yes, ruth is a gymnast. isn’t it obvious by her skill at jumping on the couch? she’s practicing. duh. and the fearless way she stands on the back of the couch and then rolls down backwards? totally gymnastics skill shining through right there.
ruth has been in gymnastics since she was like 15 or 16 months old. basically, we started off with her simply walking (unsteadily) around the room, possibly trying to climb on a few things, and watching the older kids and the things they would do. a few months later, she was walking on the beam (with assistance), climbing ladders (with assistance), and jumping on the trampoline (with someone standing by to catch in case she launched herself off). ruth has always been the lagger in the class, the one that runs away when other kids approach what she is doing. one of the young ones who stood back to watch the older ones. we kept at it because it is one of the few things we have signed her up for that she actually seems to like.
we used to take it at the dearborn performing arts center but the program was cancelled back in the fall, so we were forced to move to a much smaller facility, a smaller program, and with less kids. well, nothing could have been better for ruth, whose mode of operation is to be as far away at all times from other people as possible. in this new setting, with fewer kids per class, ruth really took to it with new vigor. the rest of the class would be with the coach on the other side of the gym, learning and practicing a skill, while ruth would be just running, climbing, and enjoying herself in her own space. most of the other five or so kids in class were around three, or over three, so ruth was pretty much the youngest.
well, all of that changed when our coach couldn’t do our time slot for the month of march and, instead, we added on to a different time and day for the month. it just so happens that the other two kids in class are under two and this is both of their first times in a gymnastics class. all of a sudden, the parents and grandparents of these other two classmates are looking at ruth like she’s freakin’…i dunno. who’s a really famous gymnast? it’s weird. all this time, we’ve been the parents pointing out to ruth what the older kids are doing to try to get her to do it too, standing by her, giving the tight-lipped smile and encouragement for small victories. now, all of a sudden, ruth is like the star of the class (granted there are only three tots in it. but, still). it’s very strange, but even the coach has begun noticing ruth more and the things she can do, when before, she was distracted with helping all of the older kids. now, next to the two toddling barely-walkers, ruth looks super-advanced. i even find myself being amazed at the things she does in comparison.
it’s all relative, i guess. the lesson? surround yourself with people who aren’t as good-looking as you, and you’ll always feel attractive. surround yourself with people who are not as bright as you, and you’re like albert einstein. and if there is something that your kid is sort of good at, surround yourself with younger kids who are not good at it, and it is like a shot in the arm. hey, everyone needs a boost of ego once in a while.