well, i think i’ve written about gymnastics before. probably because, before i had children, i had all of these grandiose fantasies about all of the things we would sign our kids up for. once ruth was born and began to grow and develop her personality, though, it was clear that all of my plans were way off base. we’ve tried various preschools, gyms, and programs and the only thing that stuck at all was gymnastics. so, fine. we dove into it and have had ruth in gymnastics since she was 16 or so months old. you could say joel started even younger because we used to tote him to his sister’s class when he was a tiny baby. after a few months, he began to crawl around and explore the gym and now, he is signed up as an official gymnastics student as well. through no choice of my own, my two kids are on the track to becoming gymnasts. ruth, because it was the only class format she could deal with, being pretty free to detach from the crowd and do her own thing, and joel because he wants so badly to do everything his sister does.
i have to wonder if we are not going to end up like some circus family, like that famous tight rope walking family, because every kid that may come along seems to be fated to be inundated to the gymnastics lifestyle. “i dunno if we can afford this,” i said to greg the other night, a bit nervous. right now it’s not super expensive, but before long, i could see it adding up a bit.
when we are not at gymnastics class, ruth is often bounding on her trampoline at home, or else she is doing a “floor routine” or tearing off the couch cushions and doing crazy flips all over the place. it is a way that she releases nervous energy and also something that she feels confident about. she knows that she is good at it and that brings her satisfaction.
when she is not doing gymnastics, she is often watching gymnastics on youtube. she has a particular show that she searched out and discovered one day in the summer of a girl named annie who posts all of her gymnastics videos. she loves that freaking show. and, would you believe, she actually learns gymnastics moves from this show? it does make me a little nervous that she won’t ever let one of the coaches show her how to do moves properly and instead likes to figure it out alone. but i guess i trust her to know her own limits. even as a young baby, she was extremely cautious and self aware. i hope i don’t live to eat those words. at four, she does seem to be a little more daring and throw caution to the wind more than ever before, even though she is above average in the worry and caution departments.
i don’t know why i’m writing about this. i guess i just find it weird that my family seems to be swept up into a sort of gymnastics craze, when i myself never took a day of gymnastics in my life. i didn’t set out to raise someone crazy about gymnastics. it wasn’t even a real forethought. when ruth was younger, we simply signed her up for everything we possibly could and gymnastics just kind of stuck around. but i’m so glad we found it. like i said, it is something that ruth can pour all of her nervous energy into and something she is good at and she feels she is good at. she may only be four, but i can already tell that it has built up her confidence.
i read somewhere a few years ago that said it was a good idea to get young girls especially involved in a sport (something i never had myself. as i said, my mother was deeply afraid of injuries for us. she hated sports) to battle the messages they get bombarded with to always be thin and pretty. they learn instead that their bodies are strong and powerful and they end up with higher self esteem toward their bodies because of this. reason enough for me, sports injuries or no, i guess. if i can expose her (and him) to something that will make her body strong and healthy and that will help her believe in herself and make her less likely to have an eating disorder or a body image disorder later, then sign me the fuck up (now, if only those damn leotards weren’t super revealing for no reason and have sparkly sequins all over them, i would be totally satisfied).