Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Girl 'Nastics

Jemma and I started taking a parent-participation gymnastics class together the week Annie started school this fall. It's been our Wednesday thing, and one of the highlights of my week was holding her hand while we jumped up and down to music during the warm-up circle. She always had a huge grin on her face, like, Can you believe I'm jumping around holding my mom's hand at gymnastics? This is the best!

About six weeks in, the teacher (who I absolutely LOVE), started mentioning that Jemma seemed ready to move up into the Threes class. She could do almost everything her teacher was asking her to do, and while she liked to have me spot her, she was very comfortable with the teacher as well as eons ahead of some of the just-one-year-olds in the class. I procrastinated a bit; this was my special time with Jemma! I didn't really want to sit in a chair in the lobby, looking in while my little girl held someone else's hand. Her teacher mentioned it again, and again, and again. After a month, I caved, and at the end of October, I switched her to the other class - same teacher, one hour earlier.

The first week, I explained as we were waiting in the lobby that she got to go to "Big Girl Gymnastics" because she was so good at everything and I would watch her the whole time and give her a big hug when she came out. She looked unsure, but went in anyway. Sure enough, three minutes in, she was in tears, and her teacher had to hold her during the warm-up. As soon as they broke into small groups and got jumping on the big trampoline, she was fine, and by the end, she was all smiles. I was hopeful.

Every week, though, it's gotten a little worse, not better. She started to get upset when we were walking in the door, then when we pulled into the lot, and this week, she started semi-crying while we were still at home. "Is it Big Girl Nastics?" she asks, hoping, I think, that I'll say things are going to go back to the way they used to be, that I'll come in the gym and hold her hand and jump up and down to music. Today, she cried for the first twenty minutes, and just as I had made up my mind to bail on the whole endeavor and cancel our membership, a friend whose child was on a fieldtrip there walked in. She's been through a bit of the same thing with her daughter. "Hang in there," she said. "Stick it out. She'll love it." She's probably right, too.

So I don't know what to do. Right now, my little PLJ is asleep after a tough afternoon with a fever and a lot of cuddling on the couch and I'm reminded for the umpteenth time how my littlest girl is growing up, like it or not.

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