Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gym Class.

So much for our new year's resolution to be better bloggers! We're still very busy with the move and with my mum visiting, though we're settling in very nicely and Raf loves having his Nana here. One of the first things Raf says in the morning, before we head downstairs, is "where Nana"? In fact he says this a lot whenever she is out of sight. I think Raf thinks that Nana is now a permanent fixture of the household, so it's going to be a very sad day when she returns home. Being in the States, Raf sees very few of our family. In fact Mum and Dad have been the only family to visit since Raf was born and it's very regrettable to me that Raf doesn't see or have any regular contact with any of his other close relatives. This seems even sadder now that we've lost Raf's Papa, though we're glad that Mum is planning on coming back, hopefully, for his birthday.

But, that is months away, and today we took Raf to his first gymnastics class. Let me say that I had very high hopes for today, and I was in fact very excited about taking Raf to this class as he loves to tumble and climb and jump...

I should have predicted that after a difficult morning trying to get Raf dressed and his teeth brushed that he was not in the most cooperative of moods. Indeed he was outright oppositional! This is actually not the norm for Raf, though perhaps it is our emerging reality, but when we were in the car leaving for the gym we were all feeling stressed and sad and teary. I wasn't my best parent self on the way in the car, and I am guessing this didn't help prepare Raf for what was coming.

He was actually excited to be there, and though he wasn't happy about leaving his crocs outside (he is somewhat attached to those shoes right now), he was chomping at the bit to get into the actual gym. Well, 2 minutes into the class we realised that this would be tough going. Raf was taking absolutely NO notice of 'Coach Dan', and while every other single child followed happily long, Rich and I, slightly mortified, were trying to stop Raf making an escape for the big boy/girl apparatus.

He did have a ton of fun on the different 'stations', with lots of jumping, climbing, and rolling, but as soon as he wanted to do something that he wasn't supposed to he SCREAMED (oh, mercy, did he scream) with snot and tears pouring down his little face. I have to admit that I felt increasingly mortified by Raf's lack of 'obedience', and tried my best not to feel like a failed parent because our kiddo was the only one not playing along. Lots and lots of screaming and crying with every little setback, made for an exhausting time, and honestly, even though he had a lot of fun it was a bit of a nightmare.

The truth is we want Raf to be curious and to walk to his own beat, but in these situations it can be a wee bit stressful and I did find myself wishing he would be a bit more cooperative.


  1. He has personality. I sometimes feel the same way about J because she definitely has a mind of her own, but being spirited and spunky really are good traits, right? You're not a failed parent either way and I hope if there's a next time it goes more smoothly!

  2. Julie, THANK YOU! That is exactly how I feel about it, though, you know, in the moment it's happening I would love him to be a little less spirited :)

  3. Oh, my dear, I have BEEN THERE! So many times I remember wanting to slink away, saying "She's just not a joiner." (Which she's generally NOT! But at least she comes by it honestly.) This post describes our experience at the gym to a T when Sage was Raf's age. And you know what? I totally understand your ambivalence, and I want to say that it'll be FINE. It is true that it is nice when kids are able to discern those times where cooperation will be appreciated, but on the other hand, soon enough there will be so many institutions demanding that they do so--that they sit still and listen and suppress their own desires. It is to Raf's credit--and yours, as parents, I believe--that he is NOT totally compliant in such situations, and his free spirit and strong will will stand him in good stead when he's older.

    And when he's older, he WILL probably learn how to go along with the program occasionally. Sage now LOVES school and loves behaving well as a result, and while that still gives me a little twinge (her surrender to the machine!), I think she surrenders because she loves being part of the community and learning, not because she needs to be a "good girl" to feel worthy of praise.

    At least, that is my hope! So all this is by way of saying (easy for me, harder for you) that I think what happened today is totally NORMAL and I'm sad that more kids weren't doing the same thing. :-) xoxo

  4. What Jen said!

    I was so reckless at tumble tots they asked my mum to take me away! I would throw somersaults off of the foam things and do crazy stunts. my mum took me because I would be cartwheeling aged 2.5 through shopping malls without any care for who i might run down. I also put my leg through the glass coffee table (i was unscathed) because my spatial awareness wasn't as advanced as my acrobatic skills lol.

    Mum then took me to an elite gym club and that was all very rigid and frightening at that age. I wanted to play on all the exciting equipment not stay in stations etc! I screamed the place down but kept wanting to go back because i loved the equipment.