Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Am I a gymnastics 'Dance Mom'?

We (and I mean Georgia and I) have been going to a parent participation class at a local gymnastics facility since last March.  It's truthfully one of the most frustrating hours of my week.  Georgia cries when she is asked to do anything other than jump on the trampolines or stand by the gym I-Pod and listen to music, screaming out to anyone who will listen to her, "I think this is the Mickey song. I think we should listen to Ice Ice Baby.  Do you have any songs about Jesus (but really it sounds like Cheez-its)? I think a Dora song is coming on next. I want it louder."

It's a super good time.

All the other two and three year olds are rolling down huge wedges, letting the instructors demonstrate backwards somersaults with them, hanging on bars, attempting cart-wheels, doing round-offs, and riding the pommel horse (okay....not really on the last two...maybe soon).  Not Georgia.  She's crying, or whimpering, or clinging to my leg like a vice, or running away yelling no.  So why haven't we quit......and saved the money and my Monday morning sanity?

I think it's good for her.  That's why.  She's timid in new situations, and not normal timid.....typical first child, type A, just like your mother was, we need to get you out of your comfort zone timid.  But it's been really hard for me.  I wonder if I'm being unreasonable, mean, forcing her to do something she hates and will never love, a veritable Dance Mom if you will (what in the world with that show BTW?)

But......I think about things my parents made me do because I needed to do them.  I remember a time at McDonald's and I needed some more ketchup, I think I was like ten.  My mom told me to go on up to the counter and ask for some. I wouldn't.  That idea terrified me.  "Well then I guess you don't really need it that bad," was her response to me.  I think I was really shocked that she wouldn't just do it for me and in the end I don't think I ever ended up getting ketchup.  And looking back--it's a good thing.

I needed to be taught how to get out of my comfort zone.  How to suck it up and foster some confidence and for heaven's sake how to ask for my own ketchup.....as a 5th grader! And Georgia......she needs to learn how to follow directions in a fun environment before she'll do well at in a more serious one, she needs to learn that trying new things with mommy right by her side is making her brave and confident for times I'm not right there, she needs to learn that working hard at things that feel uncomfortable to us often have huge pay-outs, and she absolutely needs to learn that we don't just quit stuff we don't like.

So after all these months of teeth gritting conversations about following Ms. Shannon's directions, arm squeezing, threats that we can't get a drink out of the drinking fountain if there are tears, and almost dialed phone calls to drop gymnastics...........this past Monday was the pay-out I'd been hoping for.

Georgia ran onto the floor for warm-ups, did everything--even jumping on one foot, ran the right direction on the trampolines without having to be reminded, only requested one song on the I Pod, gave Ms. Shannon a huge hug and told her she loved her, let Ms. Shannon use her to demonstrate a somersault on the balance beam and a backwards somersault on the bars and wedges, and yelled at the end of class, "Nastics is fun.  And I didn't even cry today because I followed the rections."

It was truly amazing and all of my resolve to make October our last month at gymnastics started to dissolve and I began to think that all of this gymnastics stress might just be worth it; the lesson I was hoping Georgia would learn might actually be sinking in.........and the lesson I was teaching myself about not quitting the "parenting" in this situation when the "parenting" was really frustrating was sinking in for me too.

I hope I can be so steeled later on down the road when the issue is much bigger, much more serious, much more crucial, and much much harder to stay firm on.  But, it's these little things that we do along the way, liking sticking with a miserable gymnastics class,  that build up that self-confidence to do it better and bigger later on.......for me and my daughter.

I think I've learned how important it is to ask for my own ketchup..........and to do a somersault on the balance beam when that's what the rest of the class is doing.

Here's hoping for a repeat next Monday!

And.........these pictures have nothing to do with gymnastics......just a few from a walk we took in the woods a few days ago to collect leaves for a project.  It's fall......we had fun.......and pictures always make a post better.

We always take exercise bands on walks in the woods......what?  You don't?

Georgia found some moss and told me that's where fairies live.  Gaga built her a fairy garden this year covered in moss and now it's gospel......and it's these kinds of finds that make me want to just eat this girl up.  

Looking for corn-ac's.  You get it.

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