Thursday, June 9, 2016

Carter's First Gymnastics Class

This morning was Carter's first gymnastics class. Ty and I had talked about Carter taking some sort of class this summer to get him used to listening to a teacher other than me before he starts preschool (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) in September. A few months ago I found a Groupon for 60% off a gymnastics class near us so we decided on gymnastics. I knew Carter would most likely be pretty timid initially but felt like he would quickly enjoy it. When we walked in he was super excited and started wiggling his legs around to "get ready for exercise". I had prepped him by telling him he was going to have a teacher who would show him what to do and help him with everything. On the way there when I told him that, he said, "I think it's too windy for gymnastics today." When his teacher came out he was quick to run over to her and sat down as she asked him to for stretches. But then he got back up and ran over to me. I told him I could follow him today and help him a little since it was his first class so I sat behind him as he stretched. I could tell he was nervous and he kept making curious faces and then looking back at me to make sure I was there. One of the other boys started crying really hard and wouldn't stop. Carter just sat nervously watching him the whole time until his mom finally came over to him. He did okay with a few exercises as long as I was right next to him. 
Getting some tumbling practice with the teacher's help.
Then the teacher told the kids to follow her over to the trampoline. Carter would only go holding my hand and lagged behind. He started off hopping across the trampoline as she instructed but then got down and came over to me. He said he just wanted to watch so I told him we could sit together and watch the other kids to see what they were doing. I didn't take him over to the area where parents were watching, I kept him right over by the kids in his class and asked him multiple times if he wanted to join in. I was wearing Elise in the carrier and she doesn't like it when I sit still so she kept trying to climb out. I started to think we were going to have to call the money spent on gymnastics a wash and just head home. Instead of giving up, I kept encouraging Carter to try things out. He wanted me to get on the bars with him. I explained that I couldn't because I was too big but I could stand by him and help him. He agreed and said he didn't want the teacher to help him. Once he did that it seemed to break the ice a bit. I helped him at the balance beam with the class and then when the teacher asked the kids to make a choo choo train by holding onto each others' shoulders, Carter went over and held onto the last kid's back. He looked back to make sure I was there so I followed the kids over to the next activity. I had found out the other kids' names throughout the beginning of class and told Carter their names and had him introduce himself so knowing the other kids' names helped too. As they started on the next activity, I slowly backed away and headed over to the parent section to watch. I was impressed that Carter didn't look over at me at all. He was smiling and laughing and enjoying himself. So 30 minutes into a 45 minute class he was finally engaged in the class, not too bad! I'm hoping he transition's a bit easier next week and am hoping maybe he won't need me by him at all.
Making a choo choo train with the other kids as they walked to a different area to try out the bars.
I was so proud of Carter as I watched him interacting with his friends and the teacher without me right there. I felt like my heart was going to burst with love for him and how adaptable he was. I was so glad I had been really patient with him and hadn't thrown in the towel. I didn't let the fact that the other kids were doing okay without a parent by them embarrass me or make me feel like I was doing something wrong by helping him. I just followed my instincts and did what I felt was best for Carter. By the end of the class he was running to be the first person in line so he could hold the teacher's hand rather than the shoulders of the child in front of him. I just know when he starts preschool in the fall he will love it so much. He is such a people pleaser and I know he will adore his teacher as well as make lots of new friends. As emotional as I thought I'd be for this first step toward his schooling and huge step in independence for him, I was just overwhelmed by love for him and proud of his ability to cope with a situation that was out of his comfort zone. On our drive home he was telling me all about the ball pit he got to jump into and asked me if I could see him when he did it. Then he said, "I miss my friends." Now I'm looking forward to him starting preschool more than I ever did before. I know he will be just fine and he will love it!


  1. I remember Stacy Thomas telling me it was enough when she was pregnant with Sadie, and standing in the outfield holding Jack's hand when he played t-ball. :)

    1. Lol, too funny! I think Carter will be a bit more independent by then. It was tricky wearing Elise while doing all that!