Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Little Gym

Last Thursday (Jan 29), Natalie and Abby had their first organized class - at The Little Gym. For those who might not know, The Little Gym is a gymnastics-based activity gym that introduces kids to gymnastics and other sports-based activities. They start with 10 month olds and go up to 12 years. They have classes in gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, karate, and sports skills. It's a great place and kids love it.

The classes for the youngest kids are "parent and me" classes. The plan was for Daddy to have some special time with the girls every Saturday night. I went to the first class to watch (and record) and jump in if needed. I was needed. Two girls and one daddy are too much.

The class started with the kids ringing little bells to music. They then introduced themselves (well, the parents did) and were encouraged to go up and give the teacher a high five. Natalie had no fear! She walked right across the mat and high-fived the teacher! Abby was a little more timid.

Walking, running, bouncing, and dancing in a circle were next and the girls were eager participants. Daddy had a hard time keeping up.

The beloved Parachute was next. Kids love these things. Again, Natalie immediately ran out on to it not at all flustered by the movement and rattling of the chute. She loved it. After walking on the chute, all the kids and parents got to get UNDER it. They raise it up and it creates a balloon, then quickly duck under and sit on the edges. The kids can then run around under it. (We did parachute games at Johns River Camp, and this really IS fun).

After the parachute, I stepped in to help since it was time to play on the different apparatus. They have balance beams, uneven bars, and lots of cushy mattress of different sizes to go up, over and jump off. The girls had a wonderful time exploring everything and testing things out. It was really fun.

The only downside was that little miss Abby didn't take kindly to having to stop playing to sit in a circle or watch the other kids. She was very fussy and whiny when we tried to get her off the equipment. So, we have a little behavior modification to work on.

It's not surprising, really. They've not been in large group setting like that before. Actually considering this was their first interaction with lots of kids (probably 15 kids plus adults - so a lot of people), they did amazingly well. The didn't fall apart or break down or even get clingy. Abby was a little in the beginning, but once let loose on the equipment, we could barely keep up!

All in all, we had a great experience and will definitely sign them up (this was a trial class). I think we have decided to only register one kid, and switch them off every other week. Ben will do Little Gym, and I'll play at home. We will have some special one-on-one time with each girl. That is something we haven't done enough. Now that they are getting older, we really need to spend more time with them separately and foster more of their individuality.

I guess we will have to miss our second class due to the sickies. But, they should be back to normal by next week. I'll have to try to get more pictures of them trying out the balance beam and actual equipment!

A little video montage...

ps: Our success at Little Gym was followed on Friday by another successful mingling at Bible Study. The girls played happily for nearly two hours with a host of other kids and a few caregivers while we mingled with adults upstairs. They didn't cry at all (except when we tried to check on them and they saw us).

Also, my sister has pointed out the coincidence between the girls first real introduction to kids en masse and the fact that they have been sick for going on five days. It's not a pretty conclusion. Hopefully, interacting with other kids won't result in being out of commission for a week every single time!

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