their turn and even tried to follow the instructions on what jumps to do while he was on the trampoline. I was so proud of him. However, class was coming to an end and it was time for trampoline time to be done. Any guesses as to how Brennen reacted to that news? If you guessed another temper tantrum, you are correct! *Sigh*
At the conclusion of class, Brennen received a sticker, a stamp and a coloring page which made him slightly less depressed about leaving behind the trampoline.
Although class was slightly stressful and tested the limits of my patience, I think it will do Brennen a world of good. I look forward to watching him develop his gymnastic skills while gaining a greater understanding of how to behave in a more structured environment.